Paul Mawhinney was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Over the years he has amassed what has become the world’s largest record collection. Due to advancing age, financial issues, health issues and a struggling record industry Paul has been forced to sell his collection, AGAIN.
- 3 Million Records
- 300,000 Compact Discs
- More Than 6 Million Song Titles
Back in February, Paul put the entire collection up on eBay. The bidding got up to a whopping $3,002,150 (albeit much less than the collection is actually worth.) The news of the auction and the collection were widely reported at this time, however as it turns out the winner of the auction was a deadbeat non-paying bidder. The user’s (now suspended) account name was “jopsoup” and he later claimed that someone had stolen his identity. Ya, right.
After dealing with this headache, Paul is now putting the collection up for sale once again.
Every genre of American music is represented: rock, jazz, country, R&B, blues, new age, Broadway and Hollywood, bluegrass, folk, children’s, comedy, Christmas music (!) and more. No other collection in the world even comes close.
More than half of the recordings are actually NEW, and many of the records are worth hundreds or thousands themselves.
Every recording in this amazing collection was purchased by its owner, over a period of 50 years, and stored in a 16,000 square foot climate – controlled warehouse. The estimated value of the entire collection is now greater than fifty million dollars.
Of course the price tag is the greatest obstacle in selling the collection, but I think it could be argued that the value of the collection is much greater than the sum of its parts. It is absolutely the greatest collection of music from the 20th century and has a tremendous historical value.
Other than selling the whole lot to to a private collector I have no idea what attempts have been made to preserve the collection. Has anyone approached any archival instututions, maybe the library of Congress? Would they even want it? The collection must be preserved in it’s entirety. To break up a collection as comprehensive and rare as this would be absolutely unthinkable.
Perhaps some crazy music-loving billionaire out there wants to acquire it. If you’re listening – this is your call to action! Buy it, preserve it, and maintain this historical and cultural treasure.
In any case, an individual named Sean Dunne has created a documentary about it called “The Archive”. It is a must watch. Short video describing the documentary.
And here is video in it’s entirety (you can click on the arrows it to see it full screen).
Paul is also the publisher of Music Master, the definitive guide to buying and selling music, used by record collectors the world over. More information on the collection can be found here and you can browse the complete database of music if you fill out a form here.
Oh, the first record he ever bought? It was a 45 rpm Frankie Lane song.
Mr. Paul, congratulations for your collection. You have just become a huge inspiration for me.
No Girl has more records or abetter taste than me lalala
My dad collected records for years, I know of one set he paid $ 8,000 for. He has old sterios and lot of other old
record playing stuff . He has several buildings full, NO picking the records, every thing for sale, around 2 million records for $ 1 million dollars
for more info. call Gary at [removed]
Lot of songs in the collection, I at one time downloaded the database it was not for the entire collection unless it was updated before the links died. It was mostly 45 rpm’s. I understand from other published stories that there are also many duplicates in the collection. Still it is a shame that this collection will eventually wind up parted out or worse no longer cared for and allowed to self destruct. having this collection would be nice but it would require a fortune to maintain it as well he has 40,000 plus of climate controlled sqft easy 50K a month. I have a large digital collection with music from the late 1800’s – 2012 it occupies well over 300 TB of space that i plan to leave in my family for the years ahead of the grand kids
Rock & Roll is here to stay and will be there for them as well
Deer mr. Mawhinney , not very often i find someone who is like me, i have been collecting music since my 7th year of age i am 27 now. I think music is best made man thing ever and for ever will be and i honestly think what u have is priceless. I am not sure if i would ever sell any of it for any price, cause money are other material things simply cant be compared to what you have.Since am sure you are fully aware that our fellow humans these days suffer a absolute value disorder, no wonder you cant find a buyer.. its a sad thought.
But anyway 99.9 people alive today don’t deserve even a tiniest bit of your collection even if they have the cash to pay for it cause i simply find them unworthy. So i am not sure what would i do if i were you. I would probably dig a very deep hole somewhere well hidden from today’s materialists and hope maybe one day it will be found by someone who will know how truly valuable it is.
I am very sorry am not a millionaire but if i had 100 mil i would gladly give 90 for that most epic of all worlds treasures cause i know it would make dance of happiness till the rest of my life in ways that 90 mil could never.
Anyway from bottom of my heart i wish u luck and i wish you find a case with 5 mil. so you never have to think about selling this unique priceless treasure and of course i wish you life as long as possible to you and your family.
@rolen Can you show any proof of this “Roger V.K.” having this 12 million record collection or are you just telling tall tales? I’m a few years late on this comment, oh well.
I do not understand why he feel bad.He has many records ,he have heard so many things and he is sad.
I am 42 ,i love rock music but i do not have money to buy records.I use
youtube to download and listen MP3 which is nothing but the only i can do.The records ,music is to listen ,not to sell.If i had these records i would give them to my children.
Is my husband is has a collection. He has everything. Form records to reel to reels to 8 track , 78s,45s.to Lps.He has reel to reel players,records players.He even has 4tracks and 8 tracks.Have to send you a picter some time.
I don’t think vinyl records are dead, they do sound as good and in some cases better than digital sound on my stereo, in fact the only music I bought in the last few years have only been vinyl records. Its just a cooler product with the larger artwork and stuff. Its a great medium, just takes up more space…
if i had the money i would by them and take good care of them but i don’t its sad that not a lot of people care. 🙁
I’m looking for CD from A&M records Canada. For a Promo Blue,& Orange Disc of Veronique (Beliveau) CD-23065. I’m going make you love. 4 same tracks, in 4 different songs.
Of you have any information anywhere in North American
Please E-mail me ASAP.
SORRY FOR PAUL BUT ROGER V. K. FROM MONTENEGRO IS THE BIGGEST RECORDS COLLECTOR ALL OVER THE WORLD WITH 12 MILLION RECORDS AND 475,000 CD’S…
HE HAS EVERYTHING FROM ALL THE COUNTRYS INCLUDE ALL DJ’S PROMOS AND DEMOS FROM ALL THE 236 COUNTRYS…..
Your clip really hit home with me and made a small tear in my eye..What wonderfull heart to heart music Phill must have..I,d like to take a few years to listen to the rare ones..Good luck Phill and GOD be with you in music
In very round numbers, the man has 2,000,000 records that cannot be had, by anyone, anywhere, at any price.
And we still think that copyright that exists for more that 14 years is really in anyone’s interest?
Let’s make it a generation – 20 or 25 years, tops. Keep it civilized.
Analog sound remains superior due to it’s constant nature rather than the grid of the digital world. Vinyl stills lives! I hope these go to a good home. Hopefully the home of someone who loves to share 🙂
Buy the entire collection for 2 million. Digitize all the albums published before 1923. Since all publication copyrights before 1923 have expired, you could sell the downloads!
shhhhhhh … don’t tell my husband about this sale. He might want to buy these.
@gridface: The importance of the collection is how complete it is and the historical significance that it holds; would we keep all the “good” pictures from World War II and throw out the others because they are junk?
Seems more like a hoard then a collection. It might actually be better to cherry pick the important records in each genre. There may be a lot of junk.
Hmm, FINALLY a person with more than I.
he has 6 million songs, i have 1.7
but i have a long life ahead of me and he is 69 today.
the sad part, NOBODY but me and he cares. I mean nobody.
its like collecting all the MIDI files and MOD files in the world… no one cares about them.
Id be better off playing video games for a hobby.
Don’t worry, I feel your pain I have every song ever produced from the 80’s and 90’s as well a large tracker collection. My library numbers over 15 mil in songs. Sadly I have so much music I can’t possible listen to all of it before I die in 80 or so years.
Robert, This is the same person who posted in 2008. We should probably meet up one day and swap or something! We might be the two biggest obsessed mega-collectors other than Paul Mawhinney. We could PGP a subset short list of a specific genre or exotic title not on internet in many many years to prove to each of us who we are. Please post your public PGP key to me in alt.binaries.test2 (note the test2) in subject with “similarcollector” one day. I’ll check every couple months and reply with my first pgp message to you and my public key as well. Thanks in advance. And I am up to over 4 million but have not worked on my database inventory in 2 years so have no exact number. Cheers!
ha digitilized? fancy selling me a copy 😛 personal use
Robert, This is the same person who posted in 2008, and 2012. Now over two more years have passed, and I have amassed about 10,000,000 mp3s, 6,000,000 more than my previous post. You had 15,000,000, I am 2/3rd the way to that old number of yours. Its all still practically a huge worthless waste of time that impresses no one though, but I am deeply impressed by your 2012 achievement. One day in about 2 or 3 years I will reach your 15,000,000 target, but by then maybe you will have far more.
I care. you’re currently beating me. but i’m only 21…
Digital Signal Processing > Records.
The guys from the Pirate Bay should take up a collection. It could become the biggest haul of booty ever!
calling Paul Allen. Paul Allen to the courtesy phone please.