ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

RECORD COLLECTOR By Tom Weber

RECORD COLLECTOR By Tom Weber

weber@postbulletin.com

There are record collectors, and then there is Jim Aufenthie.

Aufenthie, of Rochester, has so many records that last year he gave away 10,000 of them -- and still has at least that many in his collection. art entertainmentp weber@postbulletin.com

There are record collectors, and then there is Jim Aufenthie.

ADVERTISEMENT

Aufenthie, of Rochester, has so many records that last year he gave away 10,000 of them -- and still has at least that many in his collection.

"If I keep them, I listen to them," he said. "Otherwise, why have them? Let somebody else enjoy them."

And listen to them he does, in the basement recreation room of his home, where albums by the likes of Jan &; Dean, the Standells, Dion, the Dixie Cups and Dee Dee Sharp stand in boxes ready to be played. But don't look for compact discs or cassette tapes -- there; are none to be found in this collection.

"You can buy everything that's here on CD or tape, except I don't own a CD player or tape player," he said.

Instead, he spins his platters on old stereo consoles that, like most of the records, he finds at rummage sales.

"I play them just like I did when I was a kid," he said. "They don't sound as good as they would on CD. But I hear that old static and, you know ..."

He becomes a kid again, hearing the music for the first time. "When I was 12, I fixed up an old hi-fi, took my sister's old records and listened to them for hours and hours," said Aufenthie, now 53.

At one point, Aufenthie thought he had outgrown his records. "I got rid of all my records when I was younger," he said. "Then I thought, 'What did I do that for?'"

ADVERTISEMENT

So he started all over again, buying boxes of records at garage sales, thrift shops, flea markets and used-record shops. He collects both 45 rpm singles and albums, and virtually nothing of recent vintage. "I think most of this stuff is from 1952 to 1966," he said. Those years cover Aufenthie's favorite music, which is why, when he goes to garage sales, he asks folks who appear to be of a certain age if they might have some old records in the house they'd like to sell.

"I can't believe how many people have records in their basements yet," he said. "Most people don't play them anymore."

People who know about Aufenthie's collection call him with offers to look through albums they're going to dump. Others just do the dumping, without warning. "I came home one day and found four boxes of albums in my driveway," Aufenthie said. "To this day, I don't know who left them."

Aufenthie keeps his eyes open constantly, not only for records, but for stereos on which to play them. "Sometimes I buy a stereo for $1, just to get the needle," he said.

Once he gets his latest treasures home, Aufenthie sorts through the albums. The ones he wants to listen to are cleaned up and moved into the stereo room. The rest are put aside for giveaways or trading.

Then he cues up a long-forgotten tune and settles into a favorite chair to listen. Some of the records are so full of crackles and pops they sound on the verge of being worn out.

"I don't worry about that," Aufenthie said. "I just play 'em."

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Caitlin and Jason Keck’s two-year term on the American Farm Bureau Federation committee begins next month.