The World’s Largest Record Collection – For Sale

Posted: August 26, 2013 by Dethfrequency in Discussion
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Paul Mawhinney is the owner of the world’s largest collection of records. During his years as a traveling paper salesman he amassed approximately 60 thousand records. When purchasing his first house his wife proposed an ultimatum. Either get rid of them -or- open a record store. “You should call it Record-Rama”, she suggested. He did open that store and made it a policy to never sell the last copy of anything making it truly an “archive” of music. Sadly, in February 2008 he was forced to shut the doors to the store but would not let go of the records.

Today, his collection, accurately being hailed as “The Archive”, consists of over 1 million albums and 1.5 million singles.  The estimated worth of the collection is about $50 million. Mawhinney has been trying to find a single seller for the archive for the last decade, but to no avail. His asking price is now painfully, abysmally, at $3 million.

The historic significance alone puts the value of Paul’s Archive upwards of… priceless. The Library of Congress determined that 83% of the collection consists of recordings that are not available to the public. Albums that were never commercially produced or never intended for release. Albums, that if lost, will never exist again. Shown with a mint condition Rolling Stones release. It is truly a heartbreaking thought that these records may have no home one day. It will be a terrible day for the world. What’s worse is that most people will never know the gravity of the loss.

Being the devout music lover that I am I would love to be able to own or even just browse through this collection for days.  Listening to them all would take me more than me, my children’s, and their children’s lifetimes but would be able to be shared through the next five generations and but would still be worth more than it’s weight in history books.

Paul had this to say about the status of the recording industry:

“What really makes me want to save this collection, is the world is dead out there. They have their ears closed. They don’t understand what’s going on at this moment. And it’s going to take them 10, 15, 20 years to wake up and realize what they’ve missed… There’s no comparison for what they’re selling as music these days.” -Paul Mawhinney

He goes on to make a point about how the age of digitization has depreciated the quality of the sound of recordings, mainly pointing at MP3’s, which are notoriously compressed to fit more neatly on iPods and iPhones rather than having better sounding music with more space and better dynamics. Which, if you ask any true audiophile is one of our biggest complaints. So much time, work, and money is poured into albums it is a downright shame to compress them and deplete the value of the recording itself.

Now struggling with complications related to diabetes and now legally blind, he is struggling further to find someone who can care for the collection that is really truly worth being featured in a museum. Or made into a museum itself.

Towards the end of the video Paul gets choked up while listening to the John Mile’s song titled: Music, released in 1976. It’s a fitting outro to this man’s legacy and the archive. Yet an immensely sad ending for both. Both conclusions will appear grim until some deep pocketed music lover or a museum picks up these historic art pieces and stores them for future generations to experience and learn from.

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