Sound Advice: Is that butcher cover slick a big find or big fraud?

By  Tim Neely

We asked for your collecting-oriented questions, and readers, your response to our first Sound Advice column was overwhelming!

In case you missed it: Readers pose collecting-oriented questions to the Goldmine staff and we answer them.

Question: I have a Beatles butcher cover “slick” that was pasted over the Yesterday And Today trunk cover album. Were these slicks prevalent? Do they have any value? The LP looks like a perfect butcher cover.

Answer: In real life, the reverse was true.

Trunk covers were pasted over the butcher covers when Capitol Records withdrew Yesterday And Today in 1966, or they destroyed the originals. Depending on condition, sound (mono or stereo) and state (was the cover ever pasted over?), Yesterday and Today butcher covers can bring from the low hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. What the reader has, however, is most likely a reproduction. They first started to appear on the market around 1973, in an era when very few average folk had ever seen the butcher cover, much less owned one. I can remember ads in the back of Hit Parader magazine in 1973 selling these with a headline that read something like “Did Alice Cooper steal his ideas from this cover?” (Alice Cooper was known for his bizarre stage antics at the time.) The ad contained some of the negative reviews the cover received in 1966, and then asked the reader to send away for the poster, which was larger than actual size.

Actual butcher cover slicks do exist, and they trade in the $1,500 to $2,000 range. Reproductions are in the $5 to $10 range.

How do you tell a real slick from one of the reproductions? Obviously, if the image is larger than actual size, it’s a reprint. Assuming it’s the same size as a regular LP cover, one of the ways to check authenticity is in its texture. The original Yesterday and Today butcher cover used a different quality of paper compared to the typical LP cover or poster, so if your slick is smooth, it’s a reproduction. Also, real slicks that were not trimmed for use have markings from the companies that manufactured them at the upper right edge, either “QU LITHO IN US T-2553” or “B Printed in U.S. T-2553.” If otherwise in doubt, show the item to an expert.

Question: I found Susan Sliwicki’s article “Which Doors Releases Are Money in the Bank?” interesting, being a big fan. I do have a question regarding an LP of theirs that I own, but was not included on the list. It’s Elektra 5035, the quadraphonic version of their Best of album. It’s one of several quadraphonic LPs I purchased way back, when it was a new technology.

 — Mike Focar

Answer: The Best of the Doors wasn’t listed because it’s not rare; its probably the biggest-selling quadraphonic album in history. Unlike most other pop-rock albums issued in quad, The Best of the Doors, released in 1973, was issued only in quadraphonic; there was no stereo equivalent at the time. Thus, there is no special value attached to it, because it is in quad.

Though it wasn’t the only Doors best-of on the market in the 1970s, it was the most obvious. The Best of the Doors states its case more blatantly than 13 or the double set Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine.

Even though quadraphonic was a distant memory by then, The Best Of The Doors remained in print into the 1980s. It is known to exist on the Elektra black and red label that was used from 1984 to 1989. If you have the right equipment, even those 1980s pressings play in quadraphonic.

There is one exception: At some point, Columbia House licensed The Best of the Doors for its record club, and those copies are in stereo. They can be differentiated by the lack of “Quadraphonic” markings on the front cover; the prefix “6E-” rather than “EQ-”; and the red Elektra label common in the late 1970s through 1983. These are scarce. But regular quad issues of The Best of the Doors are easy to find.

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