Monday, January 4, 2010

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 12/26/2009

1. 45 - Jimmy DeBerry "Take A Little Chance" / "Time Has Made A Change" Sun 185 - $4,477.99

2. 45 - David Bowie "Space Oddity" / "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" Philips Portugal Promo w/pic sleeve - $2,999.99

3. 10" - Lazare Levy "Mozart 2 Sonatas For Piano" Ducretet - $2,558.98

4. 10" - The Jam "Going Underground" Acetate - $2,511.09

5. LP- The Brief Encounter "self titled" Seventy Seven - $2,460.00

As always, a special thank you to Norm at  for this great data. Stop in and listen to their unique radio show Accidental Nostalgia with Norm & Jane On Radio Dentata - 60 minutes of rare records and nugatory narration. NOW TUESDAYS at 4PM PT / 7PM ET for a complete rundown of the Top 5 with trivia and tidbits.

Golden oldies

I want to thank the author and his publication for the exclusive reprint rights to this interesting feature!

Those vinyl albums in your cellar rarely sell for much, but there are exceptions, such as a Beatles pressing that went for $32,000

Richard Morrison, Financial Post
Published: Saturday, January 02, 2010

Almost everyone has boxes of old vinyl records stored somewhere, but unless they are rare and in near-mint condition, they probably aren't worth much. Recordings by popular artists were turned out by the millions, and most LPs and 45s were played on crude turntables and tossed about by teenagers without thought for their future value, which means most sell for less than $1.

But there are exceptions. According to,a website listing auction results for rare records, on Nov. 23, 2008, Beatles LP dealer Andrew Milton sold a mono pressing of the Beatles 1968 White Album, with cover number 0000005, on behalf of an Austrian seller for £19,201 ($32,167) after 85 bids on eBay. The No. 5 copy was the earliest pressing available, since the members of the Beatles got the first four. "I had the chance to buy it for £1,200 years ago," says Garry Shrum, consignment director and music and memorabilia expert at Dallas, Tex.-based Heritage Auction Galleries. Mr. Shrum says he had been in England and had agreed on the price for 0000005 with an LP dealer, who offered to hold the LP for Mr. Shrum until he returned to the United States. But the seller's partner got a higher offer on it and he took it, he says.

Among those who collect the White Album, "anything under 0001000 is a really big deal," Mr. Shrum says, adding he found an American copy of number 0000012 at a used record store in Britain. Although it was well used and had writing on the cover, Mr. Shrum was able to get £1,000 for it.

On eBay on Dec. 13, a 1969 stereo pressing number 0000018 of the White Album sold for $5,523.53 after 35 bids.

Beatles collectors come in all shapes and sizes, says Mr. Shrum, who opened Blue Meanies Records in San Diego, Calif. in 1976. "It's the one band that people really go hard core because there's a lot to collect. There's all different toys, boots and curtains and bedspreads and buttons and pencils and combs and on and on."

Those who began collecting Beatles LPs and 45s from the beginning could well own valuable items, Mr. Shrum says, but those who didn't begin buying until the 1970s are likely too late.

Autographed albums are more valuable if they come from the Beatles early years, Mr. Shrum says, as once they became hugely popular and had stopped touring, the group members were rarely in the same place, so secretaries or whoever was around at Apple or EMI would simply forge the signatures on an album cover and send it back.

"You've got to know what you're looking for. Joe Average can't just look at it and say, 'This is it.' It's got to be taken to somebody who really knows their records, knows what pressing it is," Mr. Shrum says. New collectors can also get a copy of The Price Guide for the Beatles American Records, by Perry Cox and Frank Daniels.

Mr. Daniels, co-author of the price guide, says Canadians who have a copy of the White Album may have one of the 3.2 million numbered copies made in the United States and used on the first run of Canadian LPs. Later albums bearing no number were made in Canada, but there were some unique Canadian labels.

Several Beatles LPs sold for more than $5,000 on eBay in December alone.

- On Dec. 12, an original 1964 Vee Jay Records stereo edition of Introducing the Beatles, with a blank back and still in its shrink wrap, sold for $7,367 after 39 bids.

- On Dec. 13, a 1963 Parlophone gold label stereo edition of the Beatles Please Please Me LP sold for $19,446 after 35 bids. As a stereo copy, this album was aimed at hi-fi enthusiasts, not teenagers, and only 900 copies were ordered and pressed. The LP was made without the knowledge of Beatles producer George Martin, and most were sold in northern England.

- On Dec. 15, a mono Vee Jay copy of Introducing the Beatles, with an ad for other LPs on the back cover, sold for US$4,939.99 after 25 bids. It had originally been bought for US$2.98 at a Los Angeles record store.

- On Dec. 6, a copy of the Beatles Please Please Me LP with a black and gold label sold for $3,355.85 after 23 bids.

Perhaps the most famous collectible Beatles LP is the "butcher cover" version of Yesterday ... And Today. The album was originally printed with each member of the group happily holding what appeared to be dead babies -- an idea devised by photographer Robert Whitaker that was intended to poke fun at their popularity. The group members liked the photo and Capitol Records' art department prepared the cover artwork and sent the necessary shots to their three U.S. factories and to Parrs in Canada. Posters were made and sent out, and the album was rushed to radio stations.

"The butcher cover did make it out to a few shops in its original form, but when the backlash against the cover emerged, Capitol ordered the covers to be destroyed," says Mr. Daniels, noting that only two Canadian copies are known to have survived.

Instead of destroying them, however, Capitol decided to paste over the album with a new cover -- a photo showing the Beatles standing around a steamer trunk with McCartney inside.

"First-state butchers -- copies that never had another cover over them -- all sell for big money," Mr. Daniels says.

"The two Canadian copies haven't come up for sale in quite a while, so who knows what they'd sell for today? Paste-over copies sell well, but they don't get the kind of money associated with first state copies. ... Copies that have had the top cover peeled off usually sell for the least, although a truly nice peeled cover goes for more money."


The Beatles may be popular with record collectors, but they are certainly not the only artist of value.

There are more collectors around the world who pursue the history of rock 'n' roll than any other category, says Neil Patte, president of Continental Records Co. Ltd. in Streetsville, Ont., whose website,,offers a wealth of information for those who believe they may have valuable vinyl. "Rhythm and blues and rockabilly records from 1948 through 1963 traditionally have the highest value of all collected records," Mr. Patte says.

The most valuable records are the "first pressing" of releases -- the records that people purchased when the LP or 45 was first on the charts and played on Top 40 radio, he says.

Along with early rockabilly, blues and jazz recordings from the 1950s, completed listings on eBay show there are many who will pay top price for copies of punk rock, heavy metal, classical and alternative rock.

Early pressings of LPs and singles of punk rock legends the Sex Pistols are prized by collectors.

For example, an original 1977 copy of God Save The Queen went for $10,813, in an eBay auction that ended Dec. 10 and attracted 24 bidders. This pressing was one of a few given to laid-off executives when Polygram closed A&M's London office in 1998, the seller wrote.

A 1983 test pressing of heavy metal group Metallica's Kill 'Em All LP, one of only three or four known, sold for US$6,660 on eBay on Dec. 17.

Albums from German experimental rock group The Can are extremely valuable. A 1969 LP from the group sold for US$6,295, attracting 37 bids, while on Dec. 18, 26 bidders vied for a copy of the group's Monster Movie album, of which only 500 copies were made. It sold for £2,150 ($3,632).

A test pressing, What Was Me/Beat Happening by Olympia, Wash. alternative rock singer-songwriter Calvin Johnson, sold for $4,269 at Extremely Rare Records; seven bidders fought over the horror-punk rock band The Misfits' Horror Business LP, with the winner paying $4,000; 25 bidders anted up US$3,000 for jazz alto saxophonist Jackie McLean's The New Tradition LP.

Among 45 rpm singles, a copy of Delta bluesman Jimmy DeBerry's Take A Little Chance, issued as #185 on the Sun label in June 1953, sold on eBay for US$4,477.99 after 22 bids on Dec. 23.

A similar 45 rpm single, a special Portuguese mono pressing of David Bowie's Space Oddity, sold for US$3,000 on Dec. 21.

For a 45 rpm record from any artist to have collectible value, the paper sleeve or cover must be intact and preferably in good condition. Most U.S. record manufacturers printed only a limited number of "picture" sleeves, and when these ran out, resorted to a standard company sleeve. That makes U.S.-made 45s with picture covers more valuable than those from other countries, says Garry Shrum of Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Tex.

Source: Richard Morrison, Financial Post

Turn the tables

Found this interesting, it's a big world that we live in....

Anand Sankar / New Delhi January 02, 2010

Tired of fiddling around with your iPod? Anand Sankar says it’s time to go retro with a good-old phonograph.

The music at the rather run-down shop no. 256 in Delhi’s historical Meena Bazar is being piped through a state-of-art amplifier. It is a rich sound, punctuated by a series of random “clicks and pops”, with none of the synthetic flatness you get with a CD or MP3 player. For it’s not a CD or MP3 player that’s playing the music, but an old-fashioned gramophone, hooked to the amp.

But if you want to recreate the sound at home, you will need to do a bit of legwork. The effort is worth the bother, as good old vinyl (as the records were called because that's what they were made of), outdoes digital music any day.

Records and players went out of mass production and vogue by the 1990s, so all you get today are discarded heirlooms at auction houses or cheaper replicas of classic machines. The former are far more than devices to playback sound. They were design masterpieces, whose prices can go into lakhs. Often finished in precious stones or ivory, some even used the winding mechanism of the gramophone to activate dancing figures. Prized by collectors, audiophiles, however, have little use for them.

Gramophone replicas, on the other hand, are a thriving industry, with prices starting from as low as Rs 1,500 and going up to Rs 10,000 if you want detailing on the wooden box or horn.

The shops making these are easy to come by — the internet will throw up a host of them in Chandni Chowk and Meena Bazaar (Delhi), Colaba (Mumbai), Free School Street (Kolkata) where you can buy both records and players — but do research the technology a bit before you venture out.

Basically phonographs are of two types — electronic and mechanical. The most popular of the latter variety is the “gramophone”. There is a huge market for gramophone replicas, since they make great drawing-room accessories with their picturesque trumpet-like cones.

The drawbacks — you have to manually wind the machine every time, the sound is good enough only for a medium-sized room (a maximum of five decibels) and if not made well, can break down easily.

As for the electronic record players, there are a number of makes by manufacturers like Phillips, Sony, Akai, Bush, and Sansui. The electronic players too use two technologies — belt drive and direct drive.

A belt drive has a small, cheap motor which turns the disc using a belt. The direct drive too uses a motor to turn the disc; in addition it has sophisticated electronics to control the speed of the motor, so the direct drive gramophone can control pitch very accurately.

Phillips, which has a wide range of sizes and colours, some with built-in speakers, was the most popular brand in record players. And you can get a refurbished Phillips machines between Rs 2,000 and 3,000.

Other popular brands such as Akai, Bush and Sansui are a little more expensive, costing up to Rs 5,000. While most Phillips systems used the belt drive, these other manufacturers offered a mix of belt and direct drives.

Look out also for large players such as the Hitachi HT-50S, which give you greater options to fiddle with the sound output. They also cost a bit more — about Rs 6,000. If you’re willing to pay even more (Rs 15,000 or so), you could get yourself a system with a built-in amplifier and radio. Avoid them, however, if you want to hook up the player to your existing audio system.

One record player to keep an eye out for is the Mister Disc. Made by Audio Technica, a Japanese company which specialises in audio equipment, it is a tiny gadget that is one of the few battery-powered portable record players around — definitely high on the cool factor.

Audio Technica is also one of the very few companies that continue to make record players. The company has two models in the market — one with a belt drive and the other with a direct drive, priced at Rs 15,000 and Rs 35,000, respectively. The good thing about Audio Technica players is that they have USB connectivity, which means you can also digitise your vinyl — along with all those comforting “clicks and pops”.

However, if you want to buy a replica, it’s best to use your judgement to determine their condition, and always ask for a trial. The shopowner will do the output wiring to suit your audio system, and tie up with him for after-sales service, as you will also have to depend on him for spares such as needles or new motors.


Music News & Notes

Josh Klinghoffer Unveiled As New Red Hot Chili Peppers Guitarist

Josh Klinghoffer has been unveiled as the new Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist by one of the band's leading fan sites. A posting on confirms that the 30-year-old will replace long-serving guitarist John Frusciante, who announced his departure last month.

An editor of the site wrote: “I've managed to establish contact with Josh through the previous owner of, Katrina, who has personal contact with him, and was able to get him to reply to an e-mail asking if he was in the band. He confirmed that he is in the band earlier today! now has direct contact with Josh and will be able to bring you updates from him personally in the future!”

It's expected that Klinghoffer will make his live debut with the band on January 29 at a MusiCares show in honour of Neil Young.

Kilnghoffer, who toured with the Chili Peppers in 2007, has worked as a studio musician with an array of acts including Beck, The Butthole Surfers, Neon Neon, Sparks, Gnarls Barkley and PJ Harvey.


New Jackson Song?

Rolling Stone is reporting that 2010 kicked off with a potentially new unearthed Michael Jackson song. A snippet of a track called “Another Day,” reportedly sung by the Jackson, hit the Web over New Year’s weekend. “Another Day” appears to be Jackson’s version of Lenny Kravitz’s “Storm,” a song that appeared on the rocker’s 2004 album Baptism and featured a guest spot by Jay-Z. The Huffington Post writes that “Another Day” was reportedly a duet between Jackson and Kravitz, but Kravitz doesn’t seem to appear on the 90-second snippet.

In the days following Jackson’s June 25, 2009 death, Kravitz penned a letter to Spinner about Jackson, writing, “I got to work with Michael on a track that has not been released and it was the most amazing experience I’ve had in the studio. He was funny. Very funny and we laughed the whole time.” It remains unclear whether Kravitz worked with Jackson on “Another Day,” or whether their collaboration resulted in another song. Sure sounds like MJ!


Kanye West Back in the Studio, Inspired by “True Poets”

According to Rolling Stone, in his first blog post of the new decade, Kanye West revealed he’s back in the studio working on new music. West also expressed a desire to avoid the usual career trajectory of a hip-hop star, writing, “It’s funny how so many rappers get worse as their careers stretch out but true poets get better. We will follow in the footsteps of Maya Angelou, Gill Scott Herron [sic] and Nina Simone. Their work improved with time.”


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is considering changing their eligibility requirements.

To get in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you have to have been recording for 25 years or more. The problem is that they are now entering a period in music where the newly eligible acts are, for lack of a better word, quite lackluster. As Friedman points out, next year's new crop will include Sting (solo, he's already in with the police), Chris Isaak, Suzanne Vega and Simply Red.

Hall head Jann Wenner is considering moving things up a bit so that artists who have been recording 20 years or more could be placed on the ballot. That would make Guns N' Roses, Green Day and Nirvana eligible. Or Wenner could do what many consider the right thing and induct the many missing names from Chubby Checker, Billy Preston and Mary Wells to Chicago, the Moody Blues, Todd Rundgren, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Carole King, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Rufus & Carla Thomas and so many more it’s hard to list them. But that’s unlikely.

Whatever the Hall does, something needs to change.