PAUL MAWHINNEY, 68, has been passionately compiling a massive music collection for 50-odd years. But now, due to poor health, financial concerns and a miffed missus, the Pittsburgh-based publisher has sold what is thought to be the biggest physical music collection in the world - on Ebay.
A buyer from Ireland agreed to shell out a whopping $3,002,150 for the collection which had a record minimum reserve price of only $3 million. The price tag is apparently one of the highest ever recorded by Ebay Inc., surpassed only by the sale of a Gulfstream II jet sold for $4.9 million.
From Thomas Edison to American Idol, every genre of American music is represented in Mawhinney's collection; rock; jazz; country; R&B; blues; new age; Broadway and Hollywood; bluegrass; folk; children's; comedy; Christmas, and all the rest of the music that shaped and defined five generations.
With over six million songs on three million records and 300,000 compact discs, the collection includes 78s, 45 singles, EPs, LPs and CDs. No other collection in the world – publicly or privately held - even comes close. To get some perspective, Wired reckons that buying the whole lot on Itunes would set you back a cool $5,940,000. Others reckon the value of the collection could be more than $50 million dollars.
Mawhinney added and added to his amazing collection over the years until, one day, on passing the 160,000 mark his exasperated wife told him that either the records went, or he did. Wimpy Mawhinney caved and the records went into a 16,000-square-foot climate-controlled warehouse where they've been ever since.
Mawhinney says he kept collecting because he believed "someone had to preserve the music ... the history". Mawhinney was seeking a buyer who would keep the whole collection in one piece and even suggested that it could make a half decent tourist attraction if "cleverly arranged and displayed, and surrounded by additional cultural memorabilia". µ
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