The Library of Congress is America's crown jewel of printed material. It is one of our country's greatest assets. Now the opportunity exists for our country to acquire a recorded library of similar magnitude.
69 year old Paul Mawhinney has amassed one of the greatest, if not the greatest, collection of recorded music. His collection includes 3 million record albums and 300,000 CD's many of which are rare and out-of-print and it includes all varieties of American music from classical to hip-hop.
-An unreleased, untitled Rolling Stones album of early singles. Originally recorded in mono, the songs were remastered in stereo for FM radio stations in the early 1970s.
-A rare original copy of Phil Spector's album "A Christmas Gift for You" that features Darlene Love, The Crystals and The Ronettes.
-15 copies of the first edition of "Elvis' Christmas Album." Mawhinney says the original album, released in 1957, has a red gatefold cover and features Presley singing "Santa Claus Is Back in Town," "Blue Christmas" and 10 other seasonal songs.
The collection has been appraised at upwards of $50 million. Mawhinney has received one offer to date that fell through and that was for $28.5 million. He has now listed the collection on Ebay with a starting bid of $3 million.
Mawhinney would prefer that the collection go to a major library or museum. He has attempted to contact local and national politicians about his dilemma, but he has not received any replies.
"I can't seem to get any interest from the country in preserving this for history," he says. "I'm very concerned about that."
For less than what we are spending in one day in Iraq we can have this treasure trove of American music at our fingertips.
Granted the Smithsonian Institution has significant holdings in music but this collection is unparalleled and deserves to be part of our country's commons.
As great a collection of music it is also an outstanding collection of graphic design. Just imagine what the LOC can do with it. The amazing success of their recent partnership with Flickr adds another value dimension and one not to be missed.
Article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Details of the collection
Thanks to Pete Hilgendorf for the lead