MODESTO — They took up space along a wall at Richland Faith Assembly of God Church, 1,400 long-play records that played out their usefulness long ago.
They represented remnants of KTRB, a radio station that took to the airwaves in Modesto in 1933 and took to the road, to San Francisco, seven decades later.
There's not much of a market these days for vinyls, unless they are very rare or classics from top-of-the-line artists and in excellent condition, like those Ramona Saben sells at Salty's Record Attic on Ninth Street.
Nor will you need to camp out in front of your favorite electronic superstore to get the latest record player. From Edison's first hard-cylinder phonograph to the RCA Victrola to the diamond-needle stereo models, turntables eventually were overtaken in sound quality by other recording contraptions and for the most part rendered obsolete.
The record collection represented a chunk of Modesto history gone by the wayside. Local radio buffs recall KTRB's glory days. Bill Bates opened the station in 1933, and it dominated the valley's airwaves well into the 1960s, launching The Maddox Brothers and Rose in 1937, propelling 11-year-old Rose Maddox into country music fame.
The late Chester Smith began his music career on the station before becoming a media entrepreneur.
The Pappas family, which bought the station from Bates' estate in 1972, decided in 2002 to move it to San Francisco. It is now a Spanish- language station with programming that includes San Francisco Giants baseball games.
Herb Henry, pastor of Richland Faith, is patriarch of the Herb Henry Family the "First Family of Gospel Music." He also is a member of the Modesto Radio Museum, which enabled him to meet a member of the Pappas family. When the station on Norwegian Avenue was dismantled six years ago, Henry offered to store the vinyl collection at his church. After several years, the owners told Henry to sell it and use the proceeds to benefit Richland Ministries.
So Henry placed an ad in The Bee's classifieds, offering the entire lot for $495 or best offer.
While there might have been a sleeper in there, it didn't include any collectible gems such as never-opened, autographed copies of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Double Fantasy" album ($525,000), "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" ($35,000) or The Hornets' "I Can't Believe" platter ($25,000).
The KTRB records their protective cardboard jackets in particular were well- worn, Henry said.
"Really, it wasn't that great of a collection," he said. "Most were from the 1980s '70s and '80s. KTRB had great variety a little bit of everything. But most of them, honestly, I didn't recognize. I had only two or three calls over 10 days."
The call that mattered came Saturday, and a collector came to Ceres to inspect the collection.
Then he did what collectors are known to do: He bought the entire set, meeting Henry's asking price. Hence, the buyer Henry knows only that his first name was Steve picked up 1,400 records for 35 cents apiece, or slightly more than a penny per RPM.
(Note to those who were born into the era of CDs, MP3 players, iPods, Pandora, Spotify and all those other high-quality sound innovations, and who are probably reading this online: 33 RPM, or revolutions per minute, is roughly the speed of an LP on a turntable.)
Martha Vallejo of Salty's, in fact, suggests that nonvintage vinyls should start at $1 apiece. "Then work down a quarter at a time," she said. "Never go below a quarter."
Perhaps Henry could have gotten more, but he's glad to have them out of the way.
"They sat there long enough," he said.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.
Henry, also a gospel music concert promoter, is host of a gospel show each Sunday at 2 p.m. on KCBC-AM 770 and online at www.770kcbc.com.