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Market Watch: Eclectic offerings captivate record buyers at online auctions

We’ve got a something for almost every collector’s tastes in this Market Watch countdown: a withdrawn release, a boutique pressing and even an old-time rarity.

By Susan Sliwicki

We’ve got a something for almost every collector’s tastes in this Market Watch countdown. Don't believe us? We've got a canceled hard-rock 45, a boutique-pressing of a psych-folk LP, an incredibly rare spoken-word 78, a spiffy funk single and of course, a pricey frequent flier. But what captured the top spot? Guess you'll have to keep reading ...

5. $3,221.66 — Status Quo, “Fakin’ The Blues” b/w “Heavy Daze,” 45. This hard-rock U.K. 45 was pressed on the Vertigo label (QUO 31) — but it never was supposed to make it into collectors’ hands.

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“I understand that the release of this was canceled back in 1991, making it an impossible-to-find single,” the seller wrote. This copy featured a NM disc that appeared to the seller to be unplayed, and an EX cover that shows some creasing.

Thirty-six bids were exchanged before a winner was declared. But, if you’re dying to hear the songs themselves, you can find “Fakin’ The Blues” on the 2002 Spectrum record “Rock ’Til You Drop;” “Heavy Daze” is included in the 4-CD box set “Rockers Rollin’: Quo in Time.”

4. $3,278.36 — Peter Howell and John Ferdinando, “Alice Through The Looking Glass,” LP. Alice proved to be a popular musical inspiration in the late 1960s for more than Jefferson Airplane. This rare, U.K.-pressed, psych-folk LP was the inaugural outing for Howell and Ferdinando, who later collaborated as Ithaca and Agincourt.


“Released in 1969, only 99 copies were made,” the seller wrote. “However, it’s very likely only a handful are still in existence.”
This NM copy bears the catalog number SNP LP 11/12. The cover, which shows some yellowing and light creasing, is in VG++ shape. The package includes a rare H&F Recordings calling card.

Same-batch pressings of this LP brought $1,322.83 in June 2010 and $982.75 in September 2010, according to Numbered editions of this record, pressed in a 1,000-LP run by 10th Planet in 1969, don’t fare nearly as well, drawing between $35 and $78 in sales recorded by between 2006 and 2010.

The original cover (above) was printed with only black ink. The 10th Planet pressing’s cover shrunk the original Alice sketch, added smiling green trees at top of the front cover and a series of eight cards marching along the bottom of front cover.

3. $3,418 — Jimmy Lane and the Incredible 5, “Deal With It” / “What Kind of Man.” 45. Here’s another limited-number pressing, this time featuring soul-funk on the Little Records label of Schenectady, N.Y.


The VG/VG++ 45 originally was pressed in a batch of 500 copies in 1969 and carries the catalog number VSS-82043. It was part of a lot of records purchased near New York City, and, for the seller, one of the more appealing offerings.
“There were a number of Robert Barry Vibrasound Studios records in the lot … square dance, country, garage band, funk, soul and rock,” the seller wrote. “Unfortunately, there were multiple copies of the square dance record … but only one copy of this rare funk gem!”


2. $3,999 — Sun Yat-sen, “King of the King,” 78. Unless you speak Cantonese, chances are you won’t take a lot away from hearing this recording. However, if you’re buying it, it’s probably not because you wish the former Chinese leader would finally release his speaking engagements via iTunes.

This EX-condition 78 was made in China in 1924, under China post Shanghai, and it is the only known vocal recording of Sun Yat-sen, the seller wrote.

“You may only seen it at the Museum in China,” the seller wrote. “Only few copy been survive nowadays (sic).”

1. $4,055 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” LP. Clocking in at 2,372 words, this seller’s pitch earns the dubious honor of longest sales pitch this countdown, perhaps in Market Watch history.


On to the record. This stereo EX++++ copy of PCS 3042 is a first U.K. pressing. The seller was quick to point out how copies of “Please Please Me” are eBay regulars, then cited a Record Collector magazine article listing the 200 rarest U.K.-pressed records, of which this rated No. 12 at an estimated value of £3,000.

“This is only a suggestion, and as prices for black and gold stereos in the last year in similar condition to what I have here on auction have been reaching between £10,000 and £14,000,” the seller wrote. “This ultra-early yellow and black stereo variation will probably double the basic £3,000 variation in the very near future as more collectors around the world become are that this pressing does actually exist and that only 1,000 or so were made (if that) with this tiny 33-1/3 credit.”