By Susan Sliwicki
It’s been more than 40 years since The Beatles broke up, but the Fab Four still have plenty of pull with collectors. Three of the group’s records occupy slots on this Market Watch countdown and account for more than one-third of the total online auction sales noted. But, there’s plenty of room for some newcomers and rarities, too.
10. $3,959.39 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” LP. Stereo copies of PCS 3042 remain popular among collectors, and all indictors suggest this is a first pressing, based on the gold and black label, the lack of a sold in the U.K. statement and the presence of Dick James credits. The seller determined this copy had an EX+ sleeve, but only would commit to a non-grade descriptor of “lightly played” vinyl. “As for grading this incredible vinyl, well, my first thought is thåat this is a 1963 press that is nearly 50 years old, and Side One plays to a Near Mint standard, in my opinion,” the seller wrote. “If it (Side 2) didn’t have the little skip, would have graded Excellent plus, but with it, I’ll leave that up to you to decide?” Forty-six bids were exchanged.
9. $4,064 — Bent Wind, “Sussex,” LP. This entry marks the first of a few psychedelic goodies in this edition’s countdown. Autographed by band member Marty Roth and Jud Buchanan, who “might be the producer of the album, not sure,” this VG+ copy of T-1015 on the Trend label is one of only 300 to 500 copies that were originally pressed in 1969, the seller wrote. “In my opinion, here is one of the top five Holy Grail of psychedelic albums from around the world,” the seller wrote. Sixteen bids were exchanged.
8. $4,347 — Brute Force, “King of Fuh” b/w “Nobody Knows,” 45. Described by the seller as a “subversive novelty tune with a pop-psych flip,” this VG+ copy of Apple 8 was produced by The Tokens but never officially released. “Seems crazy now, but this was recalled due to explicit lyrical content!” the seller wrote. Thirty bids were placed.
7. $4,350 — Nirvana, “Love Buzz”/”Big Cheese,” 7-inch test pressing. Grunge fans were happy to duke it out for this test pressing of Nirvana’s debut on the Sub Pop label. Believed to be one of 10 copies in existence, this pressing was given directly to the seller by the label’s owners when the record was first issued. It features a message on the B-side that reads “Why don’t you trade those guitars for shovels?” Thirty-three bids were exchanged.
6. $4,438 — Various artists, lot of 10 Columbia records, LPs. This seller let his photos do most of the talking, with the description disclosing only that the records in the grouping were English pressings on the Columbia label, and all were in NM condition. Featured records included Igor Markevitch’s performance of Tchaichovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” and “Nutcracker Suite;” a performance by Herbert Von Karajan and the Berline Philharmonic Orchestra of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4; Claudio Arrau’s performances of Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Maria Callas’ performance of great arias from French operas; Michael Rabin’s performance of Glazounov’s Violin Concerto in A Minor and Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in E Flat; and The Juilliard String Quartet’s performance of Schubert’s String Quartet No. 15 in G Major, Op. 161. Thirty bids were placed.
5. $6,489.67 — Shep Fields, “Waitin’ For The Train To Come In” b/w “I Can’t Begin To Tell You,” picture record. Here’s one you don’t see every day — what’s believed to be the second-rarest picture record on the Vogue label. This VG+ copy of Vogue R715 is stamped “factory reject,” but the seller wrote he could not find any audio defects and only a slight tear in the picture on one side. Why was it being sold? “I am a longtime record collector that once sold through Goldmine and record shows,” the seller wrote. “Because of financial circumstances, I must start selling off some of my long-held collection.” Seven bids were placed.
4. $6,987.15 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” LP. Copies of “Please Please Me” continue to be collector favorites, and sellers are looking for new ways to get buyers interested. For this seller, it was touting what he believed to be the superiority of the second pressing of this Mint Minus copy of PCS 3042. “Probably one of the best copies of this label variation in the world,” the seller wrote. “This second pressing, known to be a lot rarer than the first pressing Dick James Publishing credits … not seen this second pressing label variation for sale on eBay for years.” The seller went on to indicate that this treasure was deserving of a home in a top-line collection. Bidders apparently agreed, as 34 bids were placed before the auction ended.
3. $7,200 — Kaleidoscope, “Kaleidoscope,” LP. You can call just about any record a “Holy Grail” — which is just what this seller did for this VG/VG+ record of psychedelic music pressed in Mexico. “Only a few known copies are in the hands of collectors, never to see the light of day,” the seller wrote. Please note: The same could be said of the greeting cards I created in grade school and gave to family members. That said, 34 bids were placed.
2. $10,101 — Maitreya Kali, “Apache/Inca,” LP. Here’s the last of the so-called Holy Grail psychedelic records for this countdown. “This is an impossibly rare album; only about three known copies are known to exist,” the seller wrote of this double-album. The gatefold cover is in EX+ condition, while the discs grade in at NM. This record drew 24 bids.
1. $17,234.97 — The Beatles, “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You,” 45 promo disc. This Parlophone promo (R 5084) represented do-or-die time for The Beatles, and plenty of bidders were eager to add it to their collections. Believed to be one of only 250 copies pressed to promote The Beatles’ in October 1962, it was issued to deejays, music journalists and friends of the band. “If this single hadn’t been successful, they wouldn’t have gone on to record any more material with Parlophone,” the seller wrote. “Even though it only reached No. 17 in the charts, the record company deemed it a success, and they went on to record ‘Please Please Me’ and the album of the same name … and the rest, as they say, is history.” Forty-two bids were exchanged.