The Most Valuable Vinyl Records Today
We are in an age where everything has gone digital where we stream constantly and gone are the days of CDs, records and tapes. However, vinyl records have seen a comeback in recent years with people seeing them as cool, alternative and vintage object.
Despite these records costing next to nothing back in the day, today, they are racking up thousands of dollars in value, so you might want to go through your storage and figure out how much your collection might be worth.
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin
Rock band Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut featured a mix of original songs as well as blues and re-recordings. The record was met with mixed reviews by critics and it was basically panned by Rolling Stone.
However, in 2003, Rolling Stone went back on their word after slating the album and rated it as the 29th greatest album of all time. Today, the turquoise-lettered version could be worth around $1,000 if it is kept in good condition.
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
The 1959 album by Miles Davis was considered one of the coolest albums of the 50s, going into the 60s. He revolutionized the jazz genre throughout his career, producing hit after hit with a unique and soulful sound.
As one of the most legendary trumpeters, Davis collaborated with saxophonists John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. An original record can bring in up to $1,000.
David Bowie, The Prettiest Star
David Bowie’s record features one of the most iconic records in rock and roll history. It was said the late rockstar performed the song over the phone while he was proposing to Angela Barnett.
Marc Bolan ended up playing guitar on the record but it was said that Bolan’s wife told Bowie that her husband was too good to be playing the guitar on his record and should be doing his own thing. The relationship soured after that and the record is now worth $2,000.
The Quarrymen, That’ll Be The Day
Prior to becoming The Beatles, the four men, minus Ringo were called Quarreymen. In 1981 their record That’ll Be The Day saw plenty of success and was a catalyst in catapulting the band into mass stardom.
It is said that Paul McCartney only had 50 copies printed for his family and friends and the original acetate might be one of the most expensive records of all time. If you own one of the few reprints, it is worth around $3,500.
David Bowie, Diamond Dogs
Bowie’s 1974 record might be worth a lot, but it’s partially due to the fact Guy Peellaert the album cover artist for Diamond Dogs became iconic and pretty much priceless.
RCA records didn’t want to release this record as it was a provocative image of half of David Bowie’s body, so ended up cutting half the image before it was released. There are only a few originals of this but one copy sold for a whopping $3,500 on eBay.
Elvis Presley, That’s All Right
This album by “the King” was recorded during another studio session for a completely different song. Elvis was taking a break from recording when he started playing Arthur Crudup’s song “That’s All Right, Mama”.
The unexpected moment led producer Sam Phillips to press record in the studio and it produced an incredible album. Moreover, fans consider Elvis’ record the first true rock n roll record. A mint condition of it is worth around $4,000.
It might be surprising to know that The Beatles recorded this album in a big rush. When the deadline was looming, only four songs were recorded and they had to scramble to record seven songs in a matter of hours.
In nine hours and 45 minutes they recorded songs including Twist and Shout where John Lennon had a bad cold on the day which explained his raspy voice. The rare copies of the album are worth around $4,200.
Misfits, Legacy of Brutality
Of this 1985 compilation album, there were only 16 copies and the album was produced, overdubbed, and pressed by Misfits’ singer Glen Danzig after he decided to quit the band.
In order to avoid paying royalties to his old band mates, he overdubbed the instrumental parts that the rest of the band recorded when they were still together. It resulted in quite an intense legal battle and the records today are worth as much as $5,000 today.
Brute Force, King of Fuh
Due to some colorful language used in the lyrics, this 1969 album was almost never released. When Capitol Records and EMI didn’t want anything to do with it, The Beatles decided to put it out on their own record label.
However, it wasn’t until 2010 that this record was given a proper release, nearly half a century after it was recorded. From the original 1,000 copies, they can each sell for around $5,000.
Bruce Springsteen, Spirit in the Night
The 1973 record of Springsteen’s first single is very hard to come across. The promotional copies alone will sell for hundreds of dollars while the originals can collect up to $5,000. Despite the single selling for so much, it wasn’t well received by critics and it didn’t sell well at first.
Springsteen didn’t actually see commercial success until his third album, Born To Run. Nonetheless, Springsteen is still one of the best rockers of all time.
Max Steiner, The Caine Mutiny
Quite the controversial album, the record was cancelled when writer of novel which turned into the film, Herman Wouk, threatened to ban the studio from ever using his work if they released this album.
Due to the intense nature of the situation, Columbia eventually agreed to scrap all copies of the album and destroy any that they could find. Only a dozen are rumored to have survived and one copy sold for $6,700 in 2007.
U2, Pride (In the name of love)
The Australian edition on translucent vinyl is extremely rare and said to have only around 50 copies, but only a handful have surfaced throughout the years since it was released since 1984.
Despite the overall success, Bono said he was unsatisfied with how the song turned out and it wasn’t one of his favorites. Bono felt he could have come up with better lyrics for the politically charged song. The original record will get you $9,000.
Hank Mobley, Blue Note
While there were between 300 and 1,000 copies of this record printed in 1957, there is one particular version that has immense amounts of value. This is due to a variation in printing which makes one different to all of the others.
When printing the record, Blue Note reportedly ran out of labels, some had the address listed as “47 West 63rd NYC,” while others said “47 West 63rd New York 23”. The one with the standard label ended up selling for $11,162 on eBay.
The White Stripes, Lafayette Blues
Not only were there just 15 copies of this record pressed in 1998, but each cover was hand-painted by Dave Buick, the founder of Italy records. The copies were specifically made for a Detroit release show at a time that the band were on the up and about to reach stardom.
They were sold for just $6 back then, but now they are worth an incredible $12,700. If you think you might have one hiding, you might want to get that value checked out.
Röyksopp, Melody A.M.
In 2001, the Norwegian electronic duo earned international success with their debut record which sold over one million copies. Their son Remind Me was first heard in the U.S. in a Geico commercial which seemed to resonate with audiences.
Their one record that is increasingly valuable is the stencil rendition of a front jacket painted by the infamous Banksy. With only 100 spray-painted versions made, they were very rare and one brought in $14, 204.
The Rolling Stones, Street Fighting Man
This record was also censored by their record label as the original artwork was a black and white photo of police standing over an injured protestor. Due to its release date of 1968, it coincided with the riot at the Democratic National Convention.
In order to avoid controversy and have anything associated with the problems, they decided to have the records destroyed. Only 18 were saved and one was auctioned off for $17,000 in 2011.
The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Velvet Underground & Nico first came around in 1967 and even though most people say that punk rock began in the 70s, this specific record is hailed for being instrumental in inspiring the era.
It only sold 30,000 copies and was banned in most radio stations but those select few who decided to jump on their bandwagon essentially have a goldmine sitting in their homes today. Recently, someone managed to sell their copy for $25,200.
Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
With Bob Dylan’s track, one small mistake on the record hiked up the prices of it considerably. When the release was coming up, a few tracks were supposed to be replaced but a someone in production missed a few and some of the wrong songs were put on it.
The copy that has the serial number ending in -1A includes the songs “Rocks and Gravel, “Let Me Die In My Footsteps,” “Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand,” and “Talkin’ John Birch Blues.” This copy could be worth as much as $35,000.
The Who, The Who Sell Out
In 1967, there were only 1,000 copies of the first run of the Who’s third studio album. The album was structured as a collection of unrelated songs with fake commercials and public service announcements. Half of the albums were pressed in stereo and the other half in mono.
This included a butterfly poster and the lucky few who got their hands on one have quite a bit of money on their hands. Selling it on eBay will get you around $1,100.
One of the best rock bands of all time, Nirvana, had the most records played on the radio from their album Nevermind, but this isn’t the one that is worth the most.
In fact, their debut record on indie label Sub Pop has two variations which are very much in demand for record collectors. The original pressing had 1,000 copies and each could be sold for $2,500, the third pressing sold for $1,100 and only had 500 copies.
XTC, Science Friction
British new wave bad XTC originally released Science Friction and She’s So Square as a 45 RPM single. Only 50 copies of the record were printed before the band decided to halt production on that and instead put it out as a 12-inch instead.
This record marked the beginning of their illustrious career and people who managed to bag the 7-inch record of Science Fiction may be able to sell it on for an estimated $2,000.
ABBA, Hova’s Vittne
From the 70s to the 80s, ABBA were topping charts worldwide, but Hova’s Vittne was a single that was only distributed to those within the record company.
The highly coveted record only had 200 copies printed on red vinyl which features songs including Hova’s Vittne and Tivedshambo. As Sweden’s most successful export, it is not a surprise that their very exclusive record for rack up around $3,500 if sold on. They’re extremely rare to come across.
The Beatles, Abbey Road
Of course one of the best albums of all time by one of the most successful bands of all time would be on this list. A rare version of this Beatles classic can win you around $4,000.
The giveaway if they are rare is if holds the yellow and black Parlophone Records label with the catalog number PPCS 7088. Abbey Road was the 11th studio album released by the iconic foursome. Despite its initial mixed reviews, it became an album that went down in history.
The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Reverbaration
On the Thirteenth Floor Elevators album, just four original songs could be worth around $4,000. The four songs Reveraration (Doubt), You’re Gonna Miss Me, Fire Engine, and Tried to Hide became a huge hit with fans which made the record so popular.
Despite the popularity of the band, they only recorded four- full length studio albums. This was partly due to the guitarist Roky Erickson suffering paranoid schizophrenia which caused his career and life to take many unexpected twists and turns.
Depeche Mode, Music for the Masses
Unlike most of the other records on this list which are celebrated for their music, this one is actually valuable for its cover. The original UK version had a graphic of a white speaker with soundwaves, set on an orange background.
When this cover was scrapped, it was replaced with the recognizable speaker in a desert. When a few of the old records were released by accident, fans snapped them up while they could and they are now worth around $4,600.
Elvis Presley, Speedway
Speedway pretty much marked the end of The King’s acting career when critics panned the film and it wasn’t well received by fans at the box office. Nonetheless, the soundtrack was still very valuable and it was estimated that only around 300 copies were printed.
In the movie, Elvis plays a race car driver who has a bad run in with the Internal Revenue Service over his questionable finances. His investigator was none other than Nancy Sinatra and the two fell in love. The soundtrack is worth around $5,000.
Elton John, I’ve Been Loving You
Elton John is truly one of the most decorated musicians of all time. His debut record was said to be written by Bernie Taupin, but Elton later admitted it was acting him who had written the lyrics himself.
The single of the record is rare to find and there is one extremely rare copy that was only released in Portugal of all places. This record alone is said to be worth a huge $5,000 as one of the Rocketman’s originals.
Century Symphony Orchestra, Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.
When it came to creating an album cover, record companies did not want to put huge budgets into the covers so enlisted relatively unknown artists to create the cover art for classical and jazz records.
The relatively unknown artist commissioned for this record was none other than struggling Andy Warhol. In its existence, there are only seven copies in the world and one of them is on display at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. It’s worth an estimated $5,500.
Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Xanadu
Despite Xanadu being one of the most panned movies of all time, its records actually did very well in comparison. The record of the movie’s theme song is one of the most sought-after records of all time.
It was said that Olivia Newton-John hated how she looked in the cover art so asked the record company to destroy all copies. It was said that only 20 to 30 records survived and of those, if you own one, it could be worth around $9,100.
Robert Johnson, Me and the Devil Blues
This 1938 record features the song “Me and the Devil Blues” on side A, and “Little Queen of Spades” on side B. The song is about a singer waking up to Satan knocking on his door and it became extremely famous.
This exact copy is said to be worth around $12,000. This record became one of the biggest influences on the genre which ended up inspiring so many other artists following this.
Stonewall were a relatively unknown band who were never signed to a record label. As a result, the only record they have was pressed without knowledge or consent from the band. It was pressed and released by Tiger Lily, a company which was a tax scam operated by the mob.
It worked because records were pressed and then written off as unsold which kept the parent label afloat. The records printed ended up getting cult status and this one was sold for $14,000.
The Beatles, Yesterday and Today
As one of the best bands of all time, it is not surprising that The Beatles made this list numerous times. Th 1966 record’s cover featured photo of John, Paul, George, and Ringo dressed in butcher’s attire, holding headless dolls with raw meat everywhere.
The image was actually very disturbing and a big mistake. Capitol Records had to spend $250,000 recalling the 750,000 records printed. There were a few stragglers which slipped through the cracks and are now worth around $15,300.
The Five Sharps, Stormy Weather
This record popped up on an episode of Pawn Stars and its selling price was shocking. One collector tried to sell the record for $25,000 but it wasn’t in the best shape and for vinyl, it was very expensive.
Most of these however have sold in the region of $20,000 which is incredibly ironic as the original album sales were so poor that the band members even had to purchase their own copies.
Frank Wilson, Do I Love You
After Frank Wilson recorded “Do I Love You” and “Sweeter As the Days Go By,” he reluctantly agreed with Motown founder Berry Gordy that he would be better off working behind the scenes and creating music for other big stars in the genre.
Gordy ordered all the copies of Wilson’s record to be destroyed and it has been said that only two survived. One of the two surviving records sold for $34,000 in a 2009 auction.
Tommy Johnson, Alcohol And Jake Blues
This 1930’s record was sold off at an estate sale and the lucky buyer of it was a North Carolina native. In a complete stroke of luck, he put it up on eBay and ended up getting a final bid of $37,100. The only copies of this record all belong to the same person, John Tefteller.
The artist, Tommy Johnson, made a total of five releases for Paramount between 1929 and 1930. There are a number of his records via Paramount that are still yet to be found.
The Beatles, The Beatles
Also known as The White Album, this 1968 record is truly one of a kind and the first pressing of the ninth album by The Beatles. The record is marked with the serial number “A0000001”, making it one of the best known records of all time.
While many people thought the first record was owned by John Lennon, it was actually Ringo Starr who got it. It was kept in a bank vault for over 35-years and it was sold at a charity auction for a record-breaking $790,000.
Prince, The Black Album
After Prince recorded The Black Album and sold 500,000 copies of it, Prince stopped the release and told the label to bring back all of the copies. This was due to the singer abusing substances and in this state he believed the record was evil.
At this time, the promotional copies had already been circulated and many of the songs were played on the radio, despite the singers protests. A CD version was eventually released in 1994 but the original vinyls sold for a huge $42,300 in 2018.
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