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Attendees flip through vendors' bins at the 2013 Stuart's Opera House Record Sale and Swap. This year's event will be held on Feb. 13. (Photo courtesy of Stuart's Opera House)
Attendees flip through vendors' bins at the 2013 Stuart's Opera House Record Sale and Swap. This year's event will be held on Feb. 13. (Photo courtesy of Stuart's Opera House)

Vendors Put a Positive Spin on Annual Record Sale and Swap

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Vinyl LP enthusiasts and nostalgia buffs will have plenty to keep them busy at this weekend’s Record Sale and Swap, taking place Saturday at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville.

For nearly 10 years, the annual Sale and Swap (originally hosted at ARTS/West) has been a sort of magnet for record fans — bringing together like-minded souls for an afternoon of browsing record and CD collections and music memorabilia.

“It’s a really cool setting for music geeks,” said Stuart’s Opera House Marketing Director Brian Koscho.

According to Koscho, the event has hosted six to eight vendors in the past. Although there is no particular deadline to reserve a table, space does fill quickly. The cost is $15 per table, plus 10 percent of sales.

Vendor Paul Tescher, a regular fixture at the Sale and Swap, is also a familiar face at the Nelsonville Music Festival, where he displays hundreds of LPs. He said his collection is mostly rock and roll, but added there’s a “pretty wide variety” between the vendors.

Tescher, who has been selling LPs for three decades, has “accumulated a boatload of records over the years,” acquired from yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores.

“Over the years, I have educated myself as to which records have value via other record dealers’ catalogues, other collector shows, etc.,” he said.

On occasion, Tescher has stumbled upon a rare find. For example, he and his wife stopped in an antique store in South Bend, Indiana, last fall, where he found an LP called Todd. The album, recorded by a local high school student in the mid-1970s, originally sold for $5. Tescher later sold it to a dealer with whom he’s traded for 25 years, and got $350 for it.

“(The dealer) was in process of putting up a catalogue of records for sale and almost always has the type of more obscure LPs in really nice condition that I like,” Tescher said. “I got 10 really good and hard-to-find albums in top shape.”

Another regular Sale and Swap vendor is DJ Barticus, who was awarded Best Local DJ/Radio Personality in this year’s “Best of Athens” contest hosted by The Athens NEWS. Barticus, an Athens resident since 2001, has participated in the Sale and Swap for at least five years.

The DJ said he’s always “on the hunt” for new records, ready to trade LPs for long sought-after titles. A self-described “music addict,” Barticus makes a point to look up record shops when traveling.

Saturday’s event is scheduled for 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free. Attendees can bring along items to swap with vendors or simply browse and purchase. Whether it’s buying or selling, both vendors and customers seem to have two things in common: a love of music and an appreciation for the venue itself.

“Stuart’s Opera House is a wonderful phenomenon to have in Athens County,” Tescher said. “I have nothing but praise.”

For more information, visit stuartsoperahouse.org.