Beatles and Bach duke it out for top auction honors

By Susan Sliwicki

The Beatles once sang “Roll Over Beethoven,” but they never really addressed J.S. Bach. Too bad, because this week, the classical master is the meat in a Fab Four record auction sandwich.

So, who else fared well on this week’s countdown?

1. $6,748.64 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” LP. It’s no surprise to find some incarnation of The Beatles at the top of our Market Watch countdown, and this week is … well, no surprise. The lads from Liverpool pick up our top spot with this stereo U.K. pressing of “Please Please Me” with the black and gold-label (PCS 3042), complete with the obligatory Dick James credits, which according to our seller, make it “super rare.” Of course, the same make and model of this record was just in last edition’s Market Watch, but it sold for far less at $3,750. Perhaps the seller’s explanation that the album had but one very careful owner was enough to persuade skeptics to loosen up their wallets a bit. The record was graded at Near Mint/Mint Minus, and has only a few faint hairline marks from taking the record out of its sleeve. The cover, which is graded “Excellent,” retains its original colors, is free of seam splits and only has storage wear.

2. $5,756.90 — Johanna Martzy, “Bach Solo Violin” 3 LPs. It’ll be hard to find this set in better shape, or at least that’s what the seller says for this original set of Columbia records (33CX 1286, 33CX 1287 and 33 CS 1288), which he termed a “holy grale (sic) item.” All of the records rate in Excellent Plus condition; all come with their original inner sleeves and all are first pressings. The covers range in condition from Mint Minus to Excellent plus, according to the seller.

3. $4,465.67, The Beatles, “Let It Be” box set. If you like your Beatles boxed up — and the 41 bids this lot got suggest that many of you do — this goodie is right up your alley. This Near Mint, 1970 U.K. set (PCS 7096), comes complete with the 136-gram disc, the original plain white inner sleeve, the original inner tray, the original outer slipcase and the original softback ‘Get Back’ book, which contains exclusive pictures and transcripts from the recording and filming of the album.

“This outstanding example looks like it left the store this morning, let alone 40 years ago,” the seller writes. The only flaw? A faint wrinkle in the lower right corner of the front panel and a few storage scratches. The record scores a Near Mint both in visual and play grading.

4. $4,340, Gwen Owens, “Just Say You’re Wanted,” b/w “Still True To You,” 45. Up next, the first of three Northern Soul entries on the countdown. This DJ copy on Detroit’s Velgo label (VO-002) may not be the finest copy in the land, but that didn’t stop bidders from vying for it for their collections. While neither side has skips or jump through, they both have some crackle in the background, and the seller rates the play grade at VG-. Although the labels are still good, they are a little dingy, as well.

5. Lynn Terry, “Till,” b/w “I Got A Good Thing Goin’,” 45. The seller clearly thought he had a good thing goin’ with this pressing on Detroit’s La Salle Records label (LA-0070 A, LA-0070B). The disc weighs in at VG-Minus condition, and the labels have light soiling. That’s forgivable, considering that this is a rare record, (at least according to the seller).

6. $3,250, “Sha-La-La” and “Love Will Find A Way,” 45. Little to be learned about this record, given the incredibly skimpy description provided by the seller. Apparently, though, knowing that this was a copy of United 351 from 1976 was enough for a buyer to plunk down three grand and change. The record is rated in VG++ condition, with staining on the label and some minor scuffs and writing on the flip side.

7. $3,150, J.S. Bach, “Sonates Pour Clavier et Violon,” LP. Featuring Michele Auclair on violin and Marie-Claire Alain on organ, this lot offers up sonatas one through six on the Discophiles Francais label (209 and 210). It also has a gatefold sleeve and textile cover, according to the seller. The records grade in EX to EX+ condition, and the while the sleeve pulls in an EX rating, but no original inner sleeves are included, according to the seller.

8. $3,050 — World’s Experience Orchestra, “The Beginning of a New Birth,” LP. We have a lot more questions than answers on this record, which had little if anything in the way of description. It’s touted by the seller as a private pressing of “spiritual jazz,” on the World Productions label. Side One (5105-20A) offers up the 23:30 track “The Beginning of a New Birth,” while Side Two (5105-20B) features the 14:45 track “The Prayer.” The cover and LP both earn VG++ grades from the seller.

9. $2,960 — Dead Weather, “Heavens” b/w “Electric?” 7-inch record. Another incarnation of this limited-edition, opening-night giveaway from Jack White’s Third Man Records, which occurred in 2009 in Nashville, Tenn.. This record is one of only 150 copies pressed for that event, and the cover is hand-painted by the group’s bassist, Jack Lawrence, according to the seller. A four-picture photo strips featuring each member of the band also is included.

10. $2742.08, Room, “Pre-Flight,” LP. Get ready for a psychedelic takeoff with this Deram rarity. The seller extolls it as an absolutely perfect mint copy of Room’s “Pre-Flight” (SML 1073) and calls it the jewel of the collection, but then goes on to say, “Naturally, I have just played it once and can confirm it is in PERFECT condition. It has the appearance of a virginal, brand-new record.”

Um, last time we checked, it’s only virginal if nobody’s punched the spindle, folks.


For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• Buy the brand new edition of “Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records 1948-1991, 7th Edition”

• Get the new John Lennon book: “John Lennon: Life is What Happens, Music, Memories & Memorabilia”

• Get the closest thing to the full Woodstock experience with the book “Woodstock Peace, Music & Memories.”

• Order the latest Ozzy book,“The Wit & Wisdom of Ozzy Osbourne” (estimated ship date: 9/30/2010) Very witty. Very funny. Very Ozzy.

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