Big names, rarities duke it out in online record auctions

By Susan Sliwicki

We’ve got a trifecta of collecting delights in this countdown: a promo, a rare alternate cover design and record withdrawn from the market altogether. But even those weren’t rare enough to take the top spot on our Market Watch countdown.

10_July10. $4,842.22 — July, “July,” LP. If you’ve spent all these years looking for the Holy Grail of 1960s prog and psychedelic music, you don’t need to look any further —at least, according to this seller. This mono U.K. pressing on the Major Minor Records label (MMLP 29) is believed to be the earliest possible pressing, featuring the grooved label and 1B Matrix endings. “This LP is in fantastic condition and has barely been played. A true Near Mint condition,” the seller wrote. “And what’s more, the audio is perfect.” The cover earned a grade of EX+, and the inner sleeve was graded VG+ due to browning from age. Four bids were exchanged before the auction closed.

9_RollingStones9. $5,000 — The Rolling Stones, “The Rolling Stones,” promotional LP. Collectors sure seem to love this promo record that was produced in limited supply for radio stations. But if buyers were looking for a long back story or a lot of details, they would be disappointed with this lot. Other than disclosing that the record has a blue label, the vinyl is in VG shape and the sound quality is EX+ (with eight plus signs, just in case you couldn’t understand just how Excellent it is), the seller shared little. Twenty-six bids were exchanged before the auction closed.

8_Coconut8. $5,000 — Soul Incorporated, “My Proposal”/“Message To Michael,” 45. In real estate, it’s all about “location, location, location.” Well, in record estate, “rarity, rarity, rarity” is the mantra. That’s what this pressing has to offer, according to the seller, who stated it is one of just 100 copies of Coconut Groove 2031 ever pressed. “Mega rare Northern Soul tune written and produced by the legendary Cecil Washington on the Mt. Morris, Mich., Coconut Groove label,” the seller wrote.

7_Classical7. $5,121.43 — Leonid Kogan, “Symphonie Espagnole Opus 21 and Serenade Melancolique Opus 26,” LP. This U.K. pressed classical music disc features violinist Leonid Kogan. Pressed on the Columbia label (SAX 2329) in 1960, its cover, record and label all earned grades of Mint Minus from the seller. Twenty-eight bids were made before the auction closed.

6_YellowSubmarine6. $5,246.61 — The Beatles, “Yellow Submarine,” LP. The Beatles land a lot of records on our countdown, but this is the first time we can recall a copy of Yellow Submarine making in to Market Watch as a solo lot. “Possibly The Beatles’ rarest official LP,” the seller wrote of this export copy pressed on the U.K Odeon label (PPCS 7070). The record and labels earned grades of Excellent, while the cover clocked in at VG+ due to some light ring wear, creases and stains.

5_PinkFloyd5. $5,999.99 — Pink Floyd, “The Dark Side of The Moon” LP. Seems a little bit odd that one of the best-selling albums of all time (and therefore more common) would make it into Market Watch, but this little beauty has a secret: Its cover design was withdrawn. The sleeve earned a grade of EX, while the record graded NM. A Japanese pressing released by EMI in 1978, this copy of HW-5149  features the stage cover. A lyric sheet also is included. “This record rarely appears in a market. A gem of a find!” the seller wrote.

Caine Mutiny soundtrack rarity4. $6,186 — Various artists, “The Caine Mutiny” soundtrack, LP. Not sure if this was snapped up by a big-time Humphrey Bogart buff or a major-league soundtrack collector, but this NM pressing of RCA Victor LOC 1013 attracted 31 bids before the auction closed. “The first edition of 1954 is a legend among LP collectors. The story is, the studio pulled the album before release (so there never was a general release of the soundtrack at that time), and only a few copies escaped being scrapped,” the seller wrote. The LP’s second side contains “The Court Martial,” the full soundtrack of the film sequence. As a bonus, the seller also threw in the limited-edition 1970 pressing of “The Caine Mutiny” soundtrack, of which 1,000 copies were made and distributed to collectors.

3_Avatar3. $9,000 — Avatar, “City Beneath The Surface”/“The Whip,” yellow vinyl EP. This EP on the Par Records label (Par 1002) has a lot in its favor. First of all, it’s colored vinyl. Second, it was obtained directly from the issuing record label’s owner, Dan Johnson. Third, the seller threw in a mini press photo and a picture sleeve. “One of the true Holy Grails of hard rock and metal collectables, the yellow vinyl version of ‘City Beneath The Surface’ EP was made in a very limited run, rumored to be as few as 25 or so,” the seller wrote.

2_MozartAParis2. $10,600 — Various artists, “Mozart a Paris,” 7-LP box set. Here’s the second of our classical record entries on this edition’s countdown. This 1956 French box set pressed on the Pathe label (Pathe DTX 191-197) features the complete recording of Parisian Mozart compositions. The box earned a grade of VG+ due to some tears on the border. The accompanying booklet earned a grade of Near Mint, with a note of tiny spots on the back cover. The discs earned grades of EX- to NM; each disc came with an inner paper bag sleeve as well as a second inner sleeve marked Pathe. “The person who had the box was a classical music French critic. Took great care of his records,” the seller wrote. Twenty-two bids were made before the auction closed.

1_TitleFight1. $50,000 — Title Fight, “Floral Green,” LP. We double-checked the number of zeroes a couple of times when we saw this listing. The seller was very tight lipped about this lot. The entire description (which, yes, was posted in all caps) consisted of the following: “FLORAL GREEN RECORD RELEASE ON 10.19.2012 WARRIOR RUN PA. SIGNATURE SPACE EMPTY. *RARE* 45/ OF 150. PROTECTED. IN PERFECT CONDITION.” But, that was clearly enough information to satisfy potential buyers; 43 bids were made before the auction closed.

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