Sound Advice: Do label variations affect Beatles promo value?

By Peter Lindblad

Robert Smith runs the mail-order record dealership Recordsmith at recordsmithonline.com. In this issue’s Sound Advice column, Smith answers two questions about Beatles releases.

Question:
I have had a one-sided copy of “I’ll Get You” by The Beatles in my collection for a number of years. Just recently I became aware that there are at least four different label versions of this promotional pressing.

I have the one that has Virtue Studios etched in the run-off wax, and the label has no printed “Xs” or quotes around the title. “Promotion Copy,” double-spaced, is to the right of the center hole, but I’ve heard that this usually says, “Promotional Copy.” The flip side has a plain white label with wide-spaced grooves. Disc is in VG to VG+ condition and the label has three large magic-marker notations on the label from a radio station.

Is there any difference in book values amongst the variations, and what about the “promotion” vs. “promotional” issue?

— Tom Buck

Answer: Regarding the question about the words “promotion” as opposed to “promotional,” Smith’s reply was, “All of the different versions of the record are really worth about the same money. ‘Promotion’ vs. ‘promotional’ makes no difference.”

As far it’s worth, Smith says it’s hard to gauge, although currently, the record is not worth what it used to be. “Record prices are in such flux that it’s probably about half of what it would have been two or three years ago.”

The economy and the vinyl-record market have a lot to do with that. Part of the problem is that there was a wave of people who started selling their collections three or four years ago.

 Still, this is, as Smith puts it, a “relatively uncommon” record. “As I like to say, you don’t find them lying in the street,” adds Smith. “But there’s a limited amount of customers for that kind of record, and at this stage of the game, you know, the people who really wanted them have got them.”

At its peak, probably five years ago, Smith estimates the record could have fetched $400 to $500.

Question:
I have the first Four By The Beatles EP put out by Capitol (EAP-1-2121). I don’t have the picture sleeve, but the vinyl is in fair condition and the label is very clean. Do you have idea what the value of this may be?

 — David McAllister

Answer: The disc in only fair condition would be worth no more that $10, according to Smith.

David’s problem is twofold: One, he only has the record, and as Smith says, “The cover is really the thing that’s most valuable;” and two, the condition. “At least by the description, it sounds like it’s not in very good condition,” says Smith.

Interestingly, there are not a lot of these around. Still, Smith says, “Even though these things are relatively scarce, you can find them.”

If David had the picture sleeve as well, that would increase its value five times, according to Smith. “If you had a cover in good condition, you’d probably get $40 or $50.”

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