Collecting 45s can be a fascinating and mostly inexpensive hobby. Bring back memories of the past and enjoy playing these great little discs on your turntable and jiving along with the fabulous sounds of the past.
When collecting 45s (or any other vinyl records) be careful that the seller rates the condition of each disc. The seller should list examples of his rating criteria (e.g. mint-mint condition, NM-near mint, VG-very good etc), this way you will have an idea as to how well the disc will play.
Try to collect picture cover 45s as generally these will attract better interrest in the future, even though 45s in plain covers will be very collectable as well.
Generally the more obscure pressings from your favorite artists will be more collectable as these tend to be less available than more common releases. Having said that, still collect your favorite tunes as they are the ones you will most likely get the most fun listening to.
Remember that records can be cleaned quite successfully if your are careful. A track cleaner is available that looks similar to an old fashioned black-board eraser, and this can be used along with a weak solution of detergent and water sprayed lightly on the surface of the cleaner, then wiped around in the direction of the grooves of the record. You can finish by polishing the record with a very soft lintless cloth.
Records must be stored flat or supported in a vertical position, always being careful to avoid heat so that the record does not warp. If you see records at a garage sale or at a fair be careful to check not only the condition of the grooves (no scratches etc), the condition of the cover, but also that the record is not warped.
Always ensure that the turntable you play your records on has a needle that is in good condition, worn needles will wear your records excessively as well as poorly reproduce the sound. DO NOT be tempted to push the needle backwards in the grooves (like rap DJs do), unless you have a specialty needle designed for this you will dammage the record.