Get yourself as good condition phonograph as you can afford and play them. Seriously.
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I grew up in the Sonoran Desert (no electricity) and cut my Classical teeth on the Victor RCA Red Seal 12' 78s. We had a wind-up Victrola, and used cactus needles, as we thought the steel ones would sooner or later ruin the records.
If I remember correctly, many of the performances on the Red Seals were transferred to the very early LPs; however, some were lost due to copyright and other legal issues.
In my mind, I can still hear Caruso's voice. Unfortunately, those performances are only memories.
Yeah, Elizabeth is correct, (sob!)
The Old Fud
The best advice you can get is to take a few of those old records to an antique store where you can play them on a phonograph. What you will discover, they do not sound anything like what we today consider hi-fi. Modern HiFi is all about making you feel like you are in the recording studio. The phonograph does something completely different. It makes you feel like the singer is there, inside the phonograph! There is nothing else like it. This is what we have lost. This is the true value of these recordings, and yet it is completely lost when played back on high end gear. The only way to fully appreciate them is to hear them played back on a phonograph.
As odd as it sounds they aren’t worth much- yet they are priceless.