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Private, test pressings strike a chord with online record buyers

Test pressings stepped into the spotlight with this edition of Market Watch. What other goodies hit our countdown? Well, you’re just going to have to keep on reading if you want to find out.

By Susan Sliwicki

Test pressings stepped into the spotlight in this Market Watch — and they brought some jazz, Northern Soul, punk, funk and a famous banana along for the ride. What brought top dollar at online record auctions? Well, you’re just going to have to keep on reading.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Goldmine compiles its Market Watch countdown from eBay auction results and seller descriptions. Any images shown with Market Watch stories are the same ones that appeared with the seller’s description of the lot.

The Dead Weather Hang You From The Heavens Are Friends Electric test pressing

10. $2,227 — The Dead Weather, “Hang You From The Heavens”/“Are Friends Electric,” 45 test pressing. Different models of these one-of-a-kind test pressings on Jack White’s Third Man Records label have appeared in the Market Watch countdown before, so it’s really no surprise that another has achieved that same feat. This brand-new, never-played copy features an unsigned cover — the seller thinks it may have been put together by Jack Lawrence, based on other test pressings he created — and its own photo booth picture, of which no two are alike. Only 150 pressings were made, and they were only available at the opening night event of Third Man Records’ store . Twenty-two bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

9. $2,499.99 — The Hollyridge Strings, “The New Beatles Song Book,” LP test pressing. There was precious little disclosed about this lot by the seller, so your guess is as good as ours as to history, provenance or past results. The few details that were disclosed: Its catalog number (CP-7528), the fact that it was a Japanese-only pressing; and that it features red vinyl. The cover, which has a stain on the front, earned a grade of VG+, while the vinyl itself graded EX. Only one person placed a bid.

People's Pleasure with Alive and Well Do You Hear Me Talking To You

8. $2,600 — People’s Pleasure with Alive and Well, “Do You Hear Me Talking To You?” LP. “Here it is. one of the rarest, if not the rarest, funk albums. If you have been waiting for this, now is your chance. This copy is in amazing condition, quite possibly the best to ever turn up. A true holy grail piece,” wrote the seller about this copy of BS-1000 on the Brownstone Records label. The stereo pressing earned a grade of NM for the vinyl and the cover, which was still in its shrink wrap.

7. $2,007 — Velvet Underground and Nico, “The Velvet Underground and Nico,” LP. If you like your bananas unpeeled — well, at least as far as this Andy Warhol-designed cover goes — this record is for you. This 1967 U.S. pressing on Verve (V-5008) features the “mega-rare Emerson Torso” cover, a perfectly untouched banana sticker and the original Verve inner sleeve, according to the seller. The cover earned a solid grade of EX+, as did the vinyl. Twenty-five bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Velvet Underground And Nico Andy Warhol banana cover
Georges Arvanitas Quintet Soul Jazz

6. $3,205.55 — Georges Arvanitas Quintet, “Soul Jazz,” LP. We already knew French pressings of classical records were a hot deal on previous Market Watch countdowns; now it appears that jazz records may be ready to follow suit. Touted by the seller as “fantastic hard bop music on Jazz Messengers’ sounds,” this French-issued LP was put out on the Columbia label (FPX 193). Both earned a grade of Mint from the seller. Twelve bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

5. $3,447.36 — The Thought Criminals, “Hilton Bomber”/“I Won’t Pay”/ b/w “Fun”/“O Bleak TV,” 7-inch EP. Punk fans, this one’s for you! Featuring the signature of Ken Doyle (aka Derik Wapillspoon) on the back of the insert, this Australian pressing on the Doublethink label (DTDT1) came with the original paper inserts. It earned a grade of VG+ for the vinyl and 6/10 for its sleeve, which had age marks and some record impressions, according to the seller.

The Thought Criminals
The Hamilton Movement

4. $3,999.99 — Hamilton Movement, “She’s Gone”/“Look Out,” 45. Ah, sweet Northern Soul, we knew you’d arrive here eventually, and with this lot, in Mint Minus condition, to boot. “You won’t find a better copy,” the seller says. “I won’t dress this record up in hyperbole. If you don’t know it, you won’t be bidding. As far as I know, there has never been a clean copy of this record on eBay.” That was enough of a sales pitch for a single buy to place a “best offer” bid.

3. $4,000.01 — Georges Enesco, “Enesco Plays Bach Sonatas,” 3 LP set. This 3-LP box set on the Continental label (CLP 104/105/106) is a first-pressing release, not a Japanese reissue, and. it was recorded in New York in 1949 and released in 1950, according to the seller. Besides the music, which we’re certain sounds fabulous, the buyer got the original red felt box with its embossed golden letters. The box did have visible signs of handling and a crack on the bottom of its back, but it’s all original, and the records inside are in a lovely unaffected EX condition, with just a few light marks and a visible pressing fault.

Georges Enesco Bach

2. $4,005.29 — Phantasia, “Phantasia,” LP. We’ve consistently seen privately pressed records do well, but this is the first time we can recall that Phantasia has graced the Market Watch countdown with its 1971 pressing on the Damon label (D-12981). Of course, that could be because the original pressing was just 25 copies. The cover has a 5-inch seam split at the bottom, and a 2-1/2-inch seam split at its top, as well as a stain or two or some ringwear. The record itself is shiny and earns a VG+/VG++ grade from the seller. “It sounds great!!! You will not be disappointed” the seller said. Eight bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.


1. $5,117 — Jutta Hipp and Zoot Sims, “Jutta Hipp and Zoot Sims,” LP. The seller shared next to nothing about this record, other than it’s a mono pressing on the Blue Note label (Blue Note 1530), its labels show the Lexington address, and the vinyl grades at EX to NM, with the cover a conservative EX.

Jutta Hipp