Shopping for records is like browsing through your favorite vintage clothing store — you really have to dig. Sometimes, you leave empty-handed and other times, you find something that speaks to you and your style and is worth adding to your collection. In even more rare occasions, you might find something truly valuable — a hidden gem that is worth more than your entire closet (and the entire store) combined.
Whether you’re just now starting your collection or are debating whether to sell off some of your old classics, here is the shocking value of seven incredibly rare vinyl records.
MOST VALUABLE VINYL ALBUMS OF ALL TIME
VALUABLE VINYL ALBUM #1: “Stay Away Joe” — Elvis Presley, 1967
Truly a one-of-a-kind LP, this 30-minute radio program record was pressed to promote Presley’s new movie at the time, “Stay Away, Joe,” and two gospel albums. This record was discovered at Presley’s estate in 1999 and is valued at $25,000.
VALUABLE VINYL ALBUM #2: “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan — Bob Dylan, 1963
It’s funny how often mistakes and misprints in the vinyl industry lead to unfathomable value and rarity down the road. This is the case for Bob Dylan’s second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” Prior to its release in 1963, four tracks were changed. Someone at the pressing plant, however, made a mistake and used the old masters to produce a number of albums that are missing the new tracks. Less than two dozen of these copies are known to exist, making this record with about $35,000.
VALUABLE VINYL ALBUM #3: “Mama You Don’t Know How” — Long Cleeve Reed & Little Harvey, 1927
This record from 1927 is perhaps the rarest of them all. With only one known copy of this blues record in existence, it’s worth nearly $60,000.
VALUABLE VINYL ALBUM #4: “God Save The Queen/No Feelings” — The Sex Pistols, 1977
Before A&M Records famously dropped The Sex Pistols from their label, only six days after signing them, they had already pressed 25,000 copies of their single “God Save the Queen.” Although they were intended to be destroyed, nine copies have surfaced since 1977. A few years ago, one copy sold on ebay for $20,000.
VALUABLE VINYL ALBUM #5: “That’ll Be The Day/In Spite of All The Danger” — The Quarrymen, 1958
This extremely rare record came from three of the men who later went on to form The Beatles — Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison — along with their drummer at the time, Colin Hanton, and pianist, John Duff Lowe. The original record is valued at almost $300,000 while the 1981 reproduction comes in at a still very impressive $15,600.
VALUABLE VINYL ALBUM #6: “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” — Wu Tang Clan, 2014
This album by the Wu Tang Clan has a wild story behind it. While most of the records in this list weren’t pressed for the sole purpose of one day becoming a rare artifact, “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” was created for exactly that reason. In 2007, the Wu Tang Clan began creating their next body of work that would only be printed once, to only one buyer — the highest bidder. This was announced publicly in 2014 and soon after, the album was purchased by a private buyer, for an undisclosed price in the millions of dollars.
VALUABLE VINYL ALBUM #7: “The Black Album” — Prince, 1987
On June 10, 2016 a copy of Prince’s 1987 “The Black Album” became the most-expensive item ever sold through record resale site Discogs. At $15,000, it cost the buyer a pretty penny, but the album’s story is well worth the price tag. As it turns out, Prince released a few promotional copies of The Black Album in 1987, and decided one week before its release to put the album on hold. Almost all copies were destroyed, and then re-released seven years later in 1994. Only about 50 original copies of the promo album remain.
Records are back in a big way for collectors of all ages to enjoy. Whether you have $10,000 to spend at an auction, or just $1 to spare at a neighborhood garage sale, the value of collecting vinyl records is more than what’s written on the price tag.
This article was written by Keith Starr, President, of Crosley Radio. From its revolutionary line of turntables built to bring the love of analog music to a new generation, to its new series of high fidelity units with the discerning listener in mind, Crosley Radio seeks to bring new life to a classic medium.