Rare records rule Market Watch countdown of top online auction lots

By Susan Sliwicki

Buckle up, history buffs: Have we got a countdown for you! In fact, this countdown is so chock-full of rare records, we decided to dial it up to 11 — entries, that is.

11. $2,014 — Soul Fred and The Turbins, “Bernadine”/“Till There Was You,” 45. It seemed like the Northern Soul market was cooling down a bit recently, but our first countdown entry shows there’s still good money to be had for rarities. Despite receiving a vinyl grade of only VG/VG+, this copy of Cenco 111 drew 13 bidders. “Plays great with light surface noise. Does not skip and there are no loud pops or cracks,” the seller wrote. “The record has visual marks and mild storage warp, neither of which affect play.”

11_DISTRICTSA10. $2,131 — The Districts, “One Lover (Just Won’t Do)”/““Like Clouds,” 45. This record hasn’t made a lot of appearances on eBay — the seller estimates that only three known copies have been sold — so when it is called a Holy Grail, we’re willing to let our usual pet peeve about the term slide. The vinyl earned a play grade of VG+ to VG++, and a visual grade of VG++. “A massive sweet soul flip,” the seller wrote. Twenty-one bids were placed.

10_Vondells_HeyGirl9. $2,146 — Vondells, “Hey Girl You’ve Changed”/“Soldier Boy,” 45. “Feast your eyes on the ultimate Northern Soul rare record. This Ohio gem does not turn up,” the seller entices in the description for this copy of Airtown Custom Records 012. The single earned a grade of NM/M- and drew six bids.

9_SgtPepperRed8. $,2299.99 — The Beatles, “20th Anniversary of Japan Concert,” 10-title, red mono box set. Produced by Toshiba EMI Japan in 1986, this set boasts several things that set it apart. “This 1986 issue has wide-style, red-colour OBI strip that has the logo of 20th Anniversary of Japan Concert — It Was 20 Years Ago,” the seller wrote. It also features red vinyl records in NM condition; monaural sound; and a strictly limited press run. The sleeves range from EX to EX-. Some small, light spots are visible on the “White Album” cover, and some liner notes/lyric sheets are similarly affected.

The Mighty Perk Badger7. $2,300 — The Mighty Perk Badger, “The Mighty Perk Badger,” LP. “I have to think this is a rare gem,” the seller wrote. “I have never seen another one for sale across several music sites ever.” This copy is touted as Still Sealed, but the pictures reveal quite a bit of damage to the cover and an outer wrap that is barely hanging on. A buy-it-now bidder chose to snap up this funk LP from Universal Love Sound Records.

Sextette 10-inch Victor6. $3,320 — Sextette from Lucia, 78 RPM test pressing. History buffs were likely among those who placed 13 bids on this 1901 recording marked Sextette from Lucia Sousa Laboratory Record. The nicely preserved label bears the catalog number of Victor 3230. The record itself earns a VJM mark of V+ for both its visual and play grades. “The luster is a bit dull, but it may never have been shiny in the first place, due to it being a test press,” the seller wrote.

U2 Three CBS 12-inch5. $3,350 — U2, “Three” 12-inch EP. Here’s a record we haven’t seen in awhile: the 1979 pressing of CBS Ireland 12-7951 — also known as the first release by a little band called U2. The pressing was limited to 1,000 records, each of which bore a hand-numbered sticker. This is copy, 225, was purchased at Murray’s Records in Dublin on the first day of release, according to the seller. “There is some ring wear to the sleeve, there is a crease in the bottom right-hand corner, and it is slightly worn at the edges,” the seller wrote. “The disc has some minor surface scratches as it had been played (though not for 30 years and it still plays perfectly) and is in very good condition,” the seller wrote. The lot drew 32 bids.

5_SouthCarolinaRag4. $3,719.89 — Willie Walker, “South Carolina Rag”/“Dupree Blues.” 78. Touted as “A wonderful disc for the right collector,” this E/E- copy of Columbia 14578 attracted 16 bids before finding a new owner. A lamination line, a long, light scratch, and a short, deeper scratch are on the B-side, but it is free of skips and jumps. “The music, too, is stunningly well-recorded with breathtaking body and detail,” the seller wrote.

Beatles albums Japanese pressings
3. $4,499.99 — The Beatles, 10-title, red mono LP box set.
At first blush, this item might look a lot like our No. 8 entry on the countdown. Yes, it’s a Japanese mono pressing of Beatles records, and it’s done on red vinyl and has obis. But that’s where the similarities end. These limited-edition, EMI Odeon LPs (EAS-70130 to EAS 70138) released in 1982 are still sealed, according to the seller. “Truly super rare. I’m not aware of another collection of all ten unplayed,” the seller wrote.

2_SunYatSenOverview2. $3,999 — Sun Yat Sen, “1924 Speech,” 78. Believed to be the only recording to feature the Chinese leader’s voice, this Mint Minus copy on the China Evening Post Shanghai label was released in 1924. “It is in museum quality with original paperwork/speech sheet,” the seller wrote. We’ve seen this rare record on Market Watch before, when an EX- copy sold for $3,999 in 2011 (but there was no mention of the speech sheet with that lot).

Market Watch Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs test pressings 1. $13,500 — Various artists, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, collection of 110 original master recording LPs. While five figures may sound like a lot, it’s quite a deal when you consider these are all out-of-print. Of the lot, 73 are first pressings, and the remaining 37 are Anadisq 200 pressings for noteworthy albums by a variety of artists including all of The Beatles albums. “This is an excellent opportunity for a private collector to jump into a hard-earned, many years invested collection,” the seller wrote. The lot drew 26 bids.

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