Eclectic Market Watch features almost everything but the kitchen sink — and disco

By Susan Sliwicki
This week’s Market Watch is a great example of how many different areas of collecting are vibrant, if you just take the time too look. Punk. Beatles. Blues. Grunge. Elvis. Classical. They’re all here — along with some entries that are more desirable for their covers than their recorded contents.

10. $2,910.49 —  The Fix, “Vengeance” / “In This Town,” 7-inch record.

Kicking off our countdown this week is a familiar face, touted by the seller as “Mandatory American hardcore” — The Fix’s 7-inch release on Touch and Go Rekords. Yeah, you read that right. Rekords.

“Touch and Go Rekords is spelled with a K instead of a C because Dave Stimson ran out of Cs when he was making the sleeve,” the seller wrote.

The Fix have been a fixture on the Market Watch countdown in recent months. A copy of this same record — or is that “rekord” — copies sold for $3,227 and  $4,250 in July 2010 and $3,383 in November 2010. This copy earns a grade of EX for its cover, which has a few small wrinkles, and EX- for the vinyl, for which the A and B labels are flipped, the seller said.

The original pressing was 200 copies, and the seller says 15 of those were warped or destroyed after band members placed records on a heat vent after getting them from the pressing plant. Nineteen bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

9. $3,262.09 — Elvis Presley, EP set.

Meat Loaf sings that two out of three ain’t bad, and it looks like bidders agreed with his theory on this lot, which only contained two of the three EPs in the set (missing Sides 2 and 5.)

Fifty-four bids were exchanged before a winner was declared for this copy of SPD-23, which earned a grade of VG+ for its triple gatefold cover. A formal grade was not given for the records; the seller said they played through but had background noise present.

RCA produced two different models of Elvis Presley record players in the mid-‘50s. The three-EP set was a bonus for customers who bought the higher-priced Elvis Presley model; a two-EP set (SPD-22) accompanied the lower-priced version.

“Because only a handful of people could afford the high-end Vvictrola, it, in time, made this one of the rarest Elvis records/cover in existence on any label from any country,” the seller wrote.

8. $3,375 — Lightnin’ Hopkins, “Mojo Hand,” LP.

“One of the rarest blues LPs you’ll ever see in unbelievable condition,” the seller promises in his description of this original mono pressing of FLP-104 on the Fire label.

The vinyl was graded at a VG++ due to a light scratch, some scuff marks and some crackling between songs, but it plays like NM, the seller said. The cover earns a VG+ grade, due to some light ringwear and some rippling in the paste-over cover.

7. $3,673 — Maria Madrigal, “Madrigal’s Magic Key To Spanish,” LP.

Since we doubt there’s a sudden fascination with learning Spanish in the Madrigal method of the 1950s, we can only assume that the excitement over this record is due to the cover artwork, which was created by Andy Warhol. While there is not yet a special typestyle to denote sarcasm, please assume that is what we’re employing here, as this record has become a bit of a frequent flyer as of late on the Market Watch countdown.

Although it is free of splits, this copy’s cover bears a slight indentation from the record, has a crease in the upper left edge, a rip on the lower-right side of the cover, as well as some writing and some brown discoloration. The cover is “fine,” and has one slight scratch, according to the seller. Formal grades were not assigned for either the art or the record.

Seven bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

6. $4,150 — Leonid Kogan, Lalo’s “Symphonie Espagnole” and Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade Melancolique,” LP.

This record is making it’s second appearance in as many Market Watch countdowns. Pressed in the U.K. in 1960 on the Columbia label, this NM/M copy of SAX 2329 features Leonid Kogan on violin and the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Kyril Kondrashin. But that probably isn’t what got bidders so excited about this lot.

“This is one, of many records, from a sound engineers private archive,” the seller wrote. “He worked for famous record companies from the ’30 s until late ’60 s and was a dedicated music lover. The collection consists of mainly classical and opera recordings, but also of some jazz and pop/rock records. Everything is in Excellent, Near Mint or Mint condition. After buying his records, he taped them onto a Revox reel player and then archived the vinyl. It is like visiting a record shop with new 40- to 60-year-old records!”

Thirty-three bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

5. $4,527.99 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” LP.

You knew it was just a matter of time before the dreaded “holy grail” phrase showed up in a Market Watch entry, and here’s the offender. (Do sellers somehow think bidders do searches by the words “holy grail” instead of  searching for the desired artist or an album name?)

This 1963 U.K. pressing of “Please Please Me” has the correct cover and wrong Dick James credits, according to the seller. Of course, we were a little concerned about the seller’s description when we read the headline, which promised it was a stereo copy (PCS 3042), and then read seller’s detailed description, which said this was a mono copy (PMC 1202). A pair of fuzzy label images —for which the seller apologized and promised the labels look better in person —and an all-caps, hasty correction posted the seller confirmed it was, in fact, a stereo copy. Regardless, the vinyl clocks in at VG+ condition, and the cover earned a grade of VG.

4. $6,000 — Nirvana, “Hormoaning,” LP.

Nirvana has been developing some devoted collectors, and this record is one of the favorites. Released on Geffen (GEF-21711), this Australian import copy features dark red-purple vinyl in M- condition. (The cover earns a grade of NM-)

“Very rare and hard-to-find Nirvana item!” the seller promises.

A clear, marbled red, blue and purple vinyl copy of this record sold for $6,763.03 in December 2010.

3. $6,300 — Maria Madrigal, “Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish,” LP.

Taking déjà vu honors in this week’s countdown is another copy of the Madrigal record that features Andy Warhol’s distinctive artwork.

“There are only three or four of these records and covers known to exist, and this is the best example,” the seller wrote. “Here is your chance to won a true Warhol rarity!”

Of course, since this is the fourth copy we’ve seen in our print and online Market Watch countdown in about a month (and the images that were posted with each listing look different enough that we believe they are not repeats), we’re starting to wonder how just how “rare” this rarity really is?

The cover is listed in good condition, with one split at the top right cornor, a hole next to the phonograph illustration and some light discoloring. The record has minor scuffs and scratches and wasn’t assigned a grade.

“But who is really buying this record to learn Spanish?” the seller wrote. “This is all about Warhol!”

2. $8,598 — Collection of 150 classical records.

Apparently, it is more cost effective to buy meat AND records by the pound, if you consider this collection. Estimated to weigh about 34 kilograms (or roughly 75 pounds) for shipping, that puts the cost per pound at a solid $114.69, which is still cheaper than a pound of Kobe steak.

This collection, most of which are stereo issues, features pressings on labels including Columbia, Capitol, Electrola and His Master’s Voice, the seller said. Featured artists included Yehudi Menuhin, David Oistrach, Nathan Milstein, Pierre Fournier and Itzhak Perlman.

Twenty-three bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

1. $13,601.21 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” LP.

Settling into a slot it’s enjoyed many times before is a stereo copy of The Beatles’ “Please Please Me” (PCS 3062) touted to bear the less-common gold and black label that first appeared on the Beatles’ debut album, and to boot, it’s in “vault condition.”

“The impossible-to-find rarity with the gold label 33-1/3rd,” the seller wrote. “Every now and then a record surfaces that has no right to exist. This is one such album … This copy just has to be harder to find than the black and gold label because they only turn up perhaps one copy every year or two, whereas the gold and black label appears far more often.”

While the seller declined to provide a condition for the cover, he determined it was the nicest copy he had ever seen.

“This vinyl is as good now as the day it was pressed and it just has to grade mint!” the seller added.

The seller went on to say that he recorded a copy of the record in full so bidders could hear what they’re buying. Nice idea, but in our book, that means the record’s only Near Mint at best.

Forty two bids were exchanged before a winner was determined.

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