Buena Vista Pictures There’s no replacing the warmth of a good vinyl record. Now, I’m not a collector by any stretch of the imagination, but when I inherited my dad’s collection from his formative years, I found that nothing today replaces that absolute perfect sound that vinyl and acetate bring to a legendary song. Which is why, last year, there were 14.3 million vinyl records sold.Now, while that’s only a fraction of total music sales in 2018, it does speak to the fascination that we have with the tech, and how regular people will shell out some serious cash to own their favourites as a hard copy, especially reissues of classic albums.
Collectors, however, are a different breed and seek the original and rare copies of some amazing bodies of work. There’s close to $2 Million worth of rare vinyl out there, ready to be rediscovered and enjoyed.
Apple Music The Beatles (aka White Album
If you can find an original 1968 pressing of this album in mono, you’re laughing. It’s rumoured that the Fab Four got the first 4 pressings of the record, and Ringo’s copy (#A00000)1) fetched over $790,000 at auction. But that’s for the first ever, and was previously owned by a Beatle.Other original copies could go for $200,000+.
Sun Records My Happiness/That’s when Your Heartache Begins.
This one-of-a-kind acetate was recorded by an 18-year-old Presley at Sun Records back in 1953. It only cost him $4. “The King” left the record with his friend Ed Leek, who kept it until his death, 60 years later.His daughter then sold it to Jack White for the sum above. To his credit, White did reproduce the acetate for a limited-edition 2015 Record Store Day release.
A&M Records God Save the Queen/No Feeling
Shortly after recording this album, the band terrorized the A&M Records office, trashing their bathrooms and threatening their CEO. The label dropped them, but not before they’d already pressed 25,000 copies of the album.The label ordered their debut single destroyed, but a handful survived the purge and are now incredibly valuable. Thus far, only 10 have ever been discovered, but there might just be more out there.
Columbia Records The Freewheeling’ Bob Dylan
This is the album known for “Blowin in the Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice, it’s All Right,” and features a romantic Dylan walking the wintry streets of NYC. But if you were able to get your hands on a first copy, you’d find that there were 4 songs on there not meant for release.Before Columbia Records recalled those discs, a small number got out. If you have a mono copy, it’s worth about $15 G’s, while a first pressing stereo version (only 2 are known to exist), will net you twice that.
Verve The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Velvet Underground
This is a rare case where a flea-market find makes you rich. A record collector found this copy of the band’s debt album at a street sale in NYC’s Chelsea. He paid $0.75 for it.When he opened it, he didn’t find the usual sleeve inside, but hand-written labels and a plain brown sleeve. This was, in actuality, an original acetate pressing with early versions and mixes of the songs. There’s only one other known version of this disc out there.
He ended up selling it on eBay for the amount above.
Bonhams Street Fighting Man/No Expectations
The Rolling Stones
The original 1968 picture-sleeve version of the single features black and white photos from demonstration riots that took place earlier that year.Normally, the Stones wouldn’t care, but later that summer the Chicago Democratic National Convention saw more riots. Record Exec’s got cold feet and pulled the copies to have them destroyed. As many as 18 survived and are not worth some cash.
Sub Pop Bleach
While most Gen X collectors have their original wax copy of “Nevermind” from 1991 somewhere, it’s only got sentimental value for ya.Real collectors want the ’89 debut album, in it’s rarest form. There’s the third pressing on red-and-white marble that was limited to 500 copies and will run you $1,100, or the original 1,000 copy issue on white vinyl, that’s worth $2,500.
Warner Bros. Records Erotica
Madonna’s records don’t really generate a lot of interest from serious collectors, minus this U.K. pressed picture disc single, with an image of Madonna sucking Naomi Campbell’s big toe. Ranchy.Around the time this record was dropping, British royal Sara Ferguson (The Duchess of York aka Fergie), was involved in a toe-sucking scandal. Warner Bros. Records didn’t want to be seen as cashing in on the foot-fetish, so they withdrew the single.
Over 100 made it out into the world, and can net a few grand on eBay.
Black Patti Original Stack O’Lee Blues/Mama You Don’t Know How
Long Cleve Reed and Little Harvey Hull – Down Home Boys
There’s just something so sublime and perfect about old blues on vinyl. This 1927 classic is the white whale of collecting – there’s only one copy known in existence, and the guy who owns it has already turned down $70K for it. So you know it’s gonna go up from there.
Capital Records Yesterday and Today
The 1966 album known for bringing us “Yesterday” and “Day Tripper” is as controversial as they come. This was their 9th album, and as you can see, there are hunks of meat and decapitated baby dolls on the cover. According to Paul McCartney, this was a commentary on Vietnam War, but retailers weren’t having it.Capitol Records recalled the album the day after its release, but many copies escaped the recall. Nowadays, you can find copies that will run you between $12-$125K, depending on the condition and if it’s stereo or mono.
Wikipedia Caustic Window
In the early 90’s, Grammy Award winning EDM legend Aphex Twin abandoned an album he had in the works, with only 4 test pressings on vinyl. When a copy appeared on eBay in 2014, the founder of Minecraft bought a copy for $46K.So, if you’ve got one of the other 3, it might be time to cash in.
EMI Music Do I love you (Indeed I do)/Sweeter As the Days Go By
This is the most expensive soul record ever sold, and it’s all because of jealousy. Frank Wilson wrote a lot of the Motown hits we all know and love, but he only sang on this single album, released in the UK.A couple hundred copies were pressed, but Motown didn’t want their chief songwriter to became a star in his own right, so they ordered the records destroyed. Only two legit copies are known to exist, but there are rumours that there are 3 others out there.
Columbia Kind of Blue
While this isn’t the most expensive album out there, it’s still worth a lot. If you’ve got an original 1959 pressing of it, you’ve got money in your hands.But, I wouldn’t want to part with it. This album on vinyl is an eargasm.
Warner Bros. Records The Black Album (aka “The Funk Bible”)
Usually, it’s the record companies that take a record off the shelves and burn it. In this case, however, it was Prince. He reportedly had a bad trip on MDMA in 1987 and decided that his record was “evil.” He paid Warner Bros. Records to recall the entire 500,000-copy run.But at that point, there were already some promo copies in circulation, and the LP was bootlegged. Finally, he came to his senses and released the album in 1994 on CD.
The original vinyl, however, is a money-maker, with a Canadian pressing going for $27K, while a factory-sealed American copy fetched $43K.
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