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Looking for budget art? Try a few album covers

Thrift Trader in North Park. Anthony Tarantino

Before the compact disc, vinyl was king. And almost as important as the music itself, album covers helped define a genre of music and sometimes even the artist.

Today, LP’s are making a comeback with retailers again including the art-laden albums on their shelves. But there’s plenty of the “old stuff” out there. These heavily worn pieces of art are being reclaimed from parents’ garages and gracing the walls of many a living room, bedroom or even hallway.

On a budget

If by some reason you don’t have access to your parents’ storage space, try stopping into Thrift Trader in North Park. The trendy, retro store has thousands of albums to choose from. From the classic to the obscure there’s sure to be an album cover that will meet your standard.

Choices, choices, choices

Be forewarned, the selection at Thrift Trader is staggering. I wanted to go classic so I employed the help of Thrift Trader’s Rick Ratz. My criteria: help me find four classic album covers. At $2 each, the final cost would be well within my budget. Ratz, immediately went to a box of album covers only. No vinyl, just the cover. And at $1 each, the price is hard to beat.


Address: 2947 El Cajon Blvd., North Park

Phone: (619) 261-1744


Quick picks

When it was all said and done, Ratz pulled out three classics: The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers,” complete with an actual zipper. Designed by Andy Warhol the album was named the No. 1 Greatest Album Cover by VH1 in 2003; The Doors’ “13,” a compilation album featuring lead-singer Jim Morrison; and a 12-inch single of Prince and the Revolutions’ “Let’s Go Crazy.” The fourth was harder to come by, but a search in the $2 stacks supplied Jefferson Airplane’s “Crown of Creation” - a worn ring is visible on the cover revealing the actual record. Total for all four: $5, plus tax.

On display

A cluster of albums makes a great statement, whether they are framed or not. But how many should you buy? Well, that all depends on your space and budget. Try the cover only box first. At $1 each album, you can make quite a splash for only the price of a craft cocktail from your favorite nightclub.

Tarantino can be reached at (619) 293-1846 or

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Source: DiscoverSD