The Archive, a film short directed by Sean Dunne, is “an examination of the world’s largest vinyl-record collection, the man who owns it, and the current state of the American record industry.” Paul Mawhinney is a lifetime vinyl seller and collector who needed to sell his record collection as he was later on in life and because of health problems. An inspirational story of a man who gave his love, life, and soul for music. His archive collection was valued at 50 million US and he was selling it for a mere 3 million and no one wanted it. Someone once said that the Smithsonian could have secured it for even less to preserve it as a testament for future generations…still no reply.
Selling the collection
One of the first attempts to sell the collection was in 1997. CD Now offered $28.5 million ($41.9 million today) for the collection plus a $100,000/year job ($146,911 today) to Mawhinney to administer the archive. The sale fell through three weeks later when CD Now went to bankruptcy court.
The Library of Congress was set to purchase Mawhinney’s collection for several million dollars, as recently as the fall of 2002. That agreement fell through because of budget cuts and difficulty in justifying the purchase using taxpayer dollars.
Mawhinney decided to sell the record archive again in 2008. The collection went on sale on eBay in February 2008. A winning bid of $3,002,150 ($3.29 million today) came from Ireland. The bid turned out to be a fraud a few days later. The collection went on sale again on eBay in March 2008 but did not end in a sale.
Susequent and Current plans for the collection
Plans for preservation of the archive were enacted by The Audio Preservation Fund, in 2013 with the intent to open a museum, online database, and shop under the name The Worlds Greatest Music Collection. Efforts to raise funds to purchase the collection failed, and the Audio Preservation Fund and Mawhinney parted ways when, once again, the prospector went out of business.  (dead link)
As of 2013, Mawhinney has sold various sections of the archive and various formats to other interested individuals. The remains of a once-great collection is now housed in a number of storage units which are in danger of being auctioned off due to the cost of maintenance by somebody on a fixed income with no retirement funds.
Mr Mawhinney, you will always be the Record Collector for all time…You kind sir are a true legend and we will speak your name with reverence for all time never to be forgotten.
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