Sound Advice: Does popular equal valuable in collecting?

 By  Dave Thompson and Joyce Greenholdt
The Jackson 5 hit it big with
The Jackson 5 hit it big with “I’ll Be There” b/w “One More Chance,” their fourth consecutive No. 1 single and the most successful single of Motown’s “Detroit” period. Photo courtesy of Motown.
Question: I have a 45 rpm of The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” from 1970, and I’m trying to find out what it’s worth. I found out that this one was on the charts longer than any song in Motown’s history! So I figured it must be worth something.
— Shelly

Answer: Motown 1171, “I’ll Be There” b/w “One More Chance” marked the Jackson 5’s fourth consecutive #1 single and, indeed, the most successful single of Motown’s “Detroit” period. However, this means that Motown made lots of copies, and a lot are still around today. A copy in Near Mint (almost perfect) condition is worth around $8 today.

Question: As a collector of late mono LPs, I could not find a listing in the latest Goldmine price guide for these albums (I believe they are only available in mono as promotional copies). They are: John Hammond’s Southern Fried; Andrew Hill’s Andrew!!!; Vanilla Fudge’s Renaissance; Dr. John’s Gris-gris; Heavy Soul, an Atlantic Records soul compilation; and Mabel Mercer and Bobby Short’s At Town Hall. Any idea what they might be worth?
— Peter Kirchheimer

Answer: Late mono releases are a fascinating area to collect, and one which too few people pay attention to. The reason for this is simple — whereas early (pre-1967 in the U.S. and ’68 in the U.K., is the rule of thumb) mono releases often offer the chance to hear an alternate mix, the later American promos are simply mono reductions of the regular stereo version and were aimed at radio stations that had yet to switch to stereo. In terms of pricing, there is usually very little difference between a promo and stock copy of an album, unless the artist itself is one who already attracts attention — of those you listed, Dr. John would probably attract a small premium; the others, less so.

Question: We recently found in a Readers Digest boxed set of records that one album has the wrong label on one side. It is record 1, side 2, which should read “Greatest original hits of the ’50s and ’60s Vol. 2,” but it says “The best of the Crusaders side 4.” The songs, though, are actually correct. Is this of any value?
— Leanne

Answer: Unfortunately, these kinds of errors are a lot more common than you might think and have very little value beyond the curiosity factor. Occasionally a mislabeled release will spark the collector’s imagination, but only if either the label or the record (or both) is an artist who is already considered collectible — an Elvis record mislabeled as David Bowie, for example. But even then, any premium that may be attached to the record’s value is for the novelty of owning such a thing, as opposed to a reference to rarity.

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