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Record Collector Extraordinaire - Who is Zero Freitas?

Zero Freitas standing in a huge warehouse full of his records

Tom |

There are many people across the globe who are able to boast incredibly extensive and valuable record collections, with some even dedicating multiple rooms in their own homes to the storage of their respective vinyl assortments. Zero Freitas takes record collecting to a whole new level.

José Roberto Alves Freitas (known affectionately as ‘Zero Freitas’) is a Brazilian-born businessman whose affection for record collecting began during his early childhood years. He was first exposed to the music scene when his father purchased a home stereo that was bundled with two hundred albums. 

By the time he became enthused with this particular collection, he had realised that his mother also owned her own of around five hundred records. Zero Freitas would continue to be fascinated by the physical music medium throughout his adolescent years, and into his adult life.

Zero Freitas holding a record from his collection
Image by ​​Jonathan Watts - The Guardian

The fact that Freitas had moved to São Paulo to inherit the family transport business did not deter him from consistently adding to his collection, with it growing to around thirty thousand records by the time he turned thirty in 1985. The impressive part was he was never utilising anything other than basic advertising to expand the collection – he was noted for often putting discreet advertisements in local newspapers and message boards. 

The collection kept growing, with Freitas buying anything and everything he could possibly find. He even purchased two hundred thousand records from a company named ‘Colony Records’ after they were forced to close their Times Square-based store in 2012.

Colony Records in New York City
Image from ST33 Blog​​

His biggest haul, however, was from a man named Paul Mawhinney. Mawhinney was an avid (and extreme) collector just like Freitas, however, had been looking to offload his assortment of records for many years before he actually did. At the point of selling, Mawhinney had amassed a collection of over three million records - a number which when added to Freitas’ expanse, made him the owner of the world’s largest-ever record collection.

Below: Watch a tour of Zero Freitas' collection.

Paul Mawhinney was believed to have had the world’s largest collection of records up until the point of selling to Freitas, however shifting the records and losing that particular title didn’t mean much to him personally. “I don’t know a thing about him (Freitas) - nothing, I just know all the records were shipped to Brazil”, Mawhinney told the New York Times in 2014. 

It turns out that Freitas was conducting deals like this more often than anyone would think - maybe not always on the same scale as the Mawhinney deal, but in terms of doing business, it was clear he had a modus operandi: contact the seller, offer the money, send in the trucks. It didn’t matter where the seller was located, it didn’t matter what sort of records they were selling - Freitas would buy it all.

“I don’t know a thing about him - nothing, I just know all the records were shipped to Brazil.”

- Paul Mawhinney on Zero Freitas

More recently, Freitas has devoted his time to building the ultimate record warehouse, where he plans to open up his collection to the public. He has stated that he wants the world’s largest record collection to be stored in this new warehouse, named ‘Emporium Musical’.

Freitas’ collection today stands at over six million records.

Did you know?

As well as storing, cataloguing, and purchasing records, Freitas also runs his own side business that deals in providing AV systems to local concerts, orchestras, and other public events in Brazil.

Zero Freitas standing in a warehouse full of records
Image from The Vinyl Factory​​


I have approx. 10,000 45’s in My collection including over 400 by Elvis Presley (Incl. some Very Rare ones). Have over 90% of Top 100 Billboard Charted Records from 1955-1970! Most are in M- or VG++ Cond. I am asking $120,000 for entire Collection. Interested Jose? Email me if so. Thanks! Richard

Richard Ochoa,

Impressive… but how can he stand on these records ?! What if there was some super rarity he was standing on ?

King Mentor 218,

The Colony was once the most famous record store in NYC. It was especially famous for sheet music and was where all the grjeat show biz musicians got theirs My aunt worked there and often got me records and tickets to the Alan Freed early Rock shoes.


I specialize in vinyl releases Africa & Asia only since the 80’s: All my 45.000 items were pers. selected and collected during my 45 + trips around the Planet. I have handled millions of records, so in the end of the day, I know what is common & what is rare!


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