One of the most dreaded e-mails a Beatles dealer or expert can receive goes something like this: “I just got my mom’s copy of Introducing The Beatles that she purchased back when she was a kid. What’s it worth?”
Of course, there is no simple way to answer such a question. Before determining the value, you might have to go through a dozen or more questions. Information, prices and images of Introducing The Beatles are spread over four pages in Perry Cox & Frank Daniels’ “Price Guide for the Beatles American Records.”
First, you must determine whether or not the record is counterfeit. Does “The Beatles” appear above or below the center hole on the label? If the group’s name is below the center hole, the record is a fake, most likely pressed in the ’70s. There are other things about these records that indicate they were not pressed in 1964, such as improper trail-off area markings and thin vinyl. But, there is no need to go any further once you determine that “The Beatles” is below the center hole.
Because some counterfeits have the group’s name above the center hole, additional questions need to be asked before you conclude that the record is legitimate. If the label has a colorband, does it contain the color green? If the colorband is missing the color green and has a jagged line between red and purple, the record is a fake. If the label is black without a colorband, does it have a large white VJ brackets logo? If yes, the record is a fake.
If the record is fake, chances are the cover is too. But, because covers and discs can get mixed up over the years, one should also test the cover. Does the cover have a blurry image of the group? If yes, then the cover is a fake, probably from the ’60s. Does the cover have a brown border ? If yes, then the cover is bogus.
Unfortunately, most counterfeit covers closely resemble the real thing. This is particularly true of stereo Version One covers that have the song titles “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” on the back. Legitimate Version One stereo column back covers are extremely rare. There are two tests to spot the bogus covers.
The “flap test” requires inspection of the inside of the cardboard jacket. Does the cover have either no flaps, ½” flaps at the top and bottom or a ¼” flap only at the bottom? If so, the cover is a fake. Legitimate Version One stereo covers have a ¼” flap at both the top and the bottom.
The flap test is not an absolute rule for all covers. Legitimate Version One mono covers without flaps have been found with the later Version One mono pressings with the brackets logo (more on that later). In addition, there are some legitimate Version Two mono covers with no flaps.
The “Honey test” requires the inspection of the back cover. Many counterfeit covers have back slicks with the same imperfections. The most noticeable flaw appears in the word HONEY in the song “A Taste Of Honey.” Are the letters H and the E missing ink in their upper left parts? If so, the cover is a fake. If not, the cover may or may not be legitimate. While the “Honey test” does not always work, it is often useful in weeding out albums still in the shrink wrap.