Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by Melissa S.
Anyone who has visited a charity shop, car boot or jumble sale in the past few years will know that CDs, once something many of us would happily pay £10 + for, can now barely fetch pennies and are often bundled together in deals such as 5 for £1.
Thanks to streaming and smart speakers, many of us are decluttering not just the music, but the stereo systems too meaning that without a CD player there is literally no point in owning stacks of discs taking up space.
Being in my teens in the 90s and a big music lover to boot, I have a substantial CD collection that I know has cost me probably several thousands of pounds over the years. I am now at the point where I am happy to upload my music to iTunes and get rid of the actual discs.
You may have considered donating, or perhaps getting a bit of money for yours from reselling companies such as Music Magpie. However, they will often only offer you actual pennies for albums (10p seems to be common) or worse still, actually refuse titles altogether! Currently, there is a clear low cost / low demand cycle at work.
However, there are definitely a few titles that buck this trend. Personally I have sold certain CDs on eBay for more than I paid for them, and in some cases much more. So before you surrender your music collection to the local charity shop, what should you be looking out for when selling CDs?
Check the Rarity of the CD before selling
By this I don’t just mean a limited pressing or misprint that makes certain titles worth thousands like these – but there are plenty of CDs that can still fetch between £10 and £20 a piece. Often these can be titles that weren’t mainstream or popular at the time of release.
Between myself and my husband, we have several 90s hip hop and dance titles that are worth over £10 each. We both remember (loosely) that these were the titles that you might have had to order in from the record shop and certainly not ones that made the album chart.
This doesn’t mean that “collector’s editions” are automatically worth more either, especially if they sold well at the time. For example, I have Blur’s “13” album which came as a collector’s edition in a presentation box with collectible cards and a poster, but as it was number 1 in the album charts and was certified Platinum in sales, it’s pretty common and so currently selling for under £3.
CD singles probably didn’t sell anywhere near as much as albums, meaning that the right ones can be in demand. Artists with a loyal fanbase and a hefty back catalogue of rarer titles can fetch more money. Mariah Carey is one such example.
She has a global fanbase, has been releasing music since the early 90s and is still a major artist today. Her albums will have sold well at the time, but her CD singles would have had a more limited market.
New fans may be keen to get hold of discontinued singles and remixes not available on streaming services, which is where the value comes in. By contrast, most Mariah CD albums are not worth more than £1 or so as they are still widely available, but some (not all) of her cd singles can fetch between £5-£20+.
Sell similar CD titles as a bundle
You may have a few titles by the same artist worth £1-2 each and wonder if it’s worth the hassle of listing them, but bundling them together can make them more attractive to buyers and enable you to round up the price accordingly. Compilation albums such as Now, Ministry of Sound and Hed Kandi have all sold well in this way.
Look at comparable sales when selling CDs
Even disregarding the rarity, genre and artist can still bring up some surprisingly valuable finds, so the only way to know for sure is to check the value. Even if you aren’t interested in selling CDs, you can use the barcode scanner on the eBay app to directly scan your discs. This will then bring up any of the same titles up for sale.
This CD Price checker website also offers a similar service comparing the prices on a number of sites, although I have found it is not always as up to date as going directly through eBay.
Before your eyes pop out on stalks at some of the prices, be sure to filter by sold listings just to check what people are actually buying for. Just because someone has decided to list a CD for £40 doesn’t mean anyone is actually going to pay that! Similarly, ensure that the sold items you are comparing are pre-owned as new / sealed items tend to go for a higher price.
What is the best way to mail sold CDs?
In the UK, a standard CD single or album should easily fit within the size requirements for Royal Mail Large Letter size, which is up to 750g in weight, 35.3cm x 25cm in size, and the important one – 2.5cm in thickness / depth. Meet these requirements and you can mail your CD for 96p second class.
Any thicker than this and it will need to be sent as a far pricier small parcel for £2.95 or through a courier such as Hermes for a similar price (couriers do not offer a letter sized delivery price point).
If you really want to be sure, and you’re selling a lot of small items, you could always pick up a Royal Mail letter sizer tool very cheaply. If you have a home printer, this could avoid lots of trips to the post office as you can print at home and post straight in the postbox.
Sending CDs through the post in thin plastic envelopes is not ideal as the cases could obviously get damaged, but wrap them over zealously in bubblewrap and you run the risk of making them thicker than 2.5cm.
For this reason, I highly recommend getting padded large letter size bags (Jiffy bags) – they are padded enough to keep your CD from damage while being thin enough to meet the large letter requirements.
This size bag also works well for DVDs and computer games too.
Could you be sitting on a small fortune?
The best way to check if it’s worth your time selling CDs is to check their current value. Sometimes there appears to be no obvious rhyme or reason why a title might be worth selling. There are so many millions of titles available that it would be impossible to create a list that would be helpful to everyone, but just as an example here are 5 titles I have personally found or sold for £10+:
Do you still have any CDs that might be worth selling? Let me know in the comments!
Want more eBay info? You might like these posts:
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