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Contacting Us & Frequently Asked Questions.

 

We are happy to hear from our visitors and appreciate your interest in us. We attempt to answer all e-mail but sometimes fail to meet that goal in a timely manner depending on how much mail we receive. To help us out, we're including some "standard" questions that we are regularly asked and we'd appreciate it if your issue is included that you read the answer we've provided here. Hopefully this will save you and us time and effort. We DO NOT want to appear inhospitable or to appear that we do not want to hear from you. We enjoy hearing from our readers. Our main purpose with these questions is to simply streamline things for both of us. If after reading a particular answer, you have further questions or comments, please do feel free to write to us.

 

Question: I have some music that has been left to me (or purchased, found, given to me) and want to know how much it is worth. Can you tell me the value of each sheet?

 

Answer: It is very difficult for us to assess any value on a general group of sheets as the values depend on specific title, condition, composer, artist and other complex interrelationships. The Parlor Songs Academy does not and can not fairly evaluate prices without a physical inspection and we are simply not equipped nor do we have the resources to assess values.

 

We get many such requests and interestingly, there really is no single source where one can obtain an appraisal of a collection. I am aware of a few "experts" who from time to time may appraise collections but they are few and far between and only do it for special friends and situations. That leaves most of us in the dark and at the mercy of antique dealers or others who often do not really understand the special niche sheet music seems to have in the ephemera collecting field. I'm assuming you read our article about valuation and collecting, if not see below. The value of sheet music can be deceptive for even though you may have a very old sheet that looks like it should be valuable, it may not be simply due to the fact that millions were printed and thousands still survive. Yet others, that look dull and uninspiring can be worth hundreds. Below is a standard reply I send to inquiries such as yours with the hopes that you'll be able to get some idea of the value of the collection.

 

There are some resources available for the person desiring to get an idea of value. The best one that indicates prevailing values is the current selling prices bid for items for sale on some of the electronic auction sites such as Ebay. Another possibility is searching the net by title to see if a given title is up for sale at private sites. That option is time intensive and generally does not have a high success rate.


There is at least one popular book that claims to list prices and though it has a number of inaccuracies and is based on less than current prevailing prices, it is used by a number of people as a guide. In general, I would encourage you to not rely on it as a hard and fast guide but could give you some idea of general trends. The book is "The Sheet Music Reference and Price Guide" by Anna Marie Guiheen and Marie-Reine A. Pafik. I am not advocating you purchase this book, only making you aware of its availability and limitations. You can find it in most major book stores or at Amazon.com


Other resources for you might include some of the clubs and publications that exist.
Publications include:

 

Remember That Song
5821 N. 67th Ave, Suite 103-306
Glendale, AZ 85311

 

Sheet Music Magazine
P.O. Box 58629
Boulder, CO 80323
(800) 759-3036
Website: http://www.sheetmusicmagazine.com/

 

Sheet Music Exchange
PO Box 69
Quicksburg, VA 22847

 

Clubs include the
New York Sheet Music Society
PO Box 1126
East Orange, NJ 07019
Website: http://www.geocities.com/nysms2001/Nysms.htm

 

National Sheet Music Society
1597 Fair Park Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Website: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/bobcourt/page4.html

 

These addresses are subject to change at any time and I can't be responsible for further information as to their whereabouts.


Of course, our article about collecting and valuation is another possible source of information and if you have not read it, we suggest that you do to get an idea of the complexities of valuation. You can see it at: http://www.parlorsongs.ac/insearch/collecting/collecting1.php it is in two parts so just click the link to part two after reviewing part one.

 

For me, the bottom line is whatever someone is willing to pay at any given time and for that, I go back to Ebay as a potential guide.

 

I'm sorry that we cannot be more helpful, we are interested in you and advancing the collection of sheet music. However we ask that you please understand that we are a small organization and the volume of these inquiries has exceeded our capacity to respond beyond these general guidelines.


We appreciate your visits to us and hope you will continue to visit regularly.

 

Question: Is there a price guide available for individual sheets that will tell me the value of my collection?

 

Answer: This question is answered somewhat in the prior question. There really is no reliable guide to pricing available either in print or on-line although there are publications that attempt to do so. The problem with it is that by the time a book is compiled and printed, the prices may have already changed in either direction. In addition, most of the guides I'm aware of are only the opinions of a few experts and quite honestly, the best selling such guide is of questionable reliability, however it does give some general ideas as to potential value but has been proven to have many errors and new editions do not seem to be updated as far as prices go. That said, the book is: The Sheet Music Reference and Price Guide by Anna Marie Guiheen and Marie-Reine A. Pafik. I am not advocating you purchase this book, only making you aware of its availability and limitations. You can find it in most major book stores or at Amazon.com.

 

Some websites that are similar to ours make an attempt to suggest values but they are few and far between and then again, rapidly become outdated and in my estimation value the sheets at extreme high end. You'll find antique shops that value sheets way out of the true value range and flea markets that also do the same but you can also find the reverse.

 

As I mentioned in our article on collecting sheet music, it is a very complex set of attributes that establish the value. The best true gauge is what people are willing to pay and for that, I generally rely on what the trends are at Ebay. The sheet music listings there are followed by many collectors and many experts so most of the time, when an item is bid on by several bidders it can give you a good indication of values. You can't rely on the posted prices too much as many sellers way overestimate value. For example, there was a Carrie Jacobs-Bond autographed song sheet that someone posted with a minimum price of over $600. The more likely value of the item is $25 or $30. Needless to say, that clueless poster has posted it several times now and no-one has bid on it yet.


In general, sheet music selling prices are much less than most people may think. Sheets that sell for over $25 are a very small percentage of the total. The main reason is that most popular songs were published in the millions and even after almost 100 years, there are still many copies floating around. It is only the truly unique or very rare that get the high prices.

 

I know I've hedged a lot but it's really not possible for me to tell you a value without some extensive research and actually seeing the condition of the sheets you have and unfortunately, due to the many requests we get for estimates, we just don't have time to go beyond these rather nebulous answers.

Our feeling is that it is not the monetary value that is important rather they are valuable treasures from the past to be preserved, to enjoy the music or the cover art.


Question: I have some sheet music to sell, will you buy it? How can I donate music to The Parlor Songs Academy?

 

Answer: We appreciate kind offers to make sheet music available to us. In general we are not actively purchasing additional music but depend on donations to provide new sheet music to us. On rare occasions we will buy lots of music or individual sheets that fill gaps in our collection or offer exceptional value (lots of sheets for little cost). Donations to us are not tax deductible but we provide an inventory after receiving the donation that provides you with a record of your donation.. To donate music, contact us and we'll provide shipping information. Cost of packaging and shipping is not reimbursed.

 

Question: If you won't buy it then how can I sell my sheet music?


To sell sheet music we believe that the Ebay auction site is your best option. At any given point there are well over 10,000 titles for sale and it is frequented by collectors from around the world. The disadvantage is you must rely on your item being spotted by collectors and to get the best price you would hope that several collectors would bid for it to up the price. Usually though the music will sell for a nominal value. With the current recsession fewer titles are being bid on and purchased and those that are sell for much lower prices than in prior years.

You can try to sell music locally through flea markets or antique shops that accept consignments but due to limited exposure, they may or may not sell. The huge exposure on Ebay tends to be more successful but results in degraded prices sometimes due to the commonality of many sheets.

 

Question: I want to use one of your images or quote your site in a paper for school or on my website, how can I do that?

 

Answer: We encourage the use of our materials in education and have a liberal usage policy. For commercial use we suggest you contact us. For the full details please read our usage policy.

 

Question: I'm searching for information about a particular song (lyrics, recording or sheet music), can you help me find it?

 

Answer: In general, yes, we may be able to help, and will usually try. There are limits though. In general, our expertise, resource library and collection is limited to the period from 1890 to 1930 or so. We can only perform (on our site) or show the music and lyrics for songs written prior to 1923 but can attempt to help you with items up to and sometimes through the 1930s. We do ask a couple of things though. Please do a thorough search of our site before writing. You can browse throug our catalog which lists all the songs that are posted on the site. You can also use our search page. Often, songs that we receive inquiries about are published on our site. Since around 2002 we've also included lyrics. We also ask that you try to search the net for information first before writing to us as about 90% of the answers we provide can be found on the net.

 

For songs that seem to be out of print and are still in copyright, you can find the copyright owner or authorized agent by looking the song up at the ASCAP or BMI site search pages.

 

ParlorSongs.com & The ParlorSongs Academy offers song search information as a service without compensation. Though our advice or results are based on standard US copyright law provisions, we have no certified legal expertise in copyright law and given the vagaries of copyright law, our results cannot be construed as legal advice. Our research, though done with diligence and attempts to be as factual as possible, cannot replace the requestors own research and/or that of a qualified attorney specializing in intellectual property and copyright law.

 

Question: I'd like to purchase sheet music of one or several songs featured on your site, how can I do that?

 

We want to be sure that you know that we do sell sheet music copies (reproductions) of most of the music that appears on our site. If it's in our catalog and has a publication date before 1923, odds are we can provide a reprint. For more information about our reprint service see our store page.

 

If you decide that you want to purchase a given sheet write to us or you can order direct via the PayPal service which accepts MasterCard or Visa. If you know the title and price (usually $7 including postage for sheets up to 6 pages in length (most) and for less than six copies) place your order at by email to and we will provide payment instructions. See the above linked store page for more details as to costs and quantity discounts. Ship time if you'd like to order sheet music is usually less than 10 days from your order. Cost is variable and postage is included to anywhere in the US. If outside the US, let us know and we'll determine the postage.If you are a music store and would like to carry our sheet music please contact us directly.

 


If you decide you want to for sure order something contact us for availability and we'll get right back to you with the final price and payment instructions Be sure to tell us if you reside outside the US. Another option besides printed music is to receive it electronically and print it yourself.. It is sent as a PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file as a mail attachment. If you want to go that route, make sure your e-mail service allows large file attachments, the sizs of the files vary from 250 kb to 1.5mb. Please specify in your order if you want the electronic version. Do NOT send your credit card info to us via e-mail. The PayPal system is secure, email is not.


If you have additional questions or have other comments, please write to us. We do enjoy hearing from you with compliments, complaints (ok, so we don't enjoy those very much) and information that either corrects something on our site or helps us improve it.


If you want to contact us personally, write to Rick




The Parlor Songs Academy is an educational website, designated by the "ac" (academic) domain

If you would like to submit an article about America's music for us to publish, go to our submissions page for information about writing articles for us. We also welcome suggestions for subjects for future articles.

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