Although in recent months the price of shares and investments have plummeted the value of rare and collectible vinyl has — like gold — remained firm.
This is especially the case at the higher end of the market, and there remains no more collectible band than The Beatles, whose mint records are still hotly desired by collectors around the world. In this article, Ian Shirley, editor of Record Collector’s Rare Record Price Guide, lists the top 30 collectible records (albums in capital letters, singles in lowercase lettering) pressed in the U.K.
30. WITH THE BEATLES (Parlophone PMC 1206) 1963 $230
You need to don your Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat for this one as this is a contract pressing farmed out by EMI to Pye to help meet demand for Beatles product. It appears that these some Beatles contract pressings for singles and albums were undertaken not by Pye but Oriole Go here to get the latest: http://www.select45rpm.com/fixed/contract.html. It appears that some Beatles contract pressings for singles and albums were undertaken not by Pye but Oriole. These records are thicker than EMI pressings; go get to comparing them…
29. WITH THE BEATLES (Parlophone PCS 3045) 1963 $270
The Beatles’ second album issued in 1963 sold by the millions to a U.K. audience so enthusiastic about the band that a new word was coined — “Beatle mania.” Albums were played to death, so finding a mint copy of one of the smaller number of stereo copies pressed with a “Jobete” publishing credit for “Money” is very hard indeed. Second pressing with “Dominion, Belinda” publishing credit for the track “Money” is worth $200.
28. BEATLES FOR SALE (Parlophone PCS 3062) 1964 $290
Mint copies of this album in mono/stereo fetch around $85/$170, but there are some copies pressed in 1965 that contain a printing error on the label of Side 1 that lists Track 2 as “I’m A Losser” rather than “I’m A Loser.” There are also some copies that feature the song credit “Northern Ssongs” for the track “Eight Days A Week.” Someone at Parlopone obviously had reallllly poor proooofing skills…
27. LET IT BE (Apple PXS 1) 1970 $290
This box set was only available in the U.K. via mail order and never commercially sold in record shops. It is hard to find mint copies of the box as it was delicate and prone to damage, although it did a good job of protecting the 160-page “Get Back” book inside, which is chock full of photos from the film and recording session. There was also the Let It Be album in there! A copy with an Apple promotional poster sold on eBay for a whopping $2,400 in 2006, although in these times of economic hardship, one has not sold that high since!
26. THE BEATLES MONO COLLECTION (BMC 10) 1982 $340
This is actually pretty good value for the money. For your $340, you get all 10 Beatles albums — in mono — encased in a nice red presentation box. This set was pressed in 1982.
25. SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (Parlophone PMC 7027) 1969 $340
Mint copies of the standard one-band U.K. pressing in mono or stereo are worth $170/$185, but this curious pressing from 1969 fetches up to $340. It contains the mono matrix YEX 637/8 but plays in stereo. Maybe Parlophone thought that no one wanted mono by 1969! Some mono 1967 copies that omit the song credit for “A Day In The Life” on side 2 ($290) are easier to spot of course…
24. HEY JUDE (Parlophone CPCS 106) 1970 $420
Although the album Hey Jude sold millions when issued in America in 1970 in the U.K., it was only pressed up as an export album for sale overseas. Thus, although a U.S. copy is common, a U.K. pressing with the silver/black label boxed EMI logo and the magical CPCS 106 catalog number is worth $600. If it has a dark green label that is a second pressing ($250) and light green is the third ($20). There are some copies with a label mispressing on Side 1 listing “Paper Back Writer” instead of “Paperback Writer” and “Revolutions” instead of “Revolution.”
23. REVOLVER (Parlophone PMC 7009)1966 $420
Although this album sold millions upon release in the U.K., mint copies of the first mono pressing are hotly desired by Beatles collectors. It is, after all, one of their best albums! To verify that you have a first pressing, the record will have the pressing matrix of XEX6061-1 on Side 2 — black and yellow labels, of course, with “The Gramophone Co. Ltd” and “Sold in the UK…” label text.
22. SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (Parlophone/Nimbus PCS 7027) 1984 $420
In 1984, U.K. stereo enthusiast magazine Practical Hi-Fi arranged to reissue a number of classic albums on high-quality Nimbus supercut pressings on 120-gram vinyl. It is estimated that there were only around a thousand copies of each title pressed that could only be bought via mail order. Along with Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Miles Davis Kind Of Blue, Sgt. Peppers also got the five-star treatment.
21. From Then To You (Apple/Lyntone LYN 2154) 1970 $500
Released after the Beatles split, this Apple LP pulled together all of the free Beatles Christmas records sent out on flexi disc to paid-up fan club members from 1963 to 1969 that ranged from songs, pantomime and musical collages. The record could only be ordered from the fan club and the U.K. edition is now very hard to find in mint condition. CD reissue has not affected value at all.
20. The Beatles Second Album (Parlophone CPCS 103) 1966 $590
Pressed in the U.K. for export to Europe to showcase these “electrifying Big-Beat performances,” this record has yellow and black Parlophone labels. An obvious point, but there is no “Sold in UK subject to resale price conditions…”on the labels as these “export” copies were not sold in the U.K. There is a pressing from 1969 that has one EMI boxed logo ($210) and one from 1970 that has two! ($170).
19. RUBBER SOUL (Parlophone PCS 3075) 1965 $590
Basically, someone at Parlophone couldn’t spell and typed “Norweigian Wood” on the yellow and black label of Side 1 of this LP rather than “Norwegian Wood.” It went off to the printers, and the the error was spotted, but not before some escaped to market. It was spelled perfectly fine on the sleeve! So, if you own an original U.K. pressing, take a look at the label, because you never know…
18. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MUSIC MEDLEY (EMI SPSR 401) 1976, $680
To promote the upcoming 1976 double album Rock N Roll Music, EMI sent out this 7-inch promotional single. One side contained a medley of 11 Beatles songs edited together while the B-side was one continuous test tone lasting 3 minutes and 30 seconds. This 7-inch has a white label with no writing and can only be distinguished by the matrix number on the “A” side which is SPSR 401 and “LPFB” on the “B” side.
17. Something New (Parlophone CPCS 101) 1965 $760
One of the first Beatles LPs pressed up for export outside of the U.K., and it went mostly to Sweden. The important thing to look out for is the difference between this first pressing with “Parlophone Co. Ltd” on the labels and the second pressing of the same LP which had “Gramophone Co. Ltd” on the labels. Although catalog numbers are exactly the same, this is the difference between $760 and $550. Oh, there is also a mispressing with “Sold in the U.K…” on the label, which patently should not be there as it was not being sold in the U.K.($850).
16. BEATLES VI (Parlophone CPCS 106) 1966 $850
This is here as there is a misprint on the black and yellow label with the “sold in UK…” text, which should not be there as this was pressed for export and so, “sold in the UK…” should not be there. The “standard” export issue of this album by “The World’s most popular foursome” without a pressing mistake on the label sells for $590.
15. Abbey Road (Parlophone P-PCS 7088) 1969 $850
Contract pressings were farmed out to rival labels like Decca and Pye due to EMI’s pressing plants being able to satisfy demand for Beatles product. This Decca pressing has a silver-and-black label and no stamper (G or D) positioned at 3 o’ clock to matrix number. The label has a circular impression 15mm from outer edge. Not as rare as yellow-and-black label versions higher up this chart…
14. From Me To You/Thank You Girl (Parlophone (45-) R 5015) 1963 $850
Although The Beatles were white hot by early 1963 and 1964, promo records were, of course, still issued and sent out to journalists and radio stations. Copies of all U.K. promos from this period are worth in the region of $850 each. Copies of “From Me To You”/”Thank You Girl” come with and without the defunct “45” prefix that does not appear on the single. This was previously used to distinguish 45 rpm records from 78 rpm records. “She Loves You,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “A Hard Day’s Night” are worth the same.
13. Something/Come Together (Parlophone R 5814) 1969 $850
Although the guide price for most U.K. Beatles demo 7-inch singles from “Ticket To Ride” to “Lady Madonna” issued between 1965 to 1968 are in the region of $500 to $680, the price for George Harrison’s “Something” is $850. This is not due to the greatness of the song — and it is great — but the fact that this was the last demo and single released on Parlophone before Beatles records began to be issued on their own Apple label. The demo must have a green label, and if the center is missing, then the record is worth $400.
12. Let It Be (Parlophone P-PCS 7096) 1970 $1,100
Another very hot Beatles export LP with labels that have the black and silver EMI box at the bottom. Sleeves have a PPCS 7096 catalog number on the spine of the sleeve and a Parlophone logo reproduced on the back cover. There is a 1970 reissue that is obviously very similar but has just one EMI boxed logo ($250). The second 1970 reissue is easier to spot, having an Apple label (PCS 7096) in Parlophone sleeve £60.
11. THE BEATLES Abbey Road (Parlophone P-PCS 7088) 1969 $1,190
Another rare Beatles export LP on yellow black labels, and this one has a Parlophone sticker covering the Apple on the rear of the printed sleeve.
10. BEATLES Abbey Road (Parlophone P-PCS 7088) 1969 $1,700
Export copy with yellow-and-black labels but also a contract pressing farmed out to Decca due to the EMI pressing plants being too busy. To determine if your copy is a contract pressing, there will be no stamper letters (G or D) positioned at 3 o’clock to the matrix number. The label will also have a circular impression 15mm from the outer edge. If these things “Come Together” — in mint condition — then you are looking at this price.
9. OUR FIRST FOUR $1,700/$4,250
This promo pack was circulated to lucky journalists, and — allegedly — The Queen, in 1968 to celebrate the first four singles released on The Beatles’ Apple label. As well as “Hey Jude”/“Revolution” [ironically Apple 1 still had a Parlophone catalog number (R5722)] there were three other singles by Mary Hopkin (Apple 2), Jackie Lomax (Apple 3), and the Black Dyke Mills Band (Apple 4)! The records were in a gorgeous PVC pocket on printed dayglo card in a 10” x 12” card (£1,700). Those that are in a plastic box are much rarer and thus more expensive ($4,250).
8. THE BEATLES — “Yellow Submarine” (Odeon PPCS 7070) 1969 £2,000
The Odeon label was an EMI subsidiary that pressed Beatles LPs to be shipped out and distributed abroad. Thus, small quantities of this album on Odeon may have been pressed for distribution in Portugal. Export copies of Yellow Submarine have an Odeon label on the record as well as an Odeon sticker on the back of the sleeve covering the “Apple” logo. A mega-rare Beatles collectible and thus worth $2,000.
7. Please Please Me/Ask Me Why (demo single, Parlophone 45-R4983) 1963 $2,000
The first Beatles single — “Love Me Do” — reached #17 in the U.K. charts. For their follow-up single, “Please Please Me,” there were another estimated 250 “A” label copies pressed up and sent to newspapers, magazines and radio stations. This was the last Beatles single to feature a dedicated “45” prefix on the label, which has been used in the past to distinguish between 78rpm and 45rpm releases. Although the last 78rpm record was released in the U.K. in 1960, Beatles 10-inch 78rpm records were pressed up and released in India, Argentina and Columbia in the early to mid ’60s.
6. GOLDEN DISCS 1964 $2,550
Golden Discs was intended to be the Beatles fifth U.K. EP and feature all of their singles that had gone gold by 1964. Although a test pressing was made on two discs and two sets of proof labels were also produced, this was as far as Golden Discs got, and the idea was scrapped. Saying that, as there were a total of four EPs released in 1964, including two from A Hard Day’s Night, there was hardly a lack of product. The value of these test pressings is in the region of $2,550, and that does not include the labels…
5. THE BEATLES The Beatles (Parlophone P-PCS 7067/8) 1968 $2,550
The White Album is the rarest LP pressed in the U.K. for export. This particular version is a contract pressing farmed out to the Decca pressing plants as EMI could not cope with the demand for Beatles albums.
To confirm that you have an export copy, the yellow-and-black labels have to have no “sold in the U.K text…” on them, and Decca contract pressings have no stamper letters (D or G) positioned at 3 o’clock to the matrix number. The record also has a circular impression 15mm from the outer edge. A standard export copy — in mint condition — of The White Album pressed by EMI will have the D or G stampers but is still worth $1,190.
4. Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You (Demo single Parlophone 45-R 4949) 1962 $4,250
This is where it all started, as in September 1962; 250 promotional copies of the Beatles first single were sent out to journalists and radio stations to drum up interest in the first release by Parlophone’s most recent signing. The white labels have a large Red “A” on the “A” side — “Love Me Do” — and a delicious spelling mistake that credits the track to “Lennon-McArtney.”
The official release date was Oct. 2, 1962 and was first released here in the States in April 1964. The most we have seen a copy sell for on eBay was $7,000 in 2008.
3. THE BEATLES Please Please Me (Parlophone PCS 3042) 1963 £4,250
When The Beatles’ debut album was released in 1963, stereo records were only introduced to the market in limited quantities. Therefore the majority of the pressings of this album released in the U.K. on March 22 were in mono.
There was, however, a small run of stereo copies that could be obtained by special order by those who had expensive stereo equipment. The first two pressings of “Please Please Me” in mono and stereo came with the now sought-after gold and black labels. Parlophone was in the process of changing its label design and ensured that further issues of “Please Please Me” were in the new yellow-and-black label used for a large part of the ’60s.
Therefore, mint stereo copies with the gold/black label are worth in the region of $4,250. Those in the more “plentiful” mono are worth $1,020. There are two “different” pressings of the mono/stereo gold label from 1963: the first has a “Dick James Mus. Co” publishing credit for the tracks “Please Please Me,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Misery, Do You Want To Know A Secret” and “There’s A Place”; and the second has a “Northern Songs” publishing credit for the same tracks.
2. THE BEATLES The Beatles (Apple PMC/PCS 7067/8) 1968 $8,500 - $11,900+
In 2008, this double album celebrated its 40th anniversary, and it is fitting that The Beatles ranks as the most collectible album pressed in the U.K. Following on from Sgt. Pepper, these four sides of raw, vibrant and downright contrary music still baffle and delight Beatles fans.
Along with the music, it is the cover that is so important. British pop artist Richard Hamilton, in consultation with Paul McCartney, came up with the concept of a plain white gatefold cover with “The Beatles” embossed on the front to “make it look like a limited edition.” This two LP set is now famously known as The White Album and was the first release on The Beatles’ own Apple label. Although, their best-selling album after Sgt Peppers it is the unique numbering system that ensures the album will remain collectable. Numbers 1–10 are valued at between $8,500 and $11,900 although if one came up on eBay — in any condition — the sky would be the limit. Those numbered 11–1,000 are valued at around $1,700 and 1001 to 10,000 at around $1,020. Albums should be mint and include black inner sleeves, a poster and four colour prints of the boys.
1. The Quarrymen: That’ll Be The Day/In Spite Of All The Danger 1958 (No Cat. No) $170,000+
The rarest record in the world was also one of the cheapest to record and press up. In 1955 — the year that “The $64,000 Question” first appeared on U.S. TV — Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, John Lowe and Colin Hanton went into a small private recording studio laid out in the front room of a Liverpool house and paid 17 shillings and 6 pence to record two songs — less than a couple of bucks today!
“That’ll Be the Day” and “In Spite Of All The Danger” — penned by McCartney and Harrison — was then transferred onto a 10-inch acetate that was given to them. Fifty years later, this record is valued at $170,000, and it is only fitting that it is owned by Paul McCartney. McCartney made two limited-edition reproductions limited to 25 copies each in 1981. These 45rpm and 78rpm records in a replica Parlophone company sleeve are worth $20,000+ each. The original 78 record will probably stay in the McCartney family forever and will never be sold. Let us hope so, although it would be nice if this vinyl work of art was loaned out to a museum like paintings by other great artists, like Picasso and Dali. What about it, Sir Paul?