Well, it depends. I don't go out and buy gallons of stuff just to try it out; I'm usually looking for particular recordings, or at least particular artists. So I tend to prefer shops that actually sort their records--and I pay for that service. Even so, I've picked up plenty of old rock for $2-4. I'll go somewhat higher for jazz, but not too high, because used CDs are less than $10, and I'm not a true vinylphile.
The exceptions are out-of-print stuff. I recently picked up "Delightfulee" by Lee Morgan for $15, and I've spent as much as $30-35 for Yardbirds rarities. (Though now I listen almost exclusively to the excellent Repertoire remasters on CD.)
Speaking solely for myself, I will not pay more than $30-35 for used vinyl -- and that has to be for a LP that I really want. For most other LP's, I will rarely pay more than $20, and again for an LP that I particularly want to own
There is something very satisfying about buying records for a dollar or two at yard sales and such; if the price exceeds 5 or 10 bucks the LP better be very special indeed.
I've paid 50 cents; I've paid $30.00
YOU GENERALLY GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!
If I want the LP the asking generally gets paid for, especially for out of print or near mint condition vinyl.
I buy used jazz from the 50's - 60's. Good reissues go from $10 up. Originals can be $20 - $100+. On average, I pay about $30 for a good (near mint) LP. My observations, after buying many used LP's, is that Ebay records are somewhat over priced because of demand but sometimes a goood deal can be found. In my opinion, people who re-enter the LP realm expecting to find lots of "bargains" will be disapointed. Many people are looking for good LP's today and therefore good LP's are not cheap. Expect to pay more than CD but the sound is worth it.
The overall average price among my near 2000 records collection is $7 per near-mint record.
That includes a COMPLETE collection of Can that has records upto $50 worth including Can artists solo albums as well.
The thrill of finding that $1 nugget is tremendous, happens with some frequency at garage sales, but is not something I like to see trumpted on the boards. Seems a bit tacky to me and it appears to occur here with increasing frequency of late. Some may enjoy such threads but I don't. I know, I know, I don't have to read them. I don't. End of mini-rant... ;-)
I have found very nice LP's in the $2-$4-$8-$12 range at local stores (many in the Bay Area, CA) and from internet sellers (I rarely go the E-Bay route when buying). I can generally get by at a bit lower price because I don't usually put much of a premium on cover condition. If the vinyl is nice, I can close my eyes to the cover. ;-)
I am also like Scott in that I hate to pay more than $30-35 for an LP, But, if it is pristine, hard to find, and one that I covet, I make exceptions. I will admit that I have paid as much as $75 for couple of UK pressings that I just HAD TO HAVE. There are others I'd love to buy that cost even more. I also will pay the obvious premimum for some of the newer vinyl in the hopes that it will continue to be manufactured and perhaps come down in price if more folks buy.
In the end, I will NOT buy an LP that I will not play. In other words, I am a "player" not a "Collector". To me, crowing about having a mint copy of some fine recording and leaving it on the shelf for display purposes only is damn near sinful! :-)
I got a book for Xmas called "Vinyl Junkies" by Brett Milano a 2003 release which is really funny as it's all about one collectors adventures.
Personally I have been burnt on Ebay, as record grading has become Rocket Science.
I came back to analog w/ just 40 lp's to my name, & found that my local sources where dried up on anything of quality.
Frustrated, I was lucky to just 3 days ago to purchase a Agon members 1400 mint classical Lp collection. A fellow whom I had grand experiences on Ebay with Sacd's & Xrcd's. It was a once in a lifetime deal, which after my back recovers will keep me busy for years to come :)~
IF you can find a good used record store, vinyl will be cheaper than buying over ebay. I've bought around 90 or so albums on ebay because of where I live now (in Georgia) and you end up paying that extra $10 or so for shipping from England or Japan (where I most often buy from). The trick here is to read between the lines to determine if the seller really is grading correctly and you must buy only lp's rated "Mint" or "Mint-" as the grade "Excellent" will many times buy you a chewed-up surface-noised LP.
At the Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton NJ I used to buy on a regular basis MFSL LP's in Mint condition for as little as 8 bucks... Most I've ever paid for an LP was $50 for MFSL Steely Dans's Katy Lied, and $75 for a sealed MFSL Supertramp Breakfast in America.
Free!, $0.18, $0.23, $0.50, $1 $2 $3 $4 $5 $7 $10 $20 $30
Over that I buy the CD!!!
I have only paid $30 for two LPs: Miles Davis Sketches of Spain six eye 1b 1c sides M-... And a PJ Harvey LP.
Also only a few $20 ones. (four)
And a lot of $10 Jazz...
Most stuff aside from these items averages $0.40 each for thousands of LPs. (And yes this includes Barbara Steisand, but no Mitch Miller or Barry Manilow... a LOT of excellent classical shaded doggies and six eyes in there)
I have over two dozen places to rummage through in my local '10 minute freeway ride' area, about half of those are pretty good.
i purchase on average 2 or 3 used albums per week for a cost of $2.50 to $4.00 per album. New albums are around $10 on up. we have quite a few music stores that sell used cd's and albums. for example, some of the music stores have thousands of used albums and cd's on hand and they constantly receive trade-ins daily.
Elizabeth, the PJ Harvey, Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea is a gem of an LP. Mine came new with a couple of very minor flaws, otherwise it is a seriously great piece of music. I think $30