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Tricks Of The Trade
Earl Mathewson

Travelling along one of the main streets of the "City of Good Neighbours" (Buffalo, N.Y.), my companion and fellow collector, Merritt Malvern, really hit the nail on the head with an interesting remark. "There's probably 100,000 old 78's in the attics and cellars of the homes we're now passing" mused Merritt. He was probably right too! But how does one unlock the doors to all those records? The answer possibly is to advertise.

Back in Canada's Centennial Year (1967) I had advertised in both the Montreal Star and also the French language newspaper with good results. One letter came from a "big wheel" at the main Montreal Post Office. Arrangements were made to meet the postal worker at his office. Shortly after ten one morning we met. He immediately dropped everything and whisked me away by car to his suburban home south of the city. While he and his wife and family ate lunch I had the rather pleasant task of going through his 78's. These were no ordinary 78's as I was slowly to notice. Almost all 1000 were in their original sleeves and all were British. The original sleeves were a dead give-away as to dealer's stock. How they got there from England I never found out. There was a wealth of British Music Hall discs, records by Vesta Victoria, Billy Merson, Billy Williams, etc. I latched onto some 30 odd records in the limited time allotted me. At $1.00 each I was tickled pink with my "find". The nice part about the whole transaction was that the records were mint, seemingly unplayed. There was not the slightest scuff or scratch on any of them. Virtually all were labels unseen here in Canada. A nice haul and a nice day's results at collecting!

On another occasion I was invited out to the home of collector Paul Smith and his wife of Tacoma, Wash. I didn't tell Paul of my plans of advertising in his local newspaper for records. It was learned on my arrival that I had driven him and his local collector pals nuts trying to figure out who had placed the advertisements. When they learned that I was the instigator of the ads we all had a good laugh. We also had a few good leads for records and possibly phonographs too. I had a half dozen letters to follow up which provided Paul and myself an interesting way of spending our spare time.

Whether you are looking for discs, cylinders or phonographs, my advice to you is to advertise; at least look into the possibilities of same. It will cost money but it's likely to be worth it.

Your local public library would be happy to assist you in getting the addresses of the newspapers in the city you will be visiting. Of course you can usually get immediate information as to advertising rates by picking up that out-of-town newspaper at an international newspaper dealer such as Lichtman's on Adelaide Street here in Toronto.

Another piece of advice you might note. If writing asking for information as to rates, it helps greatly to speed things up by enclosing a stamped, self addressed envelope. For mint U.S. stamps, just ask at the philatelic counter at any large department store or any stamp store. One's U.S. friends and relatives can also supply the stamps needed.

So, this summer when you plan your week's visit to Aunt Susie in St. Louis, Uncle Ben in Boston, or Pierre in Quebec City give some thought beforehand to placing ads in the local newspapers. You can arrange to have a box number in your ad and even have your replies received forwarded to your home address. Allow plenty of time. Don't leave your plans to the last minute. A good time to start to advertise is a full month before your planned visit.

Word your ad carefully for the antique column or if the newspaper just doesn't have one of these then their "articles wanted" column will work probably just as well. You may not strike a gold mine, but you'll likely be pleasantly surprised by the unexpected results. Good Luck!