James I have been listening to Classical for about a decade, and a very good source for vinyl is believe it or not Goodwill stores. I have bought 30-40 records at a time for 50 cents a piece. At least 3/4 of them are very playable, and I do screen them for defects, before I buy them. Most people who collected classical recordings on vinyl took rather good care of their collection, so if the in-laws didn't use them for a frisbee, or allowed the grand-kids to play with them before sending them off to the Goodwill, the records are still usually in good shape.
One source of German recordings that never fails of the record is still in good shape is a company called Deutsche Grammophon. That name will be in a yellow square, sometimes about the top quarter of the album cover, sometimes smaller. they always took pains to do a very good recording. My latest find from them is Igor Strawinsky, Der Feuervogel, (The Firebird) London Symphony Orchestra. I have several different copies of The Firebird on vinyl, it is one of my daughters favorites, and this is the best recording so far.
BTW most people have heard that piece they just do not call it that.
It is the soundtrack Walt Disney used for "Fantasia" his 1940 animated musical film staring Mickey Mouse movie, which is why my daughter likes the recording so much.
that recording is one for the headphones late at night. right now it's Ozzy though, still love my rock and roll.
I'm two steps ahead of your suggestion, been shopping thrift stores since the 80's. However, I used to look more for music gear and clothes. Now that gear is scarce, I had to expand my search-to-benefit gas-cost ratio, so to say. One of the 2 records I got yesterday was Deutsche Grammophone Symphony No.3 "Organ" in near mint. Today I scored another Deutshe NM called Rapsodie Espagnole. You are right about their sound quality. The Firebird did have a part that really sounded like Fantasia to me but it was a little different if I remember. The nice thing about that Firebird album I got is it's a very early digital recording and inside the cover they give an explanation how digital works that would make sense to almost anybody. Today I purchased 6 records, 27 cd's, a pair of headphones I need to look up and a pair of Senheiser HDR 110 (which look almost unused, though I don't know if they work yet) at a few different thrift stores and one record shop: Total cost $80- One of the cd's was $10 but I had never heard it: David Gilmore "On an Island." I got a few 24 bit recordings and a few 20 but they're mostly classical. I hope I'm done buying classical now. I have also been looking for some master recordings, because I guess they're closest to the original, which is best and rarest I guess. It's probably a stupid thought, but after reading about how digital recordings worked in that album cover, I wondered about all those old Beatles recordings and how they must have been cut up and spliced so much that we may have never heard a master recording of theirs. But with classical recordings in digital you're surely hearing, beginning to end, the way it was recorded, and without the supposed white noise that using tape gives off. I started trying to hear for this so called white noise in analog recordings today, but it's only a maybe I can hear it at this point. So, as you can see I'd buy almost anything. But talked to a guy at one of the thrift stores today who was looking through VHS who said he has over 2500 records and even more VHS. Don't want to be that guy