Oldies Unlimited

Oldies Unlimited Catalogue No 77

I was gonna write something here about a record label called Old Gold. But i'll save that for another day because whilst i was looking through my collection to research more i found this monthly catalogue from approx 1987/88 and decided to change it to Oldies Unlimited.

Based in Telford this company bought up old stock of ex chart hits from record labels and shops, then sold them on to anyone willing to buy. They also had franchised dealers up and down the country and flogged via mail order.
This wasn't a second hand service. These were unplayed vinyl oldies on the cheap.
The sort of thing that Woolworth's stuck in a dump bin the minute it dropped to No 41 in the "Hit Parade" these people saved and sold as "Ex Chart oldies" at a later date.
As a collector myself i found them a god send, especially for those really weird forgettable tracks that no one remembered.

This catalogue also shows that you could buy Albums, cassettes and 12" singles. But i had forgotten that they also sold Plastic and card sleeve covers, Adaptors for the missing center of 7inchers and T shirts. (i have to say i never bought one of those and i never knew anyone who did either).
But best of all were the bargain packs. You had no idea what was in these packs but you got them cheap.
"5 different ex-chart 12" singles for £4.00" it says. Followed by "None of the offers give you any choice within the package"

I wonder if anyone would fall for that one on I-tunes nowadays ?.

The shop i worked in had a special Oldies unlimited stand at one time. A guy came and stocked it up with a random selection of singles (of their choice), shrink wrapped and priced. 99p i think ?. It was all free on 'sale or return'.
Then they would come back a week or two later and count up how many were gone (sold), charge you for the missing stock and load up a set of new ones.
The down side to this was that the real collectors (and staff working in the shop) drained the stand of all the best stuff in the first two days, leaving all the crap stuff behind for the rest of the week. And any stock that got stolen over that week we ended up paying for.

But finding this catalogue also jolted a few other memories that had completely escaped me.
They may seem small and irrelevant but that's what nostalgia can be sometimes.

1 Singles whose numbers are preceded by P generally, though NOT ALWAYS, come in a picture cover.
2 Singles whose numbers are preceded by (p) MAY come in picture sleeve
3 The catalogue itself is printed on the equivalent of cheap toilet paper, so thin you could tear a page turning it over
4 Pop Singles 40p each 10 for £ 3.50 or 20 for £ 6.00
5 AJ Lewis (Director)
6 If Paying by Transcash Tick Here
7 Adaptors 1p each
8 Stiff Plastic Record Sleeves 7" 10p each
9 Stiff white Card Sleeves 7" 5p each
10 "In the past five issues we have included an oldies quiz. Unfortunately while this has been of interest to some of our customers, we have not found it the unqualified success we thought it would be. So last months was the last one."(LOL)

Name your local record shop


Lee said...

Reminds me of a place that was open briefly in Grays town centre in the early eighties called Record Shack, they had racks of singles all shrink wrapped in tens for a pound a pack, you could look at the front and back one but the other eight were a mystery.
They rarely included any chart songs but I remember finding some excellent songs in amongst the many packs I bought.

John said...

A mate of mine got me onto Oldies, he regularly bought singles from them at a time when I bought albums, but I always found the catalogue a great item to use as a 'wish list'. A shop in Huddersfield (Big Tree) also stocked Oldies material, but didn't advertise it. I started buying singles, going in with the catalogue and they would be able to find the singles by the codes. I still have the catalogues (memories!), and some of their later ones from the early '90's, which had moved on to full colour glossy covers! I notice nowadays Vinyl Tap (only a few doors away from Big Tree's old store) has stocks with the old Oldies Unlimited company bags on, so I assume the company went bust...

rockabilly_main_man said...

Yeah, I also had a fetish for the catalogue, and of all the bulk lots I bought in the 1970s, only about five Reggae 45s survive from the Ashanti label; I used their bulk lots as a survival source on two occasions back here in Australia; once as a trash and treasure excitement creator,in my stall at Camberwell Market and then a lot of them went in about 1986 when a big debt was staring me in the face, to the local Vinyl store. Yeah I owe Oldies Unlimited a big one, and now I still have that vinyl fetish; and everyday is filled with more discoveries and deals done. Long live the 45, the EP and the LP; as, 'those who rule the vinyl, rule the world.' Trevor McKenna, Australia.

Lisa said...

Hi There, My name is Lisa and I used to work at Oldies, starting as a Saturday Girl aged only 13 and eventually working there full time for a while after leaving school. I wanted to thank you for putting the picture of the catalogue on the web because I DESIGNED IT!!! I was aged about 17 at the time. The boss thought the cover needed a revamp (It had a picture of a duke box on the front for years previously) and I was known for being "arty" so was given the task. It is very strange to see it after all these years. P.S. I'm still "arty"... am now a potter in Cornwall.

Álvaro said...

I'm from Montevideo and I bought through years at Oldies unlimited!! I met Anthony Lewis once he visited South America and was here in Uruguay I think it was near 1990. And I remember you Lisa!!! You sent my packages with a post it "regards Lisa"

John Gallon said...

I have catalogue No. 102 (cant find a date) in front of me as I type. There cant be many that survived as it was stated the paper was as thin as toilet paper.

Is this company still in existence in any form, online etc?

Steve said...

I used to live about a half mile from them and can remember buying a few of the £10 packs of 100 soul records. There was always a good chance of finding a dozen or so Northern Soul gems in each pack.

Happy days.

martin said...

I remember buying a packet or two from Oldies. Lots of obscurities I didn't recognise at the time which were soon disposed of. I wonder what I chucked? I'd love to have a bundle of packets to crack open now, it would be like opening a time capsule...

Álvaro said...

Hi Lisa.
I'm Álvaro Ávila from Montevideo.
Do you know about Anthony? I met him in 1991 when he visited Uruguay
I met him


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