How much is old sheet music worth?

Anytime one is asked how much is this old “this, or that” is worth, the question really has to be narrowed down in order to provide an answer with any merit. A lot of people have old sheet music, so naturally I’m often asked, “How much is my old sheet music worth?”

Before giving specific values on examples, let’s look at some reasons for which pieces are collectible (thus valuable) and why. 

Collectible because: 

  • Pieces are in excellent condition
  • Have unusual artwork
  • Are by a desired publisher: E.T. Paul pieces are some of the most sought after pieces in the genre.
  • Association: When the artist or event on the cover is collected, so will the sheet music be collected. IE: Beatles and Elvis, world’s fair, circus etc.
  • Aesthetic beauty. Pieces with pretty women adorning the covers will always be popular.
  • Autographed pieces: Back in the day, sheet music was a favorite medium to have autographed. 
  • Classic themes such as Black Americana, Indians, Trains and Fire Engines will always find collectors. 

 

Despite it’s popularity, sheet music is often one of the most affordable collectible genres in the market. Often it’s contemporaries, postcards and bookmarks will out value sheets from the same era. 

Most pieces fall into the $3-$10 price range, but it’s not uncommon for some Beatles, Elvis and E.T. Paul and other rare sheets to bring $25 and up. (Looking at the cover of an E.T. Paul piece is to look at a piece of art. These Victorian era sheets have beautiful artwork )

Some Examples and prices:

(All examples are originals, not reprints)

 

pickaninny blues sheet music 

Black Americana / $17.50 + $3.50 buyer’s premium

 

 somewhere over the rainbow sheet music

 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz / $35 + $5.25 buyers premium

 

 

 mona lisa sheet musis

Mona Lisa /  $2 + .20 buyers premium.

  

 my foolish heart sheet music

My Foolish Heart / $3 + .30 buyers premium

sheet music batch

Vintage lot of sheet music / $20 + $3.60 buyers premium.

 

 Find more information on antique sheet music at iCollector.com