In the days of physical media dying, we’re seeing more and more expansive record collections pop up online. While there’s an entire industry of rare record buyers and a worldwide market of obscure vinyl collectors more connected than ever, seeing gigantic assortments of music appear on eBay or Craigslist is becoming increasingly common, with only the largest collection capturing the awe and wonder of music fans online. But while the majority of the expansive attention-grabbing personal libraries tend to be more so accumulations than actual collections, often attributed to the original collector being a former DJ or having had some other connection to the music industry, this summer’s most shared collection happens to be the product of dutiful keeping by a private collector.
When the 250,000-piece record collection with an asking price of $350,000 first popped up on Craigslist two months ago, it became a source of intrigue for record buyers and music fans alike. Located in Dunkirk, N.Y., the sheer size of the collection combined with no media attention or mention of it prior to the Craigslist post led to reactions ranging from skeptical to exuberant. What were all these records that spanned decades doing in this home? With the only information being the number of selections, the location, their condition, and the coda of belonging to the seller’s departed father, it was as if vinyl’s lost city of Atlantis had finally been uncovered.
This is the story of Frederic Bolling, a collector of many things including stamps, coins, toys, and yearbooks, but whose record collection was like no other of its kind. Complex Magazine spoke to Frederic’s daughter Patsy Klemens who told us how Frederic’s incredible collection came to be.