Hidden gems and buried treasures at the Moncton Record Expo

Vinyl lovers packed a community centre in Riverview, N.B., Saturday in search of a hidden gem or the missing piece to their collection at the Moncton Record Expo.

Record buying has become a popular hobby over the past few years, despite the fact many of the golden oldies found in the bins at the expo can easily be downloaded for free.

Matt O'Blenis, one of the many vendors on hand from around the Maritimes, has close to 14,000 records of his own.

“The appeal for records is — you're going to get the best possible sound quality. You get the cool package, you can read the liner notes and look at the pictures. People love that. There's also a nostalgia factor for a lot of older people," said O'Blenis.

Expo organizer Martin Leblanc said he had to open 30 minutes early Saturday morning because there were close to 50 people outside the building waiting to get in. He had to cancel the last sale due to the pandemic and was happy to see buyers come out in droves.

"People actually feel comfortable now. I've seen a few people wearing masks and we have hand sanitizer. It doesn't seem like anyone is scared," said Leblanc.

Angele Vautour said she got back into the hobby during the pandemic.

"We had records from way back and dusted them off and took them out of the closet and then we got into it again. With COVID, there's not much to do, so you entertain yourself with records. We have vinyl nights," said Vautour.

But collecting nostalgia can come with a cost. Some records can be as much as $50 to $100 or even more depending on the age, condition and how rare they are.

Proof what's old is often new again, as collectors continue to hunt down those hidden gems or missing pieces.

The next Moncton Record Expo is scheduled for August.

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