In this edition of Crate Minds, our recurring series highlighting some of our most active Sellers from all over the world, we’re introducing Discostars Amsterdam! Discostars has been around for 58 years, and in the beginning was a chain of multiple shops scattered around the Dutch capital. Current owner Hans van der Graft has been running the last remaining shop of the chain for the past 25 years. The shop is jam-packed with CDs, records, cassettes, DVDs and books, but Hans knows exactly where to find what you’re looking for. Based in the Haarlemmerbuurt, many local characters stop by for a chat and a browse, there is always something happening and Hans always has stories to tell!
How long have you been selling on Discogs?
We’ve been selling on Discogs for about 6 years now, but I have been selling records for 43 years. The shop has moved from Damstraat to Rozengracht, to Haarlemmerdijk, and we have been in the current spot for 16 years now. I run the shop and the Discogs sales by myself mostly, but the previous owner, Teun, still helps out regularly. And on Saturday Frank, who also has years of experience, is here to assist.
How did you get into selling records?
I used to sell toys at markets in Amsterdam: Inflatable cuddly toys like teddy bears, turtles and bulls (the bulls were made of red plush – which earned me the nickname Red Bull). I was also a hobby DJ and I started adding some boxes of records to my market stall. One thing led to another and the records took over!
What is your favorite record of all-time?
I have two favorites: Gratitude by Earth Wind & Fire and Rumours. Fleetwood Mac‘s later work is not really my thing, but because of this record I started exploring their earlier recordings, the bluesy stuff. And Gratitude… the live versions, the announcements… I have had to replace both albums multiple times because I played them so much!
What is the most remarkable item you’ve ever sold?
I enjoy finding that rare vinyl record in mint condition in our store’s back warehouse and selling it within hours of listing it on Discogs. Of course, I’m not selling it for pennies, but I know that someone walked away with a quality product. Recently I came across a box in my storage that I hadn’t opened in 25 years. There were 5 copies of Minx / Zimmerman inside. I remember purchasing them from the artist at the time and had forgotten I had them. I put one copy for sale on Discogs and sold it within an hour!
What does your own record collection look like?
My taste is pretty diverse. I have around 2500 LPs, 4500 singles, 1200 12″s, cassettes, 8 tracks and 78s. I also have a lot of CDs but I usually listen to them and then sell them again. What I really like, I have on LP.
What has been your most special find?
A while ago, I purchased a record collection. It turned out to have been the personal collection of the late Benny Neyman, a Dutch singer. It was extraordinary to see the notes and letters that were inside the records, sent by for example record companies or friends. He loved Greek music, so a big part of the collection was Greek. Some of those records have now ‘returned home’ having been bought by Greek collectors.
What is your number one tip for buyers and/or sellers on Discogs?
For sellers: be professional and friendly, and make sure your grading is correct. For buyers: Be honest with the seller.
Check if Discostars Amsterdam has some gems from your wantlist, or drop by the shop on your next visit to the Dutch capital!