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New York Public Library attempts to sell 22,000 vinyl records

All the albums shoppers perused Friday at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts were priced to sell at $1.
All the albums shoppers perused Friday at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts were priced to sell at $1.Richard Drew/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Hundreds of vinyl-record aficionados descended on the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts on Friday for a rare sale of LPs from the library’s collection.

The three-day sale of 22,000 records started Thursday. It is intended to clear out space and to raise money for acquisitions and for preserving the library’s collection, curator Jonathan Hiam said.

The sale is the first of its kind since 1984, Hiam said. All the albums for sale are duplicates of others owned by the library, which is at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. All are priced to sell at $1, even boxed sets.

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Bradley Coufal was among 70 people waiting in line before Friday’s sale started. He said he was “an avid dollar bin record seeker.”

“When I heard there were 22,000 records I was excited,’’ he said.

Inside, the records were packed into boxes in no particular order, here the soundtrack of the movie ‘‘New York, New York,’’ there Joan Sutherland singing a Bellini opera. Classical music predominated, but jazz, show tunes, and other genres were represented. Donald Cleveland, a reissue producer, was looking for specific album covers that he could photograph for CD or digital reissues.

‘‘I’ve found a few items,’’ Cleveland said. ‘‘A Brazilian piece, a couple of soundtracks, a blues album — none of which I was looking for but I’m happy nonetheless.’’

Buyers said CDs and MP3s can’t compare with the sound of vinyl.

‘‘Not listening to records is like not drinking wine,’’ said Brian Belott, a visual artist shopping for ‘‘Mozart, Bach, Hindemith, Poulenc.’’

Eli Zimmerman, a fund-raiser for the Metropolitan Opera, examined a recording by pianist Artur Schnabel but rejected it as too scratched.

Plenty of other LPs went into a box at his feet.

‘‘Yesterday I bought 30, 40 records,’’ Zimmerman said. ‘‘Today I’ll probably buy about the same. And I’ll try to sneak them under cover of night so that my wife doesn’t see that I have gotten more records. I obviously have a record addiction.’’

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