Poor-condition doo-wop single proves exception to the rule

By Susan Sliwicki

There were so many interesting lots on the online auction block of late that we decided to bump up our usual dime-sized countdown into a bountiful dozen.

Five Scalders Sugar Hill 7300012. $4,595.45 — The Five Scalders, “If Only You Were Mine”/“There Will Come A Time,” 45. We kick off our countdown with what we’ll call the exception to the rule: a poor-condition disc that sold for big bucks. This copy of Sugar Hill 7-3000 shows a lot of surface wear and a number of lightly feelable marks. Although it plays through just fine, surface noise is ever present, the writer said. That didn’t turn away potential buyers; 25 bids were placed on this doo-wop rarity from Detroit before the auction closed.

11. $5,000 — Collection of 3,500 jazz, R&B, country and pop LPs; 200 jazz CDs; and 300 rare 45s. This buy-it-now listing sure seems like a heckuva great deal. It was promoted with free shipping, and the records were all promised to be in Mint or Near Mint condition. Only drawbacks: no photos or artist/record titles posted with the listing. Still, at an average price of $1.25 per unit, we suspect the lucky buyer will see a handsome return on his or her investment.

Beatles Lady Madonna FO 111 Odeon10. $5,000 — The Beatles, “Lady Madonna,” EP. “This is the original signed version, German pressing,” is all the seller wrote for this lot. There are no photos of the label provided, and only a small image of the sleeve shown, which if it is accurate, doesn’t appear to be a German pressing at all (let alone an EP). The image shown bears the Odeon catalog number FO 111, which matches the French pressing for “Lady Madonna”/“The Inner Light.” A quick check at 45cat.com shows that the 45 RPM German pressing for the record has a catalog number of O 23 733. There was only a single bidder, who paid the buy-it-now price.

Pink Floyd Piper At The Gates of Dawn PSCX 61579. $5,276.42 — Pink Floyd, “The Piper At The Gates of Dawn,” LP. Touted as “seriously rare and very hard to find,” this U.K.-pressed copy of PSCX 6157 on the Odeon label drew 21 bids. “Only very, very, very few copies in stereo pressed,” the seller wrote. “Mega rare!!! It is very, very impossible to find.” The seller graded the cover in Excellent+ condition, the vinyl in Excellent to EX+ and the labels as “stunning mint.”

Leonid Kogen Beethoven Violine Concerto SAX 23868. $6,169 — Leonid Kogan, “Beethoven Violin Concerto” LP. This concerto performance by Leonid Kogan with The Paris Conservatoire Orchestra was pressed in the U.K. in 1959 on the EMI Columbia label. “Perfect copy of SAX 2386,” the seller wrote. “LP is top NM, no marks, immaculate. The jacket is top NM; NM inner bag.” The lot drew 21 bids.

Leaf Hound Growers of Mushroom LP Decca7. $6,159.29 — Leaf Hound, “Growers of Mushroom,” LP. It’s been a while since Leaf Hound’s trippy LP on the Decca label has popped up on our countdown. Evidently, absence makes the heart — not to mention the value — grow fonder. This copy of SKL-R 5094 sold for almost double the $3,100 that a VG+ copy brought in fall 2011, and roughly one-third more than the $4,300 that a copy of an undetermined grade sold for in spring 2011. The album, which was voted the No. 1 most collectible rock record of all time by Q magazine, drew 27 bids. Our only concern? We hope the collector actually gave his blessing to the sale, as the opening statement in the description read, “I am selling my husband’s collection.”

Hambone Willie Newbern Okeh 78s6. $6,500 — Hambone Willie Newbern, group of four 78s. This collection offers up the entire known catalog of the reputedly ill-tempered bluesman who once served as mentor to Sleepy John Estes. It includes two copies of Okeh 8679 (“Roll and Tumble Blues”/“Nobody Knows What The Good Deacon Says”) in Good and Mint conditions;  a Near Mint- copy of Okeh 8740 (“She Could Toodle-oo”/“Shelby County Workshop Blues”) and an NM- copy of Okeh 8693 (“Way Down In Arkansas”/”Hambone Willie’s Dreamy Eyed Woman’s Blues.” All of the songs were recorded during a single session on March 13, 1929, according to 78discography.com.

1,900 LPs and 100 12-inch singles5. $6,637.51 — Various artists, collection of approximately 1900 LPs and 100 12-inch singles from the 1950s through the 1990s. This lot literally spans the gamut of artists from AC/DC to ZZ Top with rock, punk, pop, metal, prog and folk as the dominant genres. The records range in condition from Very Good- to NM. “This would be ideal for someone starting a collection or as stock for starting a shop,” the seller wrote.

Ik and Tina Turner Sue 768 4. $8,888.80 — Ike and Tina Turner, “I Idolize You”/“Tina’s Dilemma,” 45. If you’re ever tempted to abandon something in storage, you might want to consider this next entry as a cautionary tale. This Mint-/NM copy of Sue 768 was among a bunch of records packed up from a Bridgeport, Conn., shop and taken to storage circa 1979. The bill wasn’t paid, so come 2012, the movers decided to launch Dewey Pyle Records and start selling. “We were movers back then, so these records were packed by us when our bones didn’t hurt so much,” the seller wrote. “Many of these records have not been played.”

Beatles Butcher Cover Yesterday and Today Capitol 25533. $9,999.99 — The Beatles, “Yesterday and Today,” LP. “Original first state stereo Butcher Cover in original shrink wrap,” the seller wrote of this copy of Capitol 2553.  “You just do not see these around.” The jacket and vinyl both were graded NM.

Beatles Love Me Do 45 promo 45-R 49492. $13,350.10 — The Beatles, “Love Me Do”/“P.S. I Love You,” 45 promo. Forget about flipping real estate; it seems like collectors have kept busy flipping this Parlophone promo single, 45-R 4949. There were only 250 copies of this single pressed for distribution to deejays and reviewers prior to its October 1962 release. This is the third copy to turn up on our Market Watch countdown in the last six issues. This VG+/EX copy, which drew 16 bids, lands in the middle of the price range; its predecessors brought $12,958.18 and $17,469.59.

Five Scalders Sugar Hill 730001. $20,100 — Azimuth “Som Livre,” LP. So what record could possibly outdo a rare Beatles 45 at auction? The answer, my friends, is this EX-quality, first Brazilian pressing of “Som Livre,” described by the seller as the “killer psych funk groove prog” LP by Azimuth. Little else was revealed about this lot except that it was pressed in 1975 and came with a gatefold sleeve in EX+ condition. The lot drew four bids.

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