Beatles collectors, start your engines. Stanely Panenka is planning to sell what dealers and experts have called ?the best American Beatles collection on the planet.?That?s not just hyperbole. Among the 350 vinyl records, sleeves and other items in the collection are gems such as:
? A first-state copy of the stereo Yesterday and Today Butcher Cover album.
? A framed copy of the stereo The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons, of which only 750 were manufactured.
? The very first single to feature The Beatles released in this country, Decca?s ?My Bonnie?/?The Saints,? credited to Tony Sheridan And The Beat Brothers. Only about 20 copies of this record are known to exist (the collection includes the promotional ?My Bonnie? single as well).
? A Vee-Jay promotional single for ?Anna?/?Ask Me Why?; only six copies are known to exist.
? A 1964 promotional flyer issued by Holiday Inn in 1964 promoting The Beatles (?Smash Hit In Entertainment?) and the hotel chain (?Smash Hit In Travel?). Only 117 are known to exist.
Why would anyone want to sell off such a collection? It?s hard to argue with Panenka?s motive ? he wants to use the proceeds to buy a ?dream house? for his mother. ?It?s tough to sell because I?ve been collecting for 20 years,? he told Goldmine, ?but my mom comes above that.?
The first Beatles song Panenka heard was ?I Want to Hold Your Hand,? when it came on the radio in late 1963. ?That song made me a believer,? he said. ?Absolutely. I told my mom they were going to be bigger than Elvis [Presley].? In 1970, he finally bought his first Beatles record ? the Hey Jude compilation. In the late ?80s, he decided to become a serious collector, beginning by picking up a copy of Goldmine at a San Francisco record show and scanning the listings. By 1990, he?d been introduced to Perry Cox, a dealer and author of several Beatles price guides. ?From there my collection really began to blossom,? said Panenka, who estimates he?s bought half of his collection from Cox.
The other element that makes Panenka?s collection stand out is the quality; all of the records are in the best possible known condition. ?It was really tough to put this collection together,? he said. ?For me, VG++ wasn?t good enough. It?s hard to sell me a record because I?m very, very picky.? For example, the mono and stereo copies of the Yesterday and Today Butcher Cover aren?t just first-state, they?re also both still sealed. The stereo copy of Vee-Jay?s Introducing The Beatles ? the so-called ?ad back? cover, as the back cover has ads for other Vee-Jay records, is believed to be the only mint copy in existence. Rarities such as the stereo versions of Vee-Jay?s The Beatles & Frank Ifield (with its distinctive ?portrait cover?) and Songs, Pictures and Stories of The Fabulous Beatles are on offer in pristine condition. In fact, if you look through Panenka?s list, you won?t find a grade below near-mint. Nearly all of the records Cox has on his ?Top 30 Most Collectible Beatles/Solo Records? list are in Panenka?s collection.
View the collection at