The vinyl record collectors' world is a world like no other, in between the limitless passion of some for records, sleeves, and music - oh yeah, that too! - and finance. Yes, the price of rare vinyl records can be regarded as subject to market laws. The age, the rarity, the condition and the demand of the record are evaluated comparatively to the offer before rating its market price. Frantic collectors are even seeking for the tiniest pressing or printing defect, or of any story that cand make the record unique. Prices can be jaw-dropping! The record of the most expensive vinyl album ever sold is currently held by no other than Hip-Hop crew Wu-Tang-Clan. They sold a copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for 2 million dollars! However, Wu-Tang-Clan somewhat cheated to attain this phenomenal number: only one copy was ever made, and the sale contract forbade the buyer to make its content public for 100 years after the purchase. Except this singular case, the most expensive record ever sold was the first copy ever made of the Beatle's White Album. The copy belonged to the infamous Ringo Starr, and found a buyer for an astonishing $790,000. In this article, we will cover more common records, but some that you might have in your possession without suspecting they are worth a kidney. Here is our selection, sorted by price in an ascending order.
10/ David Bowie - Diamond Dogs (1974) | $3,800
The original version of Diamond Dogs was quickly removed from store shelves after its release. The male parts of dog-Bowie on the back of the sleeve! In spite of the label's decision to make up for it, some store employees kept an original copy - the image of which shall not be display here, and insistingly asking us to do so won't make any difference!
9/ The Beatles - Please Please Me (1963) | $4,500
The Beatle's very first album came out 22nd March 1963 in the UK. There were many editions of it in the following years, accordingly to its success, but the first one is worth a lot. It can be distinguished from other presses by the golden letters on a black background of its sticker (the round piece of paper in the middle of the record). The mono version can be bought for a few hundred pounds, but a near mint copy of the stereo version can reach up to $4,500!
8/ Bruce Springsteen - Spirit in the Night (1973) | $5,000 (estimate)
This single from The Boss is... well, just extremely rare. It was estimated at $5,000 by collector John Marshallof, from MoneyMusic.com.
7/ Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen / No Feelings (1977) | $9,300
6/ Hank Mobley - Blue Note 1568 (1957) | $10,600
Only 300 to 1,000 copies of this record remain today. It was issued for the first time in 1957. A small detail makes this vinyl rarer thant others from Blue Note Records. During the first pressing, the factory ran out of stickers and had to make others quickly, which led to a mistake. On some of the records, Blue Note's adress is written as "47 West 63rd New York 23" instead of "47 West 63rd NYC". A record bearing the right sticker was sold $10,600 on eBay in 2015. The defected version should be worth even more!
5/ The Beatles - The White Album (1968) | more than $13,000
Watch out for the serial number of this album. If yours starts with "A00000" - this correspond to the first 100 copies pressed -, it can be worth a lot... Up until more than $13,000!
4/ The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man / No Expectation (1968) | $20,000
This 1968 7" with a cover showing police brutality that occured during Chicago riots the very same year it was release, saw its pressing aborted. The label thought the picture was too controversial and decided to change it. Less than 20 copies have reached us, explaining its ridiculous price!
3/ Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) (Demo, 1965) | $40,000
Released in 1965 on Soul Records, subdivision of the infamous Motown, this single is the sole Frank Wilson has produces for Motown Records. It is also a very sought-after record. Only 250 demos were issued on 7" records. However, Wilson decided shortly after that he'd focus on musical production rather than singing, and Motwown's founder Berry Gordy finally did not like vocals on the track. The demos were destroyed. It is believed that only 5 copies remain today, and rumor has it that Berry Gordy owns one of them.
2/ Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963) | $40,000
Right before its release, Dylan and its record label decided to replace four songs of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan by more recent versions of them. By mistake - by chance -, a factory worker used the four original recordings and pressed a certain quantity of copies. We still don't know how many they are today, but we count less that 40 known copies with the error. You can get your hands on one of them in a decent condition for about $40,000.
1/ The Beatles - Yesterday and Today (1966) | $46,500
Yes, there is a story on this hideous cover, and you're about to hear it. The fab four were quite unhappy about how their label managed the American versions of their albums. The result, dodgy and creepy, is a marvellous reminder of the caustic humour of the band. Capitol Records quickly called back the 750,000 copies from the stores' shelves to overlay them with a more decent picture. Fans heard about this and tried to peel off the covering with heat gun. A copy with the covering still glued on it can still be worth a lot. The price then greatly depends on the quality of the peeling. If perfectly performed, it can reach upwards of $46,500. Even a roughly peeld copy can reach $130.