Last Updated on September 29, 2023 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?
What makes certain CDs valuable in 2023?
Although there are rare titles that make certain titles worth thousands like these – 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. If they are widely unavailable on streaming sites such as Spotify or Apple Music, this can increase the value.
This is especially true for CD singles containing remixes or exclusive tracks that don’t feature on popular albums.
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+.
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.
How to find valuable CDs worth selling on eBay
If you want to check if it’s worth selling a ceratin CD title on eBay, the best way to do it is to look at the current selling price. You can do this by entering the title, or scanning the CD’s barcode using the eBay app.
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.
If you don’t have a title in mind and just want to know which CDs to be on the lookout for, you can select the CD category before sorting the results from high to low. You may need to disregard extremely rare titles or giant bundles that go for a significant amount of money.
From these results I have had to filter out signed and rare issues to get to the titles you may have a better chance of finding at home or at the charity shop.
CD BOLOs (Be on the lookout for)
Artists in general, particularly box sets or complete collections:
- Elvis Presley
- Depeche Mode
- Michael Jackson
- Now Thats what I call music bundles
Specific BOLO titles:
Now Thats What I Call Music 4 – Approx £400
This is a rare CD as being from 1984 at the dawn of CD production, only approximately 500 were ever made. But with the Now series being such a household name, it could easily slip under the radar at a car boot or charity shop.
The Who Live At Leeds 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collectors Edition
Yazoo – In Your Room
Beware the sold listings price trick
There is also a sold listings price anomaly that lets sellers alter the price of a sold listing if they have more than one copy in stock. To give an example with DVDs, this Portsmouth Utd DVD is unlikely to have sold at almost £10,000 a copy.
If you see anything that looks suspicious like this, simply search the title to see what it is being listed for elsewhere on eBay and on other sites. As this example shows, it’s available for a mere £12.99 from other sellers.
This CD Price checker website also offers a similar service comparing the prices on a number of sites, so this could be a good way of checking for the sold price trick.
How to list your CDs to sell on eBay
When you decide to list a CD for sale on eBay, it is likely it will already exist in eBay’s catalogue. When you select “Add a listing”, you will be prompted for information so eBay can attempt to find an existing match in its catalogue.
While this can save you valuble listing time, it is important to check all the details carefully as it is possible that an error could be carried over from a previous person’s listing, such as the genre of music it is listed in.
You should aim to fill in as many details as possible in order to give your listing a boost in visibility. For this reason, I recommend completing your listings on the main eBay site rather than the app, as there are extra categories on the full site.
Even if you take your listing photos on your phone and upload them to the app, a good tip is to then save the listing as a draft, before returning to it on the main site to complete the extra information.
Even though this may sound time consuming, the extra effort can mean the difference between making the sale or not.
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.
Photographing your CDs for listing
Even though eBay may provide you with a stock image of the album cover if the title is in their catalogue, I would always recommend taking photos of your actual CD. This is so buyers can see the condition of the item they are purchasing.
When photographing a CD to list on eBay, I usually take a photo of the front, back and one with the case open so the disc is displayed. If any booklets, posters or other extras are included, take photographs of these too.
Be sure to include any close up photos of flaws to the case or booklet if you have stated these in the listing.
eBay Photography Tools
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 £1.05 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 sell CDs on eBay for 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+:
Lords of the Underground -Keepers of the Funk £9.99
Do you still have any CDs that might be worth selling? Let me know in the comments!
About the Author
Melissa is a working parent who left behind a senior management salary for a better work/life balance. Following her own money saving and money making strategies she was able to clear debt and live a life she loves. Blogging, selling digital products on Etsy and selling preloved items on eBay are her favourite side hustles. Read her story here.