Sound Advice: Misprints, errors don’t always mean big bucks

By  Tim Neely

Welcome to a new feature in Goldmine magazine: Sound Advice.

In each column, readers pose collecting-oriented questions to the Goldmine staff. Some of the questions will be general; others will be more specific.

Do you have a question for Sound Advice? We’d love to hear from you! We can’t guarantee that every question will be answered, but all of them will be read and considered. Click here to submit a question to Sound Advice now!

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Question: I recently was going through my parents’ 45s when I came across a copy of “Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys. The strange part was that “I Can’t Explain” [the 45’s B-side] is listed on both sides. I did not know if this was a misprint and if it was, how many have been known to be like this?

Answer: Yes, it’s a misprint. But no, it’s nothing to get hung about, to quote John Lennon. There are hundreds of confirmed, and thousands of unconfirmed, examples of mistakes such as this. Any time an item is manufactured by humans with machines invented by humans, errors can happen. It is a testament to how good the process is that very few of these actually occur.

The errors most frequently seen involve the labels of the records. As in the case of the reader’s find, the same label appears on both sides, though the record plays two different songs. Another error that comes up every so often is having the labels reversed; in other words, the A-side’s label is on the B-side of the record, and vice versa.

By definition, because most records come off the pressing plants just as they were intended to appear, this kind of error is rare. However, just because something is rare doesn’t make it valuable.

Both coin and stamp collecting have an entire subset of collectors who seek, and pay a lot of money for, unintentional errors — usually many times more for the errors than for the correct version. There is no similar group in record collecting. Errors such as the one in the question may actually be worth less than the stated value in the Standard Catalog of American Records 1950-1975, because most collectors see them as flawed rather than unusual or unique.

The exact numbers of accidentally wrong copies of records can’t be accurately determined — perhaps a few dozen, a few hundred or a few thousand, or maybe even only one. But there has never been any significant collecting interest in these errors.

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Question: I have an LP that is supposed to be Double Vision by Foreigner. It is correct on side 1, but on side 2 it has the Rolling Stones, a side of Some Girls, I think. Is this album of any special value? —Bettina DeLaney

Answer: This is a different kind of pressing error than in the first question. This time, it is the music that was messed up, rather than the labels.

Why does this happen? In the case of both Double Vision and Some Girls, both albums were popular at the same time in 1978, and both were manufactured at the same pressing plant, and undoubtedly, someone put the wrong part on the press.

This kind of error happens less often than reversed labels or duplicate labels. But once again, these records are seen not as rare collectibles, but as flawed. Thus they don’t have any significant value.

There are exceptions, and they usually involve picture discs — albums that have graphics on the entire record, not only on the label.

For example, in 1982, Columbia pressed some copies of a Judas Priest picture disc with the music of Neil Diamond on them, and those are collectible.

But usually, if the wrong music is on the right record, there’s very little market for it.

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9 thoughts on “Sound Advice: Misprints, errors don’t always mean big bucks

  1. I have an album I was saving only because I thought it might be worth something. I don’t like Billy Joel but I have a Holland pressing of his (1978) 52nd Street that (as mentioned above) the “music is messed up”. One side is Billy Joel, the other is Leonard Cohen. So you are absolutely sure that a miss pressing like this has no value? I have thousands of LP’s & have been collecting for years, this is the 1st time I’ve ever run across this. I only bought it because it was very cheap & a Holland pressing & thought I could unload it for more than I paid but finding this error I had hoped would increase the value.

  2. ok, I got a Kiss self titled album. the lables are correct, but side 2 songs are pressed on both sides. im not going to be a millionair??? shit!

  3. I have an alum in question, it is a copy of hot rod alley 33lp. it has the normal album on one side including My model A, little black coupe, stripped gears, stroker and the pursuit on one side and what sounds like the sound of music on the other side? is this worth anything?

  4. I am avid record collector and a few years back i found a mint copy of the LP Early Steppinwolf now what makes this LP odd is that on the B side its the label for Three Dogs Night captured Live at the Fourm but it plays the 20+ min version of the Pusher so the album play properly but is misprinted for years i have researched but have not been able to find another one any info would be great.

    Thanks
    Bootlegger

  5. I have a 45 of the song “Hang on Sloopy” but the title on the label is ” I want Candy”

    Any value?

  6. “For example, in 1982, Columbia pressed some copies of a Judas Priest picture disc with the music of Neil Diamond on them, and those are collectible.”

    I have one of the Judas Priest Screaming for Vengance picture discs with Neil Diamond Recorded on it. I bought from a record store in West LA in 1984. Does anyone know the value of it???

  7. I have a copy of “The Early Beatles” on Capitol records. It has the The music is correct for the album. All Beatles. Is that worth anything?

  8. I thought I typed this, but it did not show. Side 1 label is correct for “The Early Beatles”. Side 2 is a label for Wanda Jackson.

  9. that is too bad,

    i got my hands on a 7″ Whitesnake – Love ain’t no stranger the other day with same song and label on both sides … was expecting it to be worth at least 5$ lol

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