By Susan Sliwicki
You might think with The Beatles capturing three of the spots in our Top 10 that this countdown might lack a lot of variety. Not so, my friends. We’ve also got big-ticket alt-rock demo tapes, a ska rarity on colored vinyl, a box full of Mozart, Italian psychedlia with naked band members pictured on the cover and a tag-team “country jazz” recording featuring guitarist Chet Atkins and his brother, Jim.
10. $5,497.17 — The Beatles, “Love Me Do”/“P.S. I Love You,” 45 RPM demo. Launching the Fab Four toward the band’s Market Watch hat trick this edition is a perennial favorite of collectors: Parlophone 4949, of which only 250 copies are believed to have been pressed. This one, which drew 24 bids, earned a vinyl play grade of Excellent Plus, but does have “lots of small light scratches but nothing deep and no scuffs,” the seller wrote. The single is accompanied by an “OK condition” generic Parlophone paper sleeve that shows some fading and a small tear running from the center. A previous Market Watch entry featured an EX-condition copy complete with an EMI Top Pop sleeve that sold for $17,234.97.
9. $5,801.76 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” mono LP. This seller describes this U.K. first-pressing copy of PMC 1202 as “immaculate,” then backtracks. Apparently, there is a 10 mm ‘feelable’ scratch on the vinyl (of which 3 mm is on the playing surface) and a 1 cm scuff on the final track of Side Two. “Aside from those two blemishes, both sides are unmarked and would grade as ‘NEAR MINT,’“ the seller writes before assigning a final “sound quality” grade of Excellent Plus. Sorry, sellers, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Forty-seven bids were exchanged before the auction ended.
8. $5,880.73 — Led Zeppelin, “Led Zeppelin I,” LP. If you like your “Led Zeppelin I” album covers with zippy turquoise lettering instead of the standard orange, this is the lot for you. Blessed with jet-black, mirror-like vinyl and an EX+/Mint- condition cover, this U.K. first pressing of Atlantic 588171 also features the original, Mint-condition poly-lined inner sleeve that warns “Plastic Bags Can Be Dangerous.” The record drew 58 bids.
7. $5,877.89 — Alton Ellis and The Ska-Talites, “Mouth A Massey”/“Ska Beat,” red vinyl 45 RPM single. “A truly phenomenal release from the heyday of ska and one of the most glorious moments of Alton Ellis,” the seller writes of this copy of WIRL 135 on the Pat’s Record label. “Only a chosen few have an original press of ‘Mouth A Massey’ in their collection. I have never seen it on red vinyl. Incredibly rare and in perfect condition.” The record, which is believed to have been pressed in 1965, graded NM. Nine bids were exchanged before the auction ended.
6. $6,631.73 — Leonid Kogan, “Symphonie Espagnole and Serenade Melancolique,” LP. Turquoise is a popular color on this week’s countdown. This time, though, it’s a turquoise-label copy of SAX 2329 on the Columbia label. This 1960 U.K. pressing earned a grade of EX+ for the cover and NM for the vinyl. “Lovely condition!” the seller wrote of this disc, which features works by Lalo and Tchaikovsky. Twenty-four bids were placed on the lot before the auction wrapped.
5. $7,877 — Various artists, “Mozart A Paris,” 7-LP box set. When a box set has been around since 1956, it’s not surprising that it may be a little rough around the edges. But like the proverbial book that shouldn’t be judged by its cover, the sole bidder on this lot was willing to look past the water and other damage to the exterior box in favor of the musical treasures inside. This mono, first-edition French pressing of Pathe DTX 191-197 earned an overall grade of VG+ for the vinyl and VG for the sleeve/cover.
4. $8,000 — Analogy, “Analogy,” LP. This copy of Analogy’s 1972 self-titled release has a lot setting it apart from the crowd. “This is a (sic) ultra-rare original Italian pressing of a killer hard guitar psych album, with haunting female vocals, similar to Jefferson Airplane,” the seller wrote. “Released only in Italy on a small private label. The fragile laminated cover is in amazing near mint condition. Crazy nude cover photo of the group in a field.” By the way, the vinyl earned a grade of NM. The lot drew 30 bids.
3. $8,100 — Chet Atkins and Jim Atkins, “My Brother Sings,” LP. Never heard of LPM 1932 before? Neither had the seller. “Here’s the deal. I have never seen this LP before. No one I know has had it or heard of it,” the seller confesses. “I’d say it’s by far the rarest Chet Atkins record and a pretty neat novelty in top condition.” That honesty didn’t dissuade potential buyers, who placed 37 bids. The record (which the seller says looked unplayed) and cover both earned grades of M-. We couldn’t find anything about this record that was supposed to have been released in the late 1950s, other than general presumptions that it was unissued. Kinda makes you wonder what the record sounds like, doesn’t it?
2. $9,162.12 — The Beatles, “Yellow Submarine,” LP. This stereo first pressing of PPCS 7070 drew 33 bids during the auction, and we’re pretty sure it wasn’t on the grounds of Ringo’s turn as lead singer on the title track. No, this is one of the U.K. Export Odeon pressings complete with the gold sticker, and it’s in beautiful NM condition, to boot. “Rumoured to have only been around 300 copies pressed up for export only, which makes it a very hard LP to locate, even harder in this fantastic condition,” the seller wrote.
1. $29,999.99 — Radiohead, “On A Friday,” “Shindig,” “Manic Hedgehog,” demo cassette tapes. We’re all for brevity in auction listings. But this listing barely flirts with the facts, let alone fool around with a lot of flowery language. This copy the seller provided for this lot was a mere 20 words. “Artist: Radiohead (a.k.a. On A Friday, Shindig). Title: First four Radiohead demo cassette tapes. Comments: Greatest band in the world.” Yet another example of it only takes one; this lot was sold to a buy-it-now bidder.