Vinyl collector? These 30 records could be worth a fortune
PUBLISHED: 10:07 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:24 13 October 2020
Thirty singles and albums that could be music to your bank manager’s ears, as compiled by three music experts and record shop owners
Britain’s lofts, garages, spare rooms and cellars have never felt so much love as they have in the past few months. If lockdown has had you rummaging around among your possessions, you may have blown the dust off your record collection, or if you’re still a regular collector, you may have been having a good old reorganisation. Either way, there’s probably some gems in there worth a bit of money.
It was around 40 years ago that record sales first began to dwindle – cassettes took a share of the market and, gradually, as compact discs became the format of choice for recorded music through the late 80s and into the current century, our love affair with vinyl records waned.
With the digital download age dominating the first decade of the 21st century, the value in second-hand records dipped – nobody wanted these large relics of past times when they could have a file containing thousands of tracks and store it on a computer hard drive. I, for one, can remember seeing original David Bowie albums in record shops for £3 each 20 years ago.
Now it’s a different story. Around 10 years ago vinyl records made a comeback. The Record Store Day initiative was one reason, the other was a longing to actually physically own music once again – a reaction to the digital age. Either way, record collecting went full circle and spun back into our lives. They started appearing in shops like Urban Outfitters and John Lewis, and supermarket giants Tesco and Sainsbury’s wanted a piece of the action. HMV went from displaying a couple of dozen titles to devoting a huge part of its stores to records, plus turntables and plastic sleeves for collectors to keep their purchases in.
While millions of new vinyl records have been purchased in the past decade, the value here is in older records. With the help of three music experts and record shop owners – John Naylor, Andrew Worsdale and Eric White – we’ve compiled a ‘Top 30’ of records that you may have tucked away that have a good value.
We’re not talking mega bucks, or releases that are niche and appeal to a small proportion of collectors. These are records by artists you’ve certainly heard of which, for a variety of reasons, have a good price that collectors are willing to pay.
Value is, of course, relative. One man’s unplayed copy of Black Lace’s Agadoo may have more value than a scratched-to-death copy of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. What we have here is a list of records that, in good condition, have seen their values shoot up dramatically since the day they were originally released.
How many do you own?
1. Sex Pistols: God Save The Queen | John: ‘OK you probably already know the story of this controversial single and how it went to number two in the charts, but who remembers what beat it to number 1? Rod Stewart’s I Don’t Want to Talk about It. Before the Sex Pistols signed to Virgin, A&M Records released a small quantity of the 7” single and its value – are you sitting down? – is over £10,000.’
2. The Beatles: Please Please Me | Andrew: ‘Does your Beatles 1963 original come with a black and gold (rather than yellow) label? You’ll get around £1,200 for a mono, or five times that for a stereo copy.’
3. Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin | Andrew: ‘If you’ve got a copy of the Zep’s debut with turquoise rather than orange lettering, it’s worth a nice sum. How does £1,500 sound?’
4. Iron Maiden: The Soundhouse Tapes | John: ‘Everyone has heard of heavy metal legends Iron Maiden, but did you know their first 7” was self-released and now worth a staggering £1,000 in mint condition? Get searching!’
5. Pink Floyd: The Dark Side Of The Moon | Andrew: ‘Look for a solid light (not dark) blue prism on the label, distinguishing a first press, and yours could be worth upwards of £1,000.’
6. The Who: The Who Sell Out | Andrew: ‘Recognise Pete from The Who Sell Out, 1968? The sticker says the poster’s inside, but it’s long gone, so you can drop a zero from that £800 price tag, sadly!’
7. The Congos: Heart of the Congos | Andrew: ‘This reggae classic is our priciest item at present, but it sounds just as good as a £40 UK reissue! It’s worth around £750.’
8. The Velvet Underground & Nico: The Velvet Underground & Nico | Andrew: ‘You’ll pay £15 for a picture disc version of the greatest ever debut album, or 20 times (around £600) that if yours is a 1968 original with a peelable banana on the front cover.’
9. King Crimson: In The Court of the Crimson King | Andrew: ‘There are so many variations of this fabulous album, but yours will need a pink label for starters to have a chance of being worth £600.’
10. The Beatles Revolver | Eric: ‘Collectors are always seeking the best condition original earliest 1966 mono issues with the slightly longer version of the track Tomorrow Never Knows and should expect to be around £350 for the best examples.’
11. Black Sabbath: Paranoid | Eric: ‘The band’s second LP from 50 years ago. Although it was a ‘number one’ album, most copies were played a lot and rarely turn up in decent condition. The earliest editions were on the Vertigo label that had a black “swirl” design on a white background. Excellent copies can sell for £100, certain label variations at least twice [that].’
12. Miles Davis: Kind of Blue | Eric: ‘Original UK first pressings on the Fontana label are rare, with stereo editions especially desirable changing hands at £100.’
13. Robbie Williams: Greatest Hits | John: ‘This came out in 2004 and if you bought this album by the Take That star it was probably on CD and now available in every charity shop in the land. But if you bought it on vinyl it’s worth over £100.’
14. Oasis: Definitely Maybe | John: ‘This was the fastest selling UK debut album of all time and if you were one of the lucky ones to buy it on LP you are sitting on another £100.’
15. Pulp: Different Class | John: ‘Along with Oasis and Blur, Pulp defined the Britpop scene. Single Common People made them household names and if you bought the wax for this one it’s now worth well over £100.’
16. The Undertones: Teenage Kicks | John: ‘Well-known for being John Peel’s favourite single, less known for first being released by an independent record shop in Northern Ireland called Good Vibrations. The original 7” was on coloured paper and simply stamped with black ink and folded around the vinyl. Its value? Well over £100.’
17. Joy Division: Closer | Andrew: ‘Does your copy bathe your bedroom in a red glow when you hold it up against the ceiling light? If so, you could triple that £30 value.’
18. The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds | Eric: ‘Fairly level pegging with The Beatles’ Revolver album for the best album ever made accolade and both are from 1966. It is tough to find an original copy that has not had many plays. Look out for the Capitol “rainbow rim” labels with the wording “sold in the UK” to the left. Mono originals fetch £75.’
19. Nirvana: Nevermind | John: ‘Everyone knows the front cover with the baby in the swimming pool with the dollar bill floating in front. It’s one of the most iconic LP images of all time and one of the best rock albums of all time. Its value, £60.’
20. David Bowie: The Laughing Gnome | Andrew: ‘The only thing distinguishing a 1967 original from a 1973 reissue is an inverted matrix number (DR 39798). That’s the difference between £5 and £60.’
21. Queen: A Night At The Opera | Andrew: ‘Does your Queen original have a “cut” corner on the inner sleeve or a rounded one? Don’t sweat: it’s only the difference between £60 and £25.’
22. Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis | Eric: ‘Everyone knows the single from this masterpiece, Son of a Preacher Man. The first pressings on Philips have black labels. Cherished copies that have rarely been on a turntable will sell for £50.’
23. Spice Girls: Spice | John: ‘Released in 1996, Spicemania was like Beatlemania all over again. If you bought this on vinyl rather than CD it’s now worth £50.’
24. David Bowie: Aladdin Sane | Eric: ‘No list is complete without the much missed singer/songwriter. Those who raced to the shops first in 1973 found a fan club mail order insert inside which most filled in and sent away. Retained ones with unblemished vinyl and a clean gatefold cover plus photo inner sleeve make about £50.’
25. Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti | Eric: ‘Although not as valuable as certain editions of [their] first two albums, this 1975 double’s special windows type cover and inner sleeves are hard to find in undamaged condition. Tip top conditions of first editions make a swift £40.’
26. Guns N’ Roses: Appetite For Destruction | John: ‘The first release of this vinyl had a cover that was withdrawn and if you purchased the “robot” sleeve original it’s now worth £40.’
27. Frank Zappa: Hot Rats | Eric: ‘The first edition was on a multi-colour Reprise steamboat design label with the amusing “POP SERIES” slogan. Barely played copies with clean covers can sell for £30.’
28. Pink Floyd: The Wall | Eric: ‘Over 40 years old and although earlier albums are significantly more valuable, this double album complete with removable PVC transfer on the cover, curved edges, lyric inner sleeves and spotless vinyl is a fast seller at around £30.’
29. Madonna: Like A Virgin | Eric: ‘The picture disc craze was at its height in the 1980s and many of Madonna’s releases had such editions. Most will have jumps and terrible surface noise, which fans overlook as the opportunity to frame up this iconic photo on a 12” disc is always attractive. Around £25 is the lowest likely price if you have a lucky face.’
30. New Order: Blue Monday | John: ‘Possibly the greatest 12” single in history and also one of the best-selling. The only trouble for Factory Records was that it cost more to make than they sold it for. Peter Saville’s iconic cut-out sleeve is as recognisable as the pulsating drum beats that start the song. Everyone bought this for about a pound, it’s now worth up to £20.’