A foreign influence: The Who's hottest collectibles

Forget, for a minute, about The Who’s legendary album catalog. It’s been hashed over enough. To record dealer Jack Wolak, the real interesting part of The Who’s recorded legacy, at least from a collector’s standpoint, has to do with picture sleeves.

And not just any picture sleeves will do.

“For me, I do really well with foreign picture sleeves,” says Wolak, owner of Jack Wolak’s Rare Necessities. “For years, they’ve been really strong, especially for 1971 and back. Once you go forward from 1971, these releases don’t mean as much.” Wolak doesn’t see them as much as he used to. “From about the late ’80s into the early ’90s, I stopped seeing them as much,” says Wolak.

To Wolak, The Who’s 7-inch singles over that same period “ … sell as good as anybody, excluding The Beatles,” he explains. A Decca near-mint picture sleeve (32737) of “Young Man (Blues)”/”Substitute” is worth $500, according to the sixth edition of the Goldmine “Price Guide To 45 RPM Records.”

Promo records from The Who, especially from the MCA and Decca labels, are good bets as well for collectors, according to Wolak. A near-mint, white-label Decca promo version of The Who Sell Out can fetch $100 to $400 (DL 74950), according to the fifth edition of the Goldmine “Record Album Price Guide.”

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