One of the most disputed things about collectable records is determining a value. As in all collectables, condition is everything. To establish a common base for a vinyl record value guide, the industry adopted the Goldmine record grading system as the base. This is similar to the system American Numismatic Association adopted for grading coins. Record grades are from Mint (M), Near Mint (NM), Very Good + (VG+) or Excellent (E), Very Good (VG), Good (G) or Good Plus (G+) and Poor (P) or Fair (F). Goldmine magazine and catalog gives a more complete record condition.
Even so, buyers and sellers dispute the value of their vinyl records. Collectors see their collection as valuable vinyl records. As in all collectables, fraud exists and a buyer should be knowledgeable about the records being bought or sold.
First Edition Records
Record first editions are like book first editions, and have somewhat more value than later pressings. Companies use markings and keys to identify the record as a first pressing, and the record collector should become familiar how the record labels mark them. Normally, an early pressing will have more value than a later pressing. If a record was originally issued as monaural it would be more value than the same one remastered and upgraded to a stereo recording at a later date.
Predicting Record Prices
If a record is popular, a lot were sold. This means there is probably more in the market, which makes them less valuable. Most popular records sell in the ten dollar range. A vinyl record value guide will give approximate prices for these records as well as the rarer records. If they are advertised as factory sealed they may bring more. However, records can be resealed to look authentic. As with any collectable, buyer beware.
Vinyl Record Rarity
Rarity is one of the reasons for a high collectable record value. The first album of a performer may not be a best seller. Later that performer may become extremely popular, and fans and collectors want their earlier records. The Goldmine magazine and catalog document record prices and sales.
A Rare Bob Dylan Record Price
Bob Dylan’s first album, Bob Dylan, sold about 2500 copies. The album lists the song, You’re No Good, on the cover and the label lists it as She’s No Good. Goldmine lists the record to be valued at $500.00 in mint condition.
Elvis Presley Record Values
Elvis Presley’s first records were made for Sun Records. The first RCA Elvis Presley record was Elvis Presley made in 1956. Elvis Presley records are collectable vinyl albums.
2013 Elvis Presley Record Prices as Sold on eBay:
Elvis Presley LPM 1256 RCA 12 inch LP. Record has scratches and plays without skips cover in VG+. $124.28
First Elvis Presley record, Elvis Presley EPB-1254 is two 7-inch 45 rpm records. One graded VG ++, second VG+. The cover was graded VG+ $169.50
Elvis Presley Sun 45 rpm That’s All Right NM and Blue Moon Of Kentucky VG++ $1425.00
Elvis Presley Sun 45 rpm Good Rockin’ Tonight and I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine. Both sides VG+ $400.00
The Beatles Yesterday and Today Cover
Some album covers are as important, or more important, than the album. An example is the Beatles Yesterday and Today album. Capitol records issued it with the butcher cover which showed the Beatles dressed in white butcher coats with raw meat and dismembered dolls. The album was in store about a day before the company pulled the album and pasted a picture of the Beatles with a trunk on the album. The albums bought in stores without the second photo are known as “first state” butcher covers. The covers recalled and pasted with the trunk photograph are known as “second state” or “pasteover” albums. Some customers bought the album before it was recalled, and some bought the pasted on version. If the pasted version can have the picture peeled to reveal the original without damage to the jacket, it is also collectable. A Capitol executive, Alan Livingston, kept some of the albums for his private collection. They are known as the Livingston albums and command premium prices.
A rarely played album bought at Sears and Roebuck was appraised on Antiques Roadshow in 2003 in excellent condition for $10,000 to 12,000 dollars.
Some Recent 2013 Yesterday and Today Sales:
The Beatles stereo Yesterday and Today ex mint with peeled butcher cover. $1500.00
The Beatles Yesterday and Today peeled mono cover. Record vg+ cover nm. $836.00
The Beatles Yesterday and Today peeled stereo cover. Record condition not listed, but jacket spine in excellent condition and excellent peel. $2600.00
Beatles vinyl record value depends on the record like any other record. A vinyl price guide is the way to acess the value.
More Highly Collectible Vinyl Price Guide – These are actual 2013 sold prices from eBay
Carl Perkins Teen Beat, a best of Carl Perkins album by Sun records. Vinyl and cover fair condition. $270.00
U2 Joshua Tree sealed in M condition $21.17
U2 All That You Can’t Leave Behind vinyl in NM $36.00
Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill. Record has few scratches, but plays without skips. Cover has small writing on front. $11.10
Led Zeppelin III DoWhat Thou Wilt first edition. Covers shows ring wear with owner’s initials written on it. Record shows scratches. Goldmine G+ sleeve and record.
Led Zeppelin III Do What Thou Wilt etched on both sides Rare G+ sleeve and vinyl $15.50
Led Zeppelin Sin City Social, live 1970 and 1973 recording. Record graded VG++ and jacket graded VG+. $210.50
Greatful Dead Shakedown Street record NM cover VG+ $8.50
The Black Crows Amorica, Vinyl and jacket in NM condition. $102.00
The Black Crows Amorica, Vinyl and jacket in EX condition. $119.99.
Pink Floyd The Wall. This record had wear and scuff marks, but played without skipping. 18.05
Pink Floyd The Division Bell blue wax sealed. $147.00
Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon. The vinyl, cover and posters are in NM condition. $44.45
Pink Floyd Money pink vinyl promotional record in NM condition. $15.50.
1968 Jimi Hendrix Polydor Records Electric Ladyland with nude cover, the album was described as lightly played. $128.50
Jimi Hendrix Maui, Hawaii rare live recording made in Hawaii. Record is translucent purple. Record plays clear. $130.00.
Jimi Hendrix The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Vinyl is rated at VG+, cover at VG/VG+ $17.00
Bruce Springsteen & the “E” Streeters Winterland 1978 color vinyl record. $49.95
Alice In Chains Alice In Chains, original pressing. Vinyl in near mint and cover excellent. $51.00
My Bloody Valentine Loveless vinyl NM Jacket VG+ $100.00
Kiss Guns ‘n’ Kisses picture disc. Vinyl NM $62.89
Paul Revere and the Raiders Hungry, red vinyl 45rpm promotional disk. NM $25.00.
Limited Printings Vinyl Price Guide – prices actual sold for prices on eBay in 2013
Alexisonfire Dog’s Blood tour green vinyl, only 700 made and this was unplayed $50.00
City and Color Sometimes, unplayed and sealed, only 500 produced. $96.62
My Bloody Valentine Loveless low issue 0095/1000 limited edition red vinyl NM Jacket VG+ $120.00
Herb Alpert three 12” 45 rpm promotional records. Black, red and blue colored. Unused $17.50
Collectable Jazz Records
John Coltrane Blue Train 1958 mono Blue Note early pressing. This is the first album with John Coltrane as leader. Record grading was good with visible and audible scuffs. The cover was between very good to excellent. $663.00
John Coltrane A Love Supreme Mint $25.00
Miles Davis Bitches Brew is a 2 album record. Few light scratches and plays well. $9.50.
Dave Brubeck Time Out Vinyl VG Jacket VG++ This album was the first jazz album to sell over a million copies. That makes it common and not as valuable to collectors unless it’s in pristine condition. $10.49
Gene Ammons Funky Record VG- Prestige Sleeve VG Labels VG+ $20.00
Sonny Clark Cool Struttin’ Blue Note LP 1588 mono. The monaural is rarer than the stereo. Both record and jacket listed in nice condition. $930.00
Sonny Clark Cool Struttin’ Blue Note stereo LP. Record is NM and jacket excellent condition. $61.00
Al Cohn Quintet Al Cohn Quintet 10” LP. Vinyl VG+ Jacket EX $125.00
Bill Evans Trio Explorations Riverside deep groove mono RLP 351. The deep groove feature is the desirable feature on this album. Vinyl VG+, jacket F to G. $151.50
Bill Evans Trio Sunday At The Village Vanguard. This is regarded as one of the great live jazz recordings. It was part of a two record set recorded at the Village Vanguard club on June 21, 1961. The record and sleeve graded VG+. $192.50.
Zoot Sims All Stars 10 inch Prestige LP Record grade M Cover VG+ $103.62
Charlie Parker The Magnificent Charlie Parker. Record EX, sleeve NM to M-. $338.00
Helen Merrill Helen Merrill With Strings. Record VG, cover VG+. Rare LP $47.00.
78 Records Price Guide
78 rpm records are often in rough condition. Collectors are interested in them for historical or cultural reasons as well as the music. The are generally older, but some 78s were made as demo singles even after the LP had generally replaced them.
Lee Morse and Her Bluegrass Boys. 78 rpm made in England. Has scratches and some wear. $4.25.
Bull Moose Jackson and His Orchestra. 78 rpm has scratches and some wear. $4.25.
These are a few random selections of recent record sales. These sales represent the range of prices for different records, and their collector’s value. Acquiring collectable vinyl records is a fun and rewarding hobby.