Diversity rules the day in online record auctions

By Susan Sliwicki

Just when the record market might be getting predictable, along comes a week to really pitch things off kilter. We’ve got a toe-sucking Madonna picture disc, a rare Greek pressing featuring a group of Ethiopian instrumentalists, a box full of Mozart, and three — count them, three — entries from The Beatles. It’s like we’ve got everything but the kitchen sink. Wait … we’ve got that, too, in the form of a collection of 65,000-plus 45 RPM records.

1. $7,966.00 — The Beatles, IBC Sound Studios 12-inch acetate. Everybody’s always looking for something new about The Beatles, and The Fab Four never seem to disappoint. This time, it’s an acetate that features an unreleased version of “Paperback Writer” with different voice effects and unreleased mono mixes that feature some really out-there changes, including a different opening chord for “Hard Day’s Night.” The seller maintains this is the real deal.

“Producer Brian Carroll has confirmed his own writing on the labels and that it was probably put together for his own private use at the time,” the seller wrote.
Although it is very fragile, the acetate still plays in very good condition, the seller said. The acetate also came with its original sleeve.

2. $6,999 — Orchestre de chambre Fernand Oubradous, “Mozart A Paris,” 7-LP box set. According to the seller, this group of LPs (DTX 191 to 197, all in mono) is “the most desirable French set.” This box is listed in VG Plus condition, although the pictures accompanying the listing showed what appeared to be more distress than a VG-Plus grade typically should. The records come in at EX to EX+ condition, with a few light marks on two sides and some surface noise the seller attributes to the fact the records were pressed in France.

3. $6,500, a collection of more than 65,000 45 RPM records. If you love 45s, live near Lewisburg, Pa. (to meet the seller’s local pickup requirement) and money and storage are no problem, chances are good you’re kicking yourself for missing out on this lot. A single bidder walked away this sweet deal, which breaks down to less than 10 cents apiece for recordings from the 1960s through the 1990s, most of which were purported to be in Near Mint condition. These rock, pop, soul and country 45s run the gamut of artists and came from the collection of a jukebox dealer who had died. Some of the 45s were pressed on colored vinyl, and a lot of picture sleeves were found in the collection, although the records found inside the sleeves typically didn’t match up, the seller said.

“Most people pay large amounts of money for junk records on eBay, but these are in awesome condition,” the seller wrote. “Most of these look as though they were stock that never got used.”

4. $4,250 — Hailu Mergia & The Wallias, “Tche Belew” LP. Who knew rare Ethiopian instrumental funk could be such a hot ticket? A total of 24 bids were exchanged before a winner got this 1977 gem featuring Mulatu Astatke on the Kaifa Records label (LPKF 45). This Greek pressing earned a play grade of VG+, while the cover pulled in a VG grade.

5. $4,216 — Jimmy Burns, “I Really Love You” / “I Love You Girl,” 45. “This is a guaranteed original pressing of this record that I found a couple weeks ago in Chicago,” the seller writes. “This record is rare and coveted, a northern soul anthem for decades and only a small number of copies in circulation.”

The vinyl does have some surface marks and crackling. Pressed on the Erica label (E-02), “I Really Love You” earns a VG+ play grade, while “I Love You Girl” picks up a VG rating.

6. $4,083 — Charley Patton, “Shake It and Break It But Don’t Let It Fall, Mama” and “A Spoonful Blues,” 78. The seller literally had nothing to say about this record on the Paramount label (12869A and B) other than to assign it a grade of V+, according to the Les Docks record guide.

7. $3,946.36 — Madonna, “Erotica,” 12-inch picture disc. Madonna the Toe Sucker returns to the Market Watch countdown with this U.K.-pressed picture disc (W0138TP) we last saw in August for $3,053.90. According to the seller, this copy in E- condition is one of 138 that were unaccounted for when Warner Bros. withdrew the record from the market due to its controversial image. The package comes complete with the gold backing card with the official “Madonna/Erotica” logo in the top-left corner and the manufacturer’s original barcode and catalogue number “W0138TP 9362-40662-0,” both of which are missing in bootleg copies, the seller said.

8. $3,750 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” LP. A perennial Market Watch favorite, this pressing of “Please Please Me” (PCS 3042) features the rare gold stereo label, along with all the other expected hallmarks, including the Dick James Music reference, and the Angus McBean credit, the seller wrote. Other than saying it has some small surface scratches and “plays fine,” the seller declined to provide a specific grade.

9. $3,346.60 —Tudor Lodge, “Tudor Lodge,” LP. This well-preserved copy of a “psych jewel” on the Vertigo label (6360 043) had plenty of interested bidders before it found a new home. The record, which was played only once or twice, earned a Mint Minus grade, as did the massive poster foldout.
“There cannot be many as perfect as this, virtually as issued,” the seller wrote.

10. $3,331.58, The Beatles, “Yesterday and Today,” LP. Just like they did in the 1960s, The Beatles are dominating our record countdown, albeit for an entirely different reason this week.

This mono pressing (Capitol T-2553) housed in a first-state, unpeeled Butcher Cover was touted by the seller as coming from the personal collection of a Pennsylvania disc jockey, compete with the original Capitol Records recall letter. However, after being contacted by a Beatels memorabilia expert who confirmed the record was a First State copy but questioned the authenticity of the recall letter, the seller updated the posting to include that information.

And, while no one ever seems to worry as much about the actual condition of the vinyl as they do about the cover for this one (gee, we wonder why), this seller indicated the record grades a strong VG with light scratches and scuffs. Although the cover was free of wear, it does bear a light mark on Paul’s pant’s leg. The spine shows obvious puckering, there’s a bump to the upper left corner, and the back of the over has two small stains and three ballpoint pen check marks next to three song titles.


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