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Massive music collection may set eBay record

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She says a highlight of Mawhinney's collection would be an unreleased, untitled Rolling Stones album of early singles. Originally recorded in mono, which is very desirable for collectors, Ms. Sliwicki says she's seen equally rare LPs sell for $5,000 to $10,000. "In terms of reflecting a lot of what's going on in musical culture, this collection does that. In terms of value, value is a tricky thing." But, she adds, "he's not just a single high value collector, he's got a real history of music."

Needed: one big basement

If you're thinking of getting in on the action, be warned: You're going to need a bigger garage. Or attic. Or aircraft hangar.

How big is Mawhinney's collection? Next time you're in Boston, drop by the Hard Rock Café, a familiar pop music tourist trap covering 16,000 square feet. That's the size of Mawhinney's combination record shop and archive located in a nondescript suburban Pittsburgh strip mall.

"The first time I saw it, my jaw dropped," says J. Paul Henderson, a former Top 40 and R&B deejay now representing Mawhinney in the auction and sale. Forty years ago, Mr. Henderson was an aspiring musician who cut one record. Mawhinney owns it. "I about passed out."

The 6 million unique pieces of music in the collection would take 57 years to listen to from beginning to end, Mawhinney says. (And you thought Bruce Springsteen could play forever.)

Mawhinney wants a buyer who will keep the archive intact; (he also has many duplicates that the buyer could keep or sell to recoup costs). He nearly sold the entire collection for $28 million a decade ago, before the buyer declared bankruptcy.

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