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About Stephen M. H. Braitman, ASA

Stephen M. H. Braitman has been involved with records and music since the late ’60s. He started actively dealing in music in ’70s, buying and selling records, posters, and related items through swap meets, conventions, private sales, and on-line auctions.
His widely acknowledged expertise in the marketplace for music and memorabilia makes his appraisal service an important component of estate planning, court and arbitration expert testimony, and insurance coverage and claims.
Notable assignments have included:

  • Michael Jackson property at the Neverland Ranch
  • Elton John personal record collection
  • Third Man Records archive, Nashville
  • Belfer Audio Archive of Syracuse University, Syracuse

Donations to:

  • Grammy Museum, Los Angeles
  • Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center at the University of Las Vegas
  • Archive of Contemporary Music, New York
  • Music Department of Florida International University, Miami
  • Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis
  • Music Department of Gonzaga University, Spokane
  • Arthur Friedheim Library of the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
  • Center for New Music & Audio Technologies, Berkeley

Stephen is an Accredited Senior Appraiser as a member of the American Society of Appraisers, active in the Northern California chapter. He is also a member of the Association of Recorded Sound Collections and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives.

Completed training:

  • September 2004 — ASA Principles of Appraisal Practice and Code of Ethics
  • March 2005 — USPAP for Personal Property Appraisers
  • March 2005 — Introduction to Personal Property Valuation
  • April 2006 — Personal Property Valuation Methodology – Research and Analysis
  • September 2006 — Personal Property Valuation Methodology – Report Writing
  • November 2006 — Personal Property Valuation – The Legal and Commercial Environment
  • February 2009 — Appraisal Report Writing Seminar
  • September 2010 — Estate Tax and Charitable Contributions
  • May 2012 — USPAP for Personal Property Appraisers [reaccreditation]
  • February 2014 — Appraisal Report Preparation: Meeting New USPAP Requirements
  • August 2014 — Advancement approved to Accredited Senior Appraiser status

The Beginning

Although there was music throughout his life, it wasn’t until he got his first turntable in 1968 that he purchased his first albums: The Beatles’ White Album, Tim Buckley’s Goodbye and Hello, and Beacon From Mars by Kaleidoscope.
Stephen started writing about music as a young teenager in Los Angeles and has since reviewed and interviewed many recording artists, including Joni Mitchell, Electric Light Orchestra, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Jean-Luc Ponty, Blood Sweat & Tears, Richard Pryor, The Who, Melanie, Ravi Shankar, Pere Ubu, B.B. King, Judy Collins, Dave Van Ronk, Pentangle, The Band, Giant Sand, Richie Havens and Tim Buckley.
Since his university days he has been publisher and editor of numerous publications based in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Musician’s News, City Arts Monthly, Key This Week San Francisco, Rolling Your Own, Entertainment News and SF Live.
Stephen was a Contributing Writer for Alternative Press for ten years, writing features and reviews on bands and musicians ranging from Apples in Stereo to Zuzu’s Petals. He has contributed on a free-lance basis to many other publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Marin Independent Journal, New Times, Antique Trader, Sunset, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, San Francisco Focus and Electronic Musician, among others.

His record company, Amorous Records, released records and promoted gigs throughout California for the new wave bands Silhouette, House of Pants and Times Beach.


In addition to his appraisal assignments, Stephen continues to be a major collector of records and music paraphernalia, owning tens of thousands of LPs, CDs, 45s, photographs, magazines, and other memorabilia. His collection has been used as an archival resource for many organizations, including Rhino Records, Sundazed, Ace (U.K.), and MCA Records.

He was a major contributor of posters and flyers for the publication of the popular book, The Art of Rock (Abbeville Press). Photographs from his archive are featured in the noted series of books by Paul Williams about Bob Dylan’s performing career.

He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Goldmine record price guides from Krause Publications, as well as consultant to Jerry Osborne’s Rockin’ Records guides.
He continues active free-lancing, and has written a monthly column on music and memorabilia for Goldmine magazine.

New Media Professional

Stephen M.H. Braitman has been a new media professional since 1995. He served as Director of Web Publishing for the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Online Editorial Director for ChemConnect. He is Music Analyst for the digital music software company Gracenote.