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Bringin' Home The Soul - Travelling With Records


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Posted

Hey all, looking to get people's thoughts, opinions and experiences of bringing home records from abroad, more specifically from the US to the UK. 

Everyone here is well aware of the Ian Levine haul stories but just wondering whether anything like this is even remotely achievable nowadays with all the airport checks, scans, baggage limits etc. 

I'm not sure on the legalities of bringing home suitcases full of records, whether there are additional taxes to pay or anything like that. Just wanted to see whether people here have tried it and whether a trip to the States would be worth it, purely to grab a bunch of records for much cheaper compared to UK sellers.

Any thoughts appreciated!

James 

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i brought around 300 back from the usa last time i was there around 18 months ago.. bought a cheap holdall to put them in and took them on as hand luggage as we had only paid for one suitcase to go in

Hi James. You have missed the boat on this. The days of returning from the States with hundreds of records are long gone. Sure, there are common records going cheaply, often in unplayed condition, but

Some of these USA record stores have been picked totally clean these days! I have been through hundreds and hundreds of records and found nothing worth buying! UK price guides don't help, as




Posted

Hi James. You have missed the boat on this. The days of returning from the States with hundreds of records are long gone. Sure, there are common records going cheaply, often in unplayed condition, but you can buy those from UK dealers. Much depends on where you go, and the the record stores there.  Most have been picked over so regularly, there is little to be had, but you can always hold out for that one item crate-diggers have overlooked. In 1996, I brought back over 500 records from Detroit, Chicago and places around - I carried 200, put 200 in the suitcase when it was a 70lb luggage allowance and the Mrs put a few boxes in her hand luggage. The weight alone makes it a difficult proposition. When the volcano went off in 2010, I was stuck in Texas for an extra week after touring around for a fortnight - that was a great delay as it bumped the haul up to over 300 records, a large proportion of which were duplicates to sell on - it takes a lot of time to find large numbers of records. These days, you are lucky to find 50-100 good records in a fortnight visiting ten stores in five cities. You could achieve similar on eBay and UK websites in a month, but it would only be a fraction of the fun. Top tips for travellers would be to visit any newly opened stores ASAP, chat to the store owners and discover the local contacts, jump at the chance to go to a collector’s house if invited, carry 100 old sleeves marked at 50 cents that look like they came from a yard sale or antique mall and walk through the Green Channel like you have nothing to declare. Be prepared to find little or nothing, but have a great holiday, clock up some miles, see the sights and any records found are a bonus.

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Posted

Got to agree with Frankie on this. Went to Chicago, Milwaukee & St Louis & all points in between in November 2019 & although picked up a nice lot of doubles cheap most of the stores looked like they'd been picked over.

Best part of trip was record shows on the last saturday & sunday in Chicago where I picked up some nice minty tunes. I always take a cabin size suitcase which will fit inside my big suitcase for outward flight & then take it onboard & put in overhead locker for inbound to UK.

Only been stopped once & that was flying back from Austin when they checked my small suitcase & the Homeland security guys were discussing where I'd bought my vinyl. Seems they were collectors but couldn't get to the Austin show.

Dave

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Leaving aside whether you'll find a lot or a few, my advice is either to send them to yourself before you come home if too many to carry. Some seller over there will give you an invoice. 100 45s at 10 cents say or whatever amount cutting down charges [if any] at this end. From experience charges can be random. I didn't pay anything on my last lot from USA.

Similarly if you bring some back get an invoice too to present to customs at the airport.

I'm not sure what value you can bring back without being liable for charges.

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Some of these USA record stores have been picked totally clean these days!

I have been through hundreds and hundreds of records and found nothing worth buying!

UK price guides don't help, as the USA sellers know what to pick out  to put on ebay!

It was different in 1978 and 1979. Then I was finding lots of goodies! Times have changed!

 

Edited by Halogen
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1 hour ago, Halogen said:

Some of these USA record stores have been picked totally clean these days!

I have been through hundreds and hundreds of records and found nothing worth buying!

UK price guides don't help, as the USA sellers know what to pick out  to put on ebay!

 

When the early Price Guides appeared, some record dealers were motivated to dig deeper into their basements and attics unearthing nice stock - that was a short, but sweet period. Later Price Guides contributed to price inflation but some US dealers stuck with early editions so buyers had bargains. Nowadays, Popsike and Collectorsfrenzy mean there are no bargains, but savvy dealers stockpile the rarer stuff - these are the stores to visit and revisit, trip after trip. It’s always worth taking a Price Guide such as Manship #5 or 6, so if you find a record that’s not in the book, it could be worth keeping hold of.

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i brought around 300 back from the usa last time i was there around 18 months ago.. bought a cheap holdall to put them in and took them on as hand luggage as we had only paid for one suitcase to go in the hold.. i did get stopped and taken to one side.. a young girl checked my bag for drugs and had a look at the contents.. she didnt even know what they were so called her superviser over who was a guy around my age to come take a look.. he just rolled his eyes at her told her just to swab doen the sides and if ok send me on my way.. didnt get charged anything but i did have a bit of a sweat on for a while

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5 hours ago, Dave Pinch said:

i brought around 300 back from the usa last time i was there around 18 months ago.. bought a cheap holdall to put them in and took them on as hand luggage as we had only paid for one suitcase to go in the hold.. i did get stopped and taken to one side.. a young girl checked my bag for drugs and had a look at the contents.. she didnt even know what they were so called her superviser over who was a guy around my age to come take a look.. he just rolled his eyes at her told her just to swab doen the sides and if ok send me on my way.. didnt get charged anything but i did have a bit of a sweat on for a while

Haven't been over since 2009, but we used to go to New York to stay with my cousin who moved over there for 9 years. I always took my messenger stye over the shoulder bag, and would put all the records in that to carry on as I was always worried they'd get cracked chucked around in the hold. I don't think I ever brought more than around 100 back in one go.

The only time I got stopped for the records (got stopped on the way in nearly every trip!) was when a security dog took an interest. The guard checked my bag out and told me that 2nd hand records and sleeves do often seem to trigger the drugs dogs' interest....

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Posted

Thanks for everyone's thoughts on this, appreciate it! Seems like there aren't any charges for bringing them in which is good, been stung a few times with customs etc. With a bit of planning it may well work, not this year though... 

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2 hours ago, Seano said:

Haven't been over since 2009, but we used to go to New York to stay with my cousin who moved over there for 9 years. I always took my messenger stye over the shoulder bag, and would put all the records in that to carry on as I was always worried they'd get cracked chucked around in the hold. I don't think I ever brought more than around 100 back in one go.

The only time I got stopped for the records (got stopped on the way in nearly every trip!) was when a security dog took an interest. The guard checked my bag out and told me that 2nd hand records and sleeves do often seem to trigger the drugs dogs' interest....

i always wanted to go.. first time i went was 2002 and brought back around 100 that time..been 13 times all told now tho

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Used to get parcels from Simon Soussan opened by the customs on a regular basis.

Maybe they knew he was a shady character even then🤣

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1 hour ago, Dave Pinch said:

i always wanted to go.. first time i went was 2002 and brought back around 100 that time..been 13 times all told now tho

Where do you tend to fly in to? Assuming you hire a car to get around to all the shops? 

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1 hour ago, JEGeorge said:

Where do you tend to fly in to? Assuming you hire a car to get around to all the shops? 

i fly mainly to orlando or miami but yes we tour about and you definitely need a car for that.. flown to newark NY too

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Luckily I get to travel over for work a couple of times a year, but I must say I've been finding less and less each time I go...still it breaks up the time between meetings...I always take mine as carry on due to one year losing my luggage for nearly a week with 100 45s in it

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Posted

I always use hand luggage for more expensive items the rest I pack well and  slip them in my main luggage . I do Austen Record Convention when i can and always find varied stuff ( you won’t get the vast numbers we used to ) but you can still get quality . 
Last  visit before COVID hand luggage searched but no problems with 45s in fact a jovial conversation about vinyl ? 
Plenty of untapped places also unless you have visited every store vintage and vinyl along with every flea market in the USA 🇺🇸
It’s a big old place . 

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