There’s gold in those grooves
Polish the dust off those grooves and you might find gold as the value of vinyl is going up faster than you can say Martin Shkreli – the name of the man who reportedly coughed up £1.6m for a one-of-a-kind copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. So have you and your parents clung on to your vinyl collection? We hope so.
Last year, Ringo Starr sold his copy of the Beatles’ White Album (No. 0000001) for £650,000 [€762,000/$800,000]. And the price paid for records by obscure acid-folk and psychedelia acts – records by the likes of Tinkerbell Fairydust, Open Mind and Trees – is, quite frankly, cosmic. Prog, krautrock, reggae and indie-rock: it’s all on the up.
Just to underline how valuable these dusty old records can be, here’s a brief list of some of the most expensive vinyl singles.
Erotica by Madonna
Value: £2,500 [€2,932/$3,079]
This picture disc of Madonna sucking on some toes was withdrawn at lightning speed just as it was about to be released in 1992. Her label decided the sucking was much too rude for mass consumption – and no one wanted to upset Sarah Ferguson (the then Duchess Of York of the UK), who was in the UK papers at the time… sucking someone’s toes.
Midsummer Night’s Scene by John’s Children
Value: £4,000 [€4,692/$4,928]
Before T-Rex, Marc Bolan founded pastoral psychedelic wanderers Tyrannosaurus Rex with drummer Steve Peregrine Took. And before them, he was in art-pop provocateurs John’s Children, one of the late-1960’s most chaotic bands. They were chucked off tours, had records banned by the BBC and released an album, called Orgasm, that upset lots of people. They also recorded this and it was never released.
Spirit In The Night by Bruce Springsteen
Value: £4,070 [€4,774/$5,015]
Putting a precise value on anything is almost impossible. An item is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. But given the original first pressing of Bruce Springsteen‘s second single has never (ever) been sold on Discogs and it’s only owned, says the website, by two people, it’s definitely worth a lot.
Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Value: £5,000 [€5,865/$6,160]
Most people throw away party invites, right? It might be a good idea to keep them in future. A limited-edition version of Queen‘s huge single was used as an invite to a record label event, and came with matches, a pen, a ticket, a menu and more. You need the whole kit and caboodle. A hand-numbered blue vinyl version is worth £3,500 [€4,104/$4,311].
Kind Hearted Woman Blues by Robert Johnson
Value: £7,000 [€8,206/$8,623]
This is probably a conservative valuation in these crazy days. Blues fanatics – who are more fanatical than most – would eat one of their own limbs for a copy of this, their holy grail. Robert Johnson did, after all, sell his soul to the devil and with only two photographs of him in existence there remains a hunger to get closer to the mystery.
God Save The Queen by Sex Pistols
Value: £10,000 [€11,724/$12,317]
As the Sex Pistols hurtled towards oblivion, they released this, their controversial (ahem) tribute to the Queen of the UK, who was in the throes of her silver jubilee celebrations. The single was swiftly pulled by their label at the time, A&M, and is now worth a packet. An original single, in its original brown paper bag, is worth £8,000 [€9,377/$9,853]. But one of McLaren’s acetates, used to hawk the band around new labels, is worth more.
Street Fighting Man by The Rolling Stones
Value: £13,850 [€16,231/$17,058]
The original sleeve for the The Rolling Stones‘ US release of this 1968 single, with No Expectations on the flip, features an image of police dishing out some heavy-handed crowd control during the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention. Fearful of stirring up any further trouble, the label got cold feet and withdrew the sleeve immediately.
Do I Love You? (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson
Value: £15,000 [€17,575/$18,475]
It was assumed that there were only two copies of this seven-inch Motown pressing, but rumours persist that more have been unearthed. No one has been kind enough to flood the market with them yet so this Northern Soul monster is still worth a small fortune. One sold for a whopping £15,000 to a Scottish collector in 1999 – that’s 18 years ago, so who knows what it’s worth today.
Love Me Do by The Beatles
Value: £80,500 [€94,321/$99,158]
Anything by The Beatles and their spin-offs is worth an absolute fortune. It’s unsurprising, then, that the one-sided acetate for the band’s debut single, Love Me Do (which only peaked at Number 17) is worth the price of several cheap cars. Demo copies of the single, with McCartney’s name spelt ‘McArtney’, sell for between £5,000 and £12,000.
That’ll Be The Day by The Quarrymen
Value: £100,000 [€117,153/$123,167] (some say £200,000)
A 1958 single by a pre-Beatles line-up comprised of Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison, plus drummer Colin Hanton and pianist John Duff Lowe. No Ringo. There are 25 copies of a 1981 private reproduction, each worth £10,000, but there’s only one original acetate.