John Tefteller, of Grand Pass, Ore., has been buying and selling rare 45s, LPs, and 78 rpm phonograph records for 37 years now, and today owns the largest inventory of rock 'n roll, rhythm and blues records in the country, including a selection of over 100,000 45 rpms from the early '50s and '60s.
His own personal collection today contains some of the rarest records ever to be recorded. One which he purchased at auction on eBay in 2007 for $10,323, which turned out to be one-of-a-kind- blues 45 rpms recorded by Alabama blues artist D.A. Hunt in 1953, and produced by the legendary Sun Records in Memphis titled, "Greyhound Blues."
It was D.A. Hunt's first and only record, which sold very few copies when it was first released in 1953 by Sam Phillips on Sun Records, a Memphis record label most famous for recording the legendary Elvis Presley in the early 1950s. The record recorded by D.A. Hunt was not previously known to exist on 45 rpm and even the 78 rpm version today is one of the rarest and most valuable record ever to be recorded on Sun Records, Tefteller states.
Tefteller says that his 37-year search for rare records is not quite over yet. There are two more records out there he would like to add to his collection, recorded by blues artist Willie Brown on Paramount Records in the 1930s, and has offered a $25,000 reward to anyone who can come up with either record in playable condition. Tefteller states little is known about the blues recording artist Willie Brown today, particularly his later years, except that he was a great blues singer and an incredibile guitarist. Tefteller tells me, not even a photo has ever surfaced yet today of blues artist Willie Brown, who was born on Aug. 6, 1900, in Clarksdale, Miss., and who died on Dec. 30, 1952, in Tunica, Miss.
The only Willie Brown record found so far, says Tefteller, is a Paramount No. 13090 titled, "M&O Blues." Only three copies are known to exist today, one of which belongs to Tefteller himself.
Although there are 10 to 15 copies of this same recording out there issued in 1935 on Champion Records, a copy sold for $10,010 in January 2007.
Two of Willie Brown's three 78 rpm Paramount Records have never been found, Tefteller says today, and hopes that by placing a $25,000 bounty on them may change all that. The two titles being sought today are "Grandma Blues" B/w Sorry Blues on Paramount Records No. 13001 and Paramount No. 13099 titled, "Kicking in My Sleep" B/w Window Blues.
Readers, while searching for these valuable records, there's other records out there that Tefteller may be interested in purchasing. Write down the titles, including the artist's name, the label the record is on, including all numbers on the record, and e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call toll free at 1-800-955-1326.
Tell him Larry sent you. See you right back here next week, you hear?
Larry Koon is the author of several price guide books on antiques and collectibles. His column appears every Monday on Life.