One-offs make their mark on the online auction scene

By Susan Sliwicki

1. $15,845.52 — The Beatles “Please Please Me” LP. The seller touts this stereo, U.K. first pressing of The Beatles’ “Please Please Me” (PCS 3042) with the black and gold label as “without doubt the most collectable and sought-after of all the Beatles vinyl,” citing the reputed pressing of just 900 copies of the record. The buyers, who eagerly exchanged 60 bids before a winner was determined, clearly agreed.

The seller grades the labels at near mint, and says the record itself is glossy, portrays a mint appearance in normal daylight and offers “simply flawless and mint audio” and portrays “a mint appearance” in normal daylight. The Emitex liner also is present and in excellent condition, although it bears a few light creases. The glossy cover has minimal edge wrinkles, a small water mark, corner bumps and a light crease.

2. $12,000 — Various artists, collection of 21,650 45-RPM singles and EPs. Here’s a set of numbers to make your head (and turntable) spin: 21,000 records packed in 138 boxes, with releases spanning from 1949 to 1989. Need a few more figures? There are more than 40 boxed albums, about 100 picture sleeves without records, and approximately 80 percent of the collection is in Near Mint condition, according to the seller. The average price per record at this total? Just 55 cents. Sally Struthers couldn’t support a child in a third-world country on that amount per day anymore.

The seller, from Bristol, Conn., calculated the individual worth of the records in the collection and came up with a whopping $180,000 price tag, based on the Goldmine and Whitburn price guides. Makes us wonder why he didn’t sell at least a few of them off piecemeal.

Best of all is the variety: Big band, jazz, easy listening, country and western, folk, Motown, British Invasion, pop, doo-wop, 1950s-’60s rock, plus goodies from the ’70s and ’80s, too. A few rare labels make an appearance too, including Ember, Federal, Gone, Apt, Golden Crest, King and Fury, according to the seller.

So how did such a gorgeous collection get put together in the first place? A jukebox distributor from Greenfield, Mass., would receive records through the mail. He’d keep one copy and distribute the rest, which led him to amass a collection of thousands of 45s, the seller said.

3. $7,877.77 — Elvis Presley, five Sun-label 78s. Apart from guaranteeing that all five of these pressings are originals and free of skips, pops, cracks and writing, the seller didn’t say much about this lot. Instead, he posted photos of each one: Sun 209 “That’s All Right” / “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (VG++); Sun 210 “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine” / “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (VG++); Sun 215 “Milkcow Blues Boogie”/ “You’re A Heartbreaker” (VG++); Sun 217 “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” / “Baby Let’s Play House” (VG++) and Sun 223 “Mystery Train”/ “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” (E).

4. $5,100 — Madrigal, “Madrigal” LP. Anytime the words like “acid,” “beast,” “mystical” and “holy grail” get used together in a seller’s description, I get a little nervous in an “Uh-oh,Indiana Jones” sort of way. But that didn’t seem to slow down bidding (40 in all) for this still-sealed copy of Madrigal’s private-press, eponymous record (ARB 136), which the seller says is the last copy of this “acid garage psych velvet underground beast” from the band. An estimated 50 to 100 copies were produced, most of which never were distributed, and the album never has been reissued, the seller said. The record boasts it was recorded at “U.C. Studios,” which stands for “upstairs closet.” Gotta like musicians with a great sense of humor. Of course, some of that inspiration could be coming from the smoking materials the guitar player is depicted using on the front cover. The tracks include “Excursion,” the 13-minute “Stoned Freakout,” “The Ballad,” “Places,” “Tambula,” “Fallen Tree,” “Where You Going” and “B.B.’s Finale.”

5. $5,000, Mark Everett, “Bad Dude In Love” LP. Now here’s one of those records you want to check out if for no other reason than its title. Actually, this is a still-sealed copy of the 1985 solo debut of The Eels’ frontman Mark Everett, and it is one of only 500 made, according to the seller.

6. $4,845.96 —The Beatles, “Yellow Submarine” LP. This Odeon export U.K. pressing of “Yellow Submarine” (PCPS 7070) is part of a private collection of U.K Beatles records the Austrian-based seller has been commissioned to sell. The reason the Odeon label is used instead of Apple is because the Apple Records trademark was not yet registered in some overseas territories, including Portugal, where this 147-gram record originally was sold, the seller said. The labels are in Excellent condition, the cover rates Very Good and the record itself carries a visual grade of Very Good Plus, with a play grade of Excellent, according to the seller.

7. $4,000 — Blind Willie McTell, “Warm It Up To Me” b/w “Runnin’ Me Crazy” 78. If the seller is to be believed, this copy of Blind Willie McTell’s outing on Vocalion 02595 is about as close to perfect as you can come without actually being perfect. The seller grades it as EE+ for the A side and E+ for the B-side, due to a few light scuffs that don’t affect the sound quality and touts it as “one of the rarest and greatest of all McTell records.”

8. $3,9091.11 — Dead Weather, “Hang You From the Heavens” / “Are Friends Electric?” 7-inch. This package has so many goodies, it’s hard to know where to start. It’s an unplayed, Jack White painted, signed, first-pressing copy of TMR-001 A/B, one of 150 made and given away at Jack White’s Third Man Record store in Nashville, Tenn., on opening night. “On each test pressing, Jack White etched a little saying and the pressing number in the blank space on the record,” the seller wrote. This one reads “Giant Eagles … Tiny Elephants” on the A-side and “Walking All Over Creation” on the B-side. The seller also included the invitation to the event.

9. $3,827.77 — Scorpio And His People, “Theme From ‘The Movietown Sounds’”/“The Unforgiven” 45. If you like your soul so rare, you’ve probably never heard of it, here’s the perfect record for your collection. Or, at least those who swapped 29 bids online before a winner was declared probably thought so. The seller noted that this VG- copy of International Hits 712 has “2 killer sides” and that there were only two known copies before this one surfaced.

10. $3,500 — Led Zeppelin Classic Records 45s in a road case. Back for its third Market Watch countdown in a row is a 48-record set of 200-gram, 12-inch, 45 RPM Led Zeppelin records in a road case. This set, which the seller says was only played once — except for “Coda,” which never was played at all — is in Mint condition. Only 150 of these box sets in existence, the seller says. Apparently, they’ve all been making a break for the online auction circuit lately.


For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
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