always possible, but real sealed originals just get more rare by the day. clean unworn covers are priceless for many titles.
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most all lps were sealed using shrinkwrap. Shrinkwrap, surprise, shrinks over time and the results were often warped records. Leaving the shrink wrap on an opened record was generally considered a bad practice. I'd be suspicious of any record that has been sealed in shrinkwrap for many years. The clear benefit of course is that the cover is protected and may be in good shape as a result.
"how would the prosepctive buyer know?"
Most "audiophile" pressings issued during the past couple of decades come sealed in loose bags of fairly thick plastic. And of these most have perforations along one side for opening. While it is possible to open and reseal these bags it is very difficult to do without leaving some indication of the reseal.
Most non-audiophile collectable albums come sealed in "shrinkwrap." The soft thin material is wrapped around the cover, the open edges are sealed with a hot wire and the package is run into a moderate-temperature oven for a few seconds, shrinking the material around the cover.
The latter process can be duplicated at home, but only with the proper material and a machine. It can be done, but takes some effort and investment or access to the hardware.
Over time the shrinkwrap tends to change shape, elasticity, and color. Duplicating a 20+ year old wrap is almost impossible with a new wrap. Additionally, the material used from the '60's through the late '70's was different from later material.
Close inspection of a previously-unwrapped and resealed cover itself will usually reveal some evidence that it was opened. Unless the original owner has been extremely careful there will be some less than perfect edges or scuffing or something similar.
So ... it is possible to "reseal" a package. But someone with moderate experience and a detailed inspection can almost always detect a prior opening.
As to value - the only way to ensure "new" vinyl status (distinct from a "perfect pressing") is for the package to have never been opened. Sometimes even one careful play will generate some noise or visible evidence (or cover wear as pointed out above). For many hardcore collectors anything less than "new" is unacceptable. It can also be very rare, which means the value can be quite substantial to someone who wants one.
I.m with Siddh on this. I don,t care how rare or sealed or not. I buy em to play and listen to them, period. Mapman's point is right on with "shrink wrap" and its effect over time and the risk of warped lp's. As Elizabeth pointed out , I myself have bought hundreds of lp's unsealed that don,t appear to of ever been played. The collectable status thing is in my opinion out of control, but as long as there are those that will and can afford to pay the prices for 12 x 12 wall art we music buyers will indefinately pay increases for good used copies. Cheers
When I buy an older unopened LP, I look around the spindle hole on the label. All my albums have lines where the spindle gently kissed the paper prior to finding the hole.
Someone would have to be extremely careful not to make that mark while placing the LP on the spindle.
I have yet to find a "new sealed" LP that I purchased with those marks.
I know there's gonna be some "find the hole" jokes comming. I can just sense it....
Thanks to all of you for your insights. I have to agree with Siddh and Has2be on buying them to be played, but once in awhile you run across an album you want and it happens to say "sealed" in the add, hence the higher price for one thats sealed-seems like marketing hype but hey, who am i? I have a collection of around 1000 LP's (which I know pales in comparison to some of you), running the ga mut from classical to jazz, rock, new age. Many are collectables including some RCA shaded and white dogs and Mercury Living Presence, but not too many audiophile as such albums. I play them all but not frequently enough to incur too much damage (on a Ortofon 12 inch arm and Dynavector cart). I also have around 600 CD's. Again, thank you all for your experience and wisdom.--Mrmitch
Not that this has much to do with what I'm personally after when I go record shopping, but technically speaking, even a genuine SS is no guarantee of Mint condition on the inside -- a wide variety of undiscovered defects are possible, some not knowable unless heard, plus I actually want to PLAY what I buy rather than put it under glass (a horrible act which, if something's Mint, immediately makes it Near Mint) -- so combined with the everpresent authenticity question, I normally take a dim view of dealers asking large premiums above Mint for allegedly SS merch.
No relationship to quality. In the end, it is the individual pressing. In the "golden years", many labels had sufficient quality problems due to making runs in the millions, because popular artists sold to that level. I see this with lots of popular titles. Their answer to quality control was that the end user simply returned these at POS. So you have an equal chance picking up problematic vinyl over pristine copies.