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.