I was delighted to receive a call to do a probate valuation in Chelsea. That’s because it was the swinging sixties capital of London when I was in my teens. Many notables lived there including Eric Clapton and Petula Clark. Oh what memories it holds.
However, the old gentleman my client described as a solitary person lived in an anonymous two-up, two down in Fulham Road, which is a less attractive address. Therefore, I was not expecting anything exceptional when I arrived.
A Chelsea Probate Valuation Becomes Interesting.
A few neighbours watched curiously as I turned the key in the front door. The note with it said ‘You won’t find anything interesting but please go through the motions so we can get letters of administration’.
However, that’s not my style. I have uncovered great value for heirs while doing probate valuation. I knew Chelsea has secrets hidden in old buildings. I wondered what I would find in this anonymous one.
My eye fell on a formica TV stand in the lounge with storage below for drinks. This was a collectible but what was inside? The doors creaked open to reveal two neat stacks of vinyl records in their sleeves, covered by a thick layer of dust.
What Could This Possibly Mean for the Heirs?
I gingerly packed the long-playing records out on the floor to see what I had found. I saw no scratches on them as I removed the mint vinyl discs from their covers. They seemed brand new to me. Their impeccable sleeves depicted The Beatles ‘Til There Was You’ and John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s: ‘Double Fantasy’ among many others.
My peers doing probate valuations in Chelsea are not always up to speed with baby boomers. Children growing in England after the Second World War often lived in impoverished homes where they could not afford the lifestyles of their pop heroes, but could imagine them.
Nowadays many have retired with disposable income to spend on their memories of the sixties. I knew the vinyl record collection I found in Fulham Road, Chelsea had value, but how much was it really worth?
Vinyl Records and the Birth of Pop
Records were still made of shellac wax in the 1950’s. This did not scratch, but the discs were brittle and there were only enough grooves for a single song. Vinyl records, on the other hand were so flexible you could half bend them over but they were soft and scratched easily.
These L.P. records held albums with dozens of songs. Their sound was purer than the compact discs that followed, and so realistic it was as if you were in the room. No wonder there is a steady revival of this technology throughout the western world.
Baby boomers are bringing out vinyl discs from their teens they have been hoarding for decades. They browse second hand shops for more but these are often scratched. Mint ones featuring famous pop names have become their holy grail.
A rare pressing of The Beatles ‘Yesterday and Today’ fetched $125,000 in February, 2013. The discs I discovered during a probate valuation in Chelsea sold for £175,000 for the lot at a hectic auction in London.