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'B' stands for 'big-ticket' in online vinyl record auctions

If Market Watch were 'Sesame Street,' this roundup would be sponsored by the letter B: Beatles, Bowie, Billy Ward, Bo Street Runners, box lots and big bucks.

By Susan Sliwicki

If Market Watch were "Sesame Street," this roundup would be sponsored by the letter B: Beatles, Bowie, Billy Ward, Bo Street Runners, box lots and big bucks.

10. $4,575 — Little Willie Jones, “Nitty Gritty Music”/“That Was My Big Mistake,” 45 RPM. This obscure, VG++ condition record on the Power Jet Star label (45 JS 11) drew 17 bids before the auction closed.

Little Willie Jones Power Jet Star 45

9. $5,000 — Billy Ward and His Dominoes, “Billy Ward and His Dominoes,” 10-inch LP. Released in 1954 on the Federal label (Federal 295-94), this hard-to-find doo-wop record earned a grade of VG+ (VG for the sleeve) and a single bidder.

Billy Ward and His Dominoes record

And, as serendipity would have it, the record is from a group that once counted R&B superstar Jackie Wilson — who happens to be featured in this issue’s Discoveries column on page 20 — among its ranks.

8. $5,990 — Paul McCartney, “Put It There,” 45 RPM promo. According to the seller, only six copies of this 7-inch U.S.-issued Capitol promo survived, as most were destroyed when the record was withdrawn before distribution.

Paul McCartney Put It There Capitol records

No grade was given for this copy of 7PRO-79074, other than the statement that the seller’s statement that it appeared to be unplayed and showed only a hint of wear on the label.

7. $5,000 — Various artists, lot of 115 boxes of classical, swing, big band and jazz LPs. With roughly 90 records per box, this lot’s buyer only paid about 50 cents per record.

Jazz swing and big band LPs

Of course, even at that price, you’d better like that kind of music, or at least like collecting records, because that’s not our idea of a good impulse buy. The seller indicated the collection was found in the estate of an avid collector and was not cherry picked prior to sale.

6. $5,219.89 — Dr. Z, “Three Parts to My Soul,” 33-1/3. “This is an absolute essential and historic prog/psych record and virtually impossible to find,” the seller wrote.


“Just about the rarest Vertigo swirl out there, this is an original U.K. pressing of Dr. Z. According to legend, only 75 of these were sold before they were cut out and gone forever.”

This copy of Vertigo 6360 048 survived quite nicely. The vinyl graded in Excellent Plus to Mint-Minus condition (visual grade vs. play grade), while the sleeve drew a grade of EX+.

5. $5,700 — Boards of Canada, “XXXXXX,” Record Store Day promo, 12-inch 45 RPM single. This record is already drawing four-digit prices from collectors, and it hasn’t even been out a whole year.

Boards of Canada Record Store Day 2013

Released in 2013 on the Warp label, this test pressing mysteriously titled “XXXXXX,” drew 75 bids, much to the gratitude of the seller, who indicated he was just a “poor college student.”

David Bowie Amsterdam Sorrow picture sleeve

4. $6,100 — David Bowie, “Sorrow”/ “Port of Amsterdam,” 45 RPM with picture sleeve. This white-label pressing on the RCA Victor label (SP 3943) was manufactured in Mexico. Its few light surface marks and minor wear to the sleeve did little to deter buyers, who placed 35 bids.

3. $5909.37 — The Bo Street Runners, “The Bo Street Runners,” EP. Call us untrusting, but any time we see the words “Holy Grail,” “every collector’s dream” and “legendary” together in a single lot, and we haven’t heard of either the record or the artist, we get a little suspicious that someone is trying to pull a fast one.

Bo Street Runners EP

However, the 12 bids made on this copy of Oak RGJ 131 pressed in the U.K. in 1964 leads us to believe that at least one person besides the seller agreed with the description of this Freakbeat/British R&B release. The vinyl earned a grade of M-; the picture sleeve was graded in “Excellent ++++ shape.”

2. $6,200 — Various artists, bulk lot of 7,000 vinyl records featuring dance, house and techno music singles and LPs. Ordinary people have garage sales; apparently, deejays put their excess stuff up on eBay.

Dance record box lot

This seller even offered to throw in some DJ gear. If you’ve been jonesing to hear some Channel 2 or Kylie Minogue, this is the lot for you.

1. $6,197 — The Beatles, “Something,” demo single. Here’s one we haven’t seen in recent Market Watch history: a demo of The Beatles’ “Something” b/w “Come Together” pressed on the Parlophone Label (R 5814.)

Beatles Parlophone Something demo

Believe us, we’d remember it if we saw it before; the poison green color of the label is certainly memorable. The lot drew three bids.

“Quite Simply the rarest Beatles demo,” the seller wrote. “This is the hardest to find, especially in this condition.”

Beatles Parlophone Come Together promo

Apart from a few light scuffs that don’t affect play, the record earned a play grade of M-, and a visual grade of EX-/EX, while the cover graded in M- condition.

“Your paper currency is going to be ‘worthless.’ Buy Beatles gold, and invest in modern antiques,” the seller added. GM