Monday, January 12, 2009

Record-Rama Archives

(updated March 1, 2015)

Record-Rama had been a record store in Pittsburg USA for a few decades. The proprietor Paul Mawhinney has collected the largest vinyl record archive in the world. Now the store is closed and he is trying to sell that archive.
He wants to sell it as a whole collection and wants it preserved that way. His minimum price is $3 million. I say it's worth it. 1.5 million 45s dating from 1948, and a million LPs. This is not store stock, but saved copies of every record he ever dealt with. His aim was to have every single by every artist, and he published his list in his MusicMaster catalog. It probably contains every release by any favorite artist you can think of.
I think the best use would be to make the records accessible to reissue companies and to broadcasters so that anything could be made available to listeners.
He is at the same time clearing out what remains of his store stock. That is arranged thru his website and is a big-time proposition involving a minimum $5,000 purchase.
His store was a mecca for collectors of obscure rare vinyl, and I hope this music will be preserved.

A video on this can be seen at the Vimeo site:
The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

The first edition of the MusicMaster catalog in 1982 came in two volumes, one by title and one by artist. It illustrates what he had in the archive at that time. Click to view larger.

Mawhinney's website is

Sale of the collection
The collection has been sold to a Brazilian buyer named Zero Freitas as of December 2012, who plans a museum. This has been announced by The New York Times, CNN Money, and others.


jimthing said...

Added useful directory bit on wikipedia "Record-Rama". See:

tracy002 said...
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Anonymous said...

I remember Paul Mawhinney from my childhood. I went to grade school with his (younger) half-brother George, and used to buy fireworks from Paul's "hobby shop" up the road from my house (oops, that was illegal -- hopefully the statute of limitations applies!).
I met him again 30 years later at Record-Rama when I returned to Pittsburgh for a time. A wonderful store, and he was very helpful getting me what I wanted. I wish him and his collection all the best!

ronnie2112 said...

i bought many records from here.

BRIAN said...

The guy is passioante to say the least, adn I bought a few things myself, but his pricing system defied logic. $1.00 for each year of the album's life. What? No one in the history of the world ever considered such a thing.

His bitterness will not sell the collection.

He might consider reopening the store and selling the inventory in pieces.

I know that he wants to sell it all at one time, but no one has room for 2 million records.

If he needs someone to sell if for him, I'll be happy to for 25%. But it'll have to be done my way. Everything will sell. It just might not be done according to his strictest wishes.

BRIAN said...
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Michael said...

Is there anyway I could read a complete list of his collection? It is mentioned on but I cannot view the list of this guys gigantic collection. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I may be 10 years too late but I would love to know some of the music he enjoyed and owned.