Sound Advice: Trick is in the trail-off for rare Dylan album

By  Tim Neely

Question: I have CS 8786 [S], The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, listed in your book at $30,000 —“ ‘360 Sound Stereo’ ” in black on label (no arrows); record plays, and label lists, ‘Let Me Die in My Footsteps,’ ‘Rocks and Gravel,’ ‘Talkin’ John Birch Blues’ and ‘Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand.’ No known stereo copies play these without listing them, but just in case, check the trail-off for the numbers ‘XSM-58719-1A’ and ‘XSM-58720-1A.’ If the number after the dash is ‘2’ or higher, it’s the standard version.”

The numbers are the same, but there is no “-##” on the label. Also the songs listed are not present. It does, however, state the 360 stereo surround. Any idea on the value?

— via e-mail

Answer: First, you probably don’t have the $30,000 version of the album. Only two copies are known to exist of the stereo pressing, and both of those list the deleted songs on the label. That doesn’t mean there can’t be others that survive, but it would be quite a find if you come across one.

The problem is that you are looking in the wrong place. You need to check the trail-off wax – the black area on the record between the end of the last song and the edge of the record label — for the numbers. That is where the -1A number will be, and not on the label itself. In order for any copy of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan to be the rare original, the numbers in the trail-off wax must end with “-1A”.

The labels don’t help at all here, except in the process of elimination. One of the original pressings of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, if it’s in stereo, it will have the words “ ‘360 Sound’ Stereo ‘360 Sound’ ” in black — not in white as is more typical of mid- to late-1960s Columbia LPs — and with no arrows extending from those words.

If you have a stereo copy of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan that has the “corrected” tracks and the words “360 Sound Stereo” in black on the label, and there are no arrows protruding from those words, you still have an early pressing; in near-mint condition, it’s worth about $50. Most copies of the album on the market today are later pressings, and those are worth considerably less.

I was cleaning out my 86-year-old mother’s house. She has some 33 1/3 albums that I am going through, and I wanted to see if I should just donate them to my favorite charity or if any are worth anything more than $10. Following are the Elvis ones: From Elvis In Memphis, RCA LSP-4155; Burning Love, Pickwick 2595; and Elvis For Everyone, RCA LPM-3450, monaural.

— Karen T. Smith via e-mail

Answer: Let’s do the easy one first. Burning Love is a common album, as is virtually every Elvis Presley album on Pickwick. They were cheap when he died and they’re still cheap today. Even still-sealed copies don’t get double figures very often.

From Elvis In Memphis
might have a little value above the norm under two conditions: First, it has to be an original edition from 1969. It has to have the orange RCA label on the record, and the vinyl itself needs to be fairly rigid; in other words, it would not be a “Dynaflex” pressing from the early 1970s, many of which still had the orange labels on them.

Second, the overall package would have to be in near-mint condition. There is more to it than this, but the easiest way to describe “near mint” is “it looks like you just bought it brand-new in a retail store.” If it has any significant flaws at all, such as ring wear on the cover, scratches and scuffs on the actual record, etc., it’s not near mint.

If the record meets all these criteria, it might be worth around $40. It also was released with a bonus photo insert of Elvis, and if that is there, the value can double.

A monaural copy of Elvis For Everyone, if it is in near-mint condition, can be worth around $60. There was only one label variation of the mono version of this album, and it has the RCA Victor dog on it, the words “RCA Victor” in white, the rest of the print in silver, and the word “Monaural” at the bottom.

The key, though, is that the records must be in top condition to bring top prices. If they aren’t, you’re probably better off giving them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

Question: I have been a record collector for many years. Among my collection I have an original copy of I Fought The Law by The Bobby Fuller Four (Mustang MS 901, stereo, VG-NM copy). On the cover it lists the songs on the LP. Included is the song “She’s My Girl,” yet the song is not on the LP. Was this a misprint, and does this LP have any value?

— Rich Schutz, Glenview, Ill.

Answer: Yes, this was a misprint, but it was never corrected. In other words, as best as I can determine, all the front LP covers list “She’s My Girl,” even though the song isn’t on the record. So there’s no extra value attached to it because of that.

As for the album’s value, a near-mint copy in stereo can sell in the $150 range at retail, which is almost twice as much as the far more common mono version of the LP.

Question: I have a stereo copy of Jan And Dean Take Linda Surfin’, Liberty LST-7294. However, the spine reads “Mr. Bass Man Takes Linda Surfin’/Jan and Dean.” Is this a pretty common error, or do I have a rarity?

— Brian Rodriguez, Petaluma, Cal.

Answer: You do have a rarity, though just how rare it is remains an open question. It is definitely obscure. A couple years ago, a Goldmine reader spotted this variation in his own collection and was kind enough to send photocopies of both the mono and stereo versions of the LP’s spine, with both titles side-by-side, as visual proof that there not only was this wrong title on the spine, but that it was corrected later.

Had every copy of the spine had the wrong title, it would be a mere curiosity rather than affecting its value. But because it was corrected, it makes a difference. For now, I listed the value of the version with the “Mr. Bass Man” title on the spine with a 25 percent premium over the version with the album’s actual title. Thus, a near-mint stereo copy would be worth about $100 with the wrong title on the spine compared to $80 with the correct title. But that is subject to change.

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