By Susan Sliwicki
When it comes to this week’s Market Watch, “it’s all about soul,” to quote Billy Joel. Four Northern Soul records sold for a combined value of $21,772.05 this time. Sure looks like that bubble in the Northern Soul market hasn’t burst!
1. $7,406.05 — Fluorescent Smogg, “All My Life” b/w “Little Joe,” 45. This record wins as belle of the Market Watch ball this week. The seller didn’t offer up much information about this 45, other than to say it’s “super rare” and grades as a strong VG+. The photo shows the catalog number of UR 8309 and W.G. Records orange label.
2. $7,100 — Ray Agee, “Hard-Loving Woman” b/w “I’m Losing Again” 45. Thirty bids were swapped before a winner finally was determined for this “super-rare” copy of Soultown 104. Perhaps the record’s condition contributed to its interest; it is described as “super clean” and graded at VG++ to Mint Minus by the seller. By comparison, a copy in VG condition sold for $3,700 in 2006, according to Popsike.com.
3. $5,766.81 — The Beatles, “Please Please Me,” LP. This stereo, U.K. first pressing copy on the Parlophone label (PCS 3042) is the latest black-and-gold label copy to hit our countdown. Similar stereo pressings of this record have racked up some serious frequent flyer miles, appearing in three of the past five Market Watch countdowns for $15,845.52 (NM), $6,748.64 (NM/M-) and $3,750 (no grade listed). Despite how often a copy seems to turn up in online sales, the seller sticks by the assessment that “Please Please Me” is “by far the rarest and most sought-after U.K. Beatles LP. It is simply incredible!” The seller estimates that this record would have been one of the first 300 copies of the record pressed, based on the 1G/1R mother and stampers. The seller gave the vinyl a play grade of EX, although he disclosed a skip at the end of Please Please Me” that affected playback, but only at the very end.
4. $5,141.76 — The Beatles, “Yellow Submarine” LP. This export copy of “Yellow Submarine” on the Odeon label (Odeon PPCS 7070) comes complete with a picture sleeve. The vinyl clocks in at VG- condition, free of jumps but with some surface noise and clicks in certain sections. Minor spindle wear is evident on the center hole. The picture sleeve earns a VG++, but it does have some writing and shows a bit of wear and discoloration. The label earns a VG++ for Side 1 and an E for Side 2.
5. $4,975 — Michael Jackson, “HIStory,” lot including 12 still-sealed formats ranging from vinyl to laser disc. Michael Jackson was a truly talented performer, so don’t think were hating on M.J. But we doubt this lot, which received one bid and features 12 still-sealed versions of releases related to the King of Pop’s “HIStory” album, will live up to the hype its seller strives to generate. Time will tell.
Strike One: “True collectibles hold their value or increase in value,” the seller said. “Items of Michael’s that sold for $2,000 before his death are going for $16,000 or more after his death. One-of-a-kind items are worth their weight, if you know what I mean.”
The seller then lists auction sale prices for Michael Jackson-related collectibles ranging from an MTV award, drawings and tour and stage-worn clothing — but offered no comparables for recordings.
Strike Two: The seller suggests — again, without any substantiation but a lot of supposition — that each item’s numbering of 1 of 200 may have special meaning.
“If you are a music artist and the factory numbers copies, who normally gets the No. 1 copy?” the seller said. “For the White album by the Beatles, the first four numbered copies went to John, Paul, George and Ringo. Wouldn’t the first pressing off the line go to you know who?”
This lot includes: “Video Greatest Hits — HIStory,” U.S. Laser disc (#MLV 50123) and video tape (9V 50123); two-cassette U.S. small box (E2T 59000); two-cassette U.S. medium box (E2T 59002); two-cassette U.S. long box (E2T 59006); three-LP U.S. box set issued before it was recalled due to controversial lyrics (59000); two mini-disc set (E2M 59000); 2-CD sets, each numbered 1 of 200, from the U.S. (E2K 59000), Japan (ESCA 6200-1), Brazil (789.093-4/2-474709), Europe (EPC 474709 2) and Australia (474702 2).
6. $3,661 — Poets, “Wrapped Around Your Finger” w/ “Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow” 45. Here’s another helping of Northern Soul, this time a “pristine original copy” of The Poets (45-J2-1302) on the J-2 Records label. The seller grades the 45 at Near Mint, and says “d.j. copy” is stamped on the label, but we didn’t see that on the only photo shared with the listing.
7. $3,605 — Ellipsis, “People” b/w Gregory Moore 45. There’s little to share about this 45 on the Briarmeade label (BR-7604), other than the seller billed it as a “mega-rare original pressing” and gave it a visual grade of VG.
8. $3,560 — Leonid Koenig, “Beethoven Violin Concerto,” LP. Could classical music be the next Northern Soul? If the uptick of classical records on the Market Watch countdown is a fair indicator, the genre might be worth a closer look. It took 41 bids to declare a winner on this record (SAX 2386), a British first pressing on the Columbia label. The seller estimates the combined grade for the record and its cover at VG++ to Ex.
9. $3,383 — The Fix, “Vengeance” b/w “In This Town” 7-inch single. The seller offered but a barebones listing for this lot: it’s one of the 200 original, rare 1981 pressings made on the Touch & Go label, it grades in EX condition, and it had no reserve. That was enough to bring out 20 bids. We saw this record on our countdown twice this summer, where it sold for $3,227 and $4,250.
10. $3,300 — Led Zeppelin, still-sealed Classic Records 45 RPM Road Case containing 48 records.
Here’s another 2010 Market Watch favorite, the 200-gram, super-vinyl remastered Led Zeppelin records. This 40-pound box set is still sealed, and its discs have never been played, the seller said. Variations of this set have shown up frequently this year, selling for between $3,150 and $3,850.
For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• Get a Goldmine collective on The Beatles, "Meet the Fab Four CD"