Sheet music addicts, like I used to be (and still have tendencies towards), often have an insatiable need to forever grow their library. This is where junk shops, antique or whatever else you want to call them, can come in very handy to fulfil this need. After wandering in and out of many of these types of shops it can feel divine to spy an innocent-looking pile of thick sheet music (for me it’s classical piano music that I hunt for), simply begging to be grabbed, and even more fantabulous when the shopkeeper offers to give it to you for just a few pounds.
A few years ago when visiting Wales (which had a lot of these junk/antique shops in the area I stayed in) I would regularly try my luck with those shops when in towns, and while most of the sheet music is in the junk shop for a reason (the music is mostly scraps of rather average- quality pieces and songs), sometimes I strike gold, or at least find a decent vein of ore. If you’re having difficulty understanding my cryptic speak, I mean that often there is either a collection of old books of compositions such as Vivaldi Concertos, or if you’re lucky and your eyes light up to the point where they nearly explode, then it’s probably some big book of music like all three volumes of the Henle Urtext edition of the Beethoven Sonatas in perfect condition (I’ve seen that once, offered at a much lower price than Henle sells at normally) or an old edition of Mendelssohn’s ‘Lieder ohne Worte’ with a beautiful front cover.
The moral of the story, if there even is one?
You can sometimes find real treasures in these places, just you may have to bargain a bit as they might notice you’re especially interested and so potentially willing to pay higher. I’ve grabbed all the good’uns as well as snatched the not-quite as valuable ones – though they’re still a-plenty welcome to join my library, so ‘in the bag they go’. If you happen to be near junk shops, have a check inside, because you can sometimes find real beauties for a steal.