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Beatles rarity snags bragging rights in vinyl auctions

Where else but in our Market Watch would you find a picture disc showing Madonna sucking toes competing with a vintage Beatles, for the top spot in the countdown.

By Susan Sliwicki

Where else but in Market Watch would you find a picture disc showing Madonna sucking someone’s toes competing with a vintage blues record, a punk 45, classical music, and, of course, The Beatles, for the top spot in the countdown. Just goes to show that when it comes to record collecting, condition aside, desirability is totally in the eye of the beholder.


1. $9,788.13 — The Beatles, “Love Me Do”/ “P.S. I Love You” demo 45. Holy Beatles rarity, Batman! At nearly 10 grand, this goodie is not for the faint of heart — or checkbook. But what a goodie it is: a 1962 U.K. demo pressing of The Beatles, billed by the seller as “THE rarest U.K. Beatles 45.”

Only a few hundred copies of this record were specially pressed and distributed to deejays and reviewers before its official release in October 1962, according to the seller. Most were quickly discarded, and, as a result, only a handful of genuine examples survive today. The disc has the “oversize” labels with a large red “A” on the “Love Me Do” side (R-4949). Paul McCartney’s songwriting credit on both sides is misspelled as “McArtney.” Both labels, which grade in Excellent condition, are stamped with “The Parlophone Co. Ltd.” and “Demonstration Record — Not For Sale.” The disc has a few wispy hairline marks and earns a visual grade of VG+ and a play grade of VG, with light background noise. The record is housed in an original EMI promotional “Top Pop” sleeve; which is a little wrinkled but clocks in at Excellent condition.


2. $5,000 — Robert Johnson “Come On In My Kitchen” 78. Apparently, less was more when it came to this description. The seller which he had almost nothing to say about this record, other than it was graded VG, it was on Vocalion 03563, it was rare, and “sharp lbl ... E- in 78 collector parlance!” The $5,000 “buy it now” price was just fine with the buyer, too.

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3. $4,250 — The Fix, “Vengeance” b/w “In This Town” 45. “Lightning strikes twice!!!” the seller declared in the description of this punk rock recording, which also appeared at No. 10 in our last Market Watch roundup.

“I respectfully waited until the auction of the other seller’s Fix record was over before listing this as to not upset anyone so everyone gets a second chance at bidding on this incredibly rare record,” the seller wrote. He had plenty of takers, as there were 34 bids before a winner was declared. This copy on the Touch & Go label comes with a picture sleeve, and, the seller explains, “Records” is spelled with a “k” because the typesetter ran out of “c’s” when he was making the sleeve!

As we mentioned last week, only 200 copies of this record were pressed. The record grades in Near Mint/Mint Condition, and the picture sleeve has only minor wrinkle marks and a faint record impression.


4. $4,000 — Elvis Presley, “That’s All Right” b/w “Blue Moon of Kentucky” 45. If you love Elvis, chances are good his Sun 45s land on your want list somewhere. But at the $4,000 “buy it now” price for this copy of Sun 209 (which the lucky winner was happy to pay), budget-minded collectors may find The King is stuck on their want lists a little while longer. The well-cared-for original record grades at near mint to mint condition.


5. $3,800 — The Beatles, “Yesterday & Today” LP. This first pressing, Second-State Butcher Cover on Capitol ST-2553 attracted 49 bids before a winner was declared. The cover is in near mint shape with no writing, saw cuts, holes or seam splits. The auction price easily outstripped the book value as listed in “Goldmine’s Standard Catalog of American Records 1950 to 1975,” which puts the value for the 1966 issue of this record at $1,000.


6. $3,200 — Uncle Funkenstein, “Together Again” LP. It’s deja vu all over again for this Uncle Funkenstein record, which makes its second appearance in a row in the Market Watch countdown. This “impossible to find private press!” was purchased from a used record store in 1998. The jacket grades at Near Mint condition overall, and the vinyl itself varies from VG+ to VG++, with light paper scuffs on each side. There is a bit of writing on one label, however.


7. $3,053.90 — Madonna “Erotica” 12-inch picture disc. Purists argue that Madonna has no business in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but one bidder was happy to pay a Hall of Fame price for this rare picture disc, which shows Madonna sucking someone’s toes. Yup, you read that right.

It took 62 bids before a winner was declared on this Warner Bros./Sire/Maverick rarity. The seller bought the album (catalogue number WO138TP 9362-40662-0) from a dealer after learning they weren’t supposed to be released. Warner Bros. reportedly pressed 50,000 copies of the disc before recalling them due to a “related” foot/toe scandal involving Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Only 138 copies were unaccounted for. The disc is in Mint condition, and the package retains its double-sided insert and original plastic sleeve.


8. $2,950 —Lazare Levy Mozart sonatas, 10-inch. Now for something completely different, as the Monty Python catchphrase goes, we move from toe sucking to Mozart. This French pressing featuring Lazare Levy playing Mozart’s piano sonata in C Marjo and piano sonata in A major features an EX- grade cover and vinyl ranging from VG+ (Side 1) to EX (Side 2).


9. $2,867.50 —Dr. Z, “Three Parts to My Soul” LP. There are always one or two “never heard of ’em” artists whose records show up on the Market Watch countdown, and this week, Dr. Z wins that honor. But, according to the seller, if you’re a prog collector worth your salt, you’d know all about this 1971 release on the Vertigo label, “the rarest and most desired of all Vertigo releases.” This copy came from an collection that had been stored away, untouched, for 39 years and was listed in Mint/Mint Minus condition.

Touting it as “the pinnacle of U.K. prog collections,” the seller declared that everything from the vinyl and inner sleeve to the intricate fold-out were free of damage and wear.


10. $2,806 — Trio Tommasi, “Zamboni 22” LP. With the word “Zamboni” in the title, my brain went directly to “hockey” before my eyes had a chance to catch up and read that this is a very rare original 1960 pressing of the most-sought Italian jazz “hard-bop style” record on the Adventure label. The seller grades the record in Mint condition, with the cover at a very respectable near mint. (And, from what I can tell, no ice resurfacing machines were harmed in the making of the album.)

For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• People have come to rely on the book on 45 RPM record pricing: Goldmine® Price Guide to 45 RPM Records, 7th Edition
• Get a Goldmine collective on The Beatles, "Meet the Fab Four CD"
• And click here to check out other record price guides from Goldmine