These 23 Vinyl Records Are Worth A Combined Over $1.4 Million
The rarer the record, the more valuable. These vinyl records are real treasures brought back from the verge of extinction. Keep an eye out for one of these hidden gems and don’t bury them in your garage.
1. The Beatles - The Beatles (The White Album) (1968) - $790,000
This classic album undisputedly tops the list. Marked with the serial number "A0000001," this particular vinyl was the very first pressing of the beloved ninth album by "the fab four." Its first copy went to Ringo Starr, who kept it in a bank vault for 35 years, before selling it for a whopping $790,000. Copies with low serial numbers can also get a high price. In 2012, A0000023 was sold for $13,750.
2. Aphex Twin (Caustic Window) - Caustic Window - $46,300
Electronic musician Richard D. James, best known by the stage name Aphex Twin, recorded this eponymous album under the alias "Caustic Window." However, after pressing only 5 copies Aphex decided to abandon the project. In 2014, one copy appeared on Discogs with an asking price of $13,500. A digital copy of the album was later released with an asking price of $47,000, whereas the vinyl copy was sold for $46,300.
3. Prince - The Black Album (The Funk Bible) - $42,300
After pressing 500,000 copies of The Black Album, Prince decided to suspend its release and recalled all the records because of an epiphany that his record was "evil." By that time, however, promotional copies had already gone into circulation and received considerable radio exposure. Prince finally relented and went on to release a CD version. In 2018, an original wrapped American vinyl press was sold for $42,300, while an opened Canadian version was sold for $27,500.
4. Tommy Johnson - Alcohol And Jake Blues (1930) - $37,100
A tale has it that the Legendary Delta blues singer and guitarist sold his soul to the devil to acquire his virtuosic guitar skills. In a stroke of luck, a North Carolina seller got this extremely rare 78 RPM record at an estate sale. He then sold it for $37,100 after a bidding frenzy on eBay. It's believed that only copies of that record are now in existence.
5. Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963) - $35,000
Before the release of the record, several tracks were meant to have been replaced, but a few copies featuring the wrong songs had already been pressed. Copies with a serial number that end in -1A and including these four songs: Rocks and Gravel, Let Me Die In My Footsteps, Gamblin' Willie's Dead Man's Hand, and Talkin' John Birch Blues could be worth at least $35,000. It's said less than 20 mono copies and only 2 stereo copies of the record exist.
6. Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) - $34,000
After recording Do I Love You, Frank Wilson reluctantly agreed with Motown founder Berry Gordy to work behind the scenes, crafting hits for other artists. The pressings were destroyed, but two copies are said to have been saved. One was kept in Motown's vault for 10 years, then it was found by vinyl dealer Simon Soussan, who unscrupulously bootlegged the record, making it a smash hit. One was sold in 2009 for $34,000.
7. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) - $25,200
This record was enormously influential in the punk rock scene, though it was banned and sold only 30,000 copies. The record's first pressings are listed on Discogs for up to $2,799. One collector picked up a copy for 75 cents at a flea market. It was one of only two test pressings featuring early versions of many of the songs. The collector sold the copy for $25,200. The other one belongs to Moe Tucker, the former Velvet Underground drummer.
8. The Five Sharps - Stormy Weather (1952) - $20,000
This record can be heard in an episode of Pawn Stars. There are said to be only three known copies of the coveted 78 RPM disc. Because it is extremely rare, the record is highly sought after and copies have been sold for as much as $20,000. Ironically, the original album saw such poor sales that members of the band had to buy their own copies.
9. The Rolling Stones - Street Fighting Man (1968) - $17,000
The album was valuable because of a controversial cover that featured a photo of police officers standing over an injured protester. Just before the release of the record, the infamous 1968 riot at the Democratic National Convention broke out. The record label then decided to destroy the records. However, 18 records survived and in 2011 one of them was sold at auction for $17,000.
10. The Beatles - Yesterday And Today (1966) - $15,300
The record's cover featured a photo of the four members of the legendary band dressed in butcher's attire, with headless baby dolls and raw meat strewn across their bodies. Hard to imagine what they were thinking back then. The cover ended up being poorly received, so Capitol Records tried to buy back the 750,000 records on sale. But they could not retrieve them all. Nowadays, a copy of this record could be worth around $15,300.
11. Röyksopp - Melody A.M. (2001) - $14,200
Selling more than 1 million copies, the debut record of the Norwegian electronic duo was a huge success. The pressings that featured a stencil rendition of the front jacket painted by notoriously elusive street-artist Banksy are particularly valuable. Only 100 hand-spray painted versions were made. If you are lucky to have one, you are sitting on around $14,200.
12. Stonewall - Stonewall (1976) - $14,000
This 1970s hard rock band was extremely obscure and never signed to a record label. Their only release was handled by Tiger Lily, a tax scam, without the band's knowledge. To keep the parent label afloat, the scam would press a large number of records and then write them off as unsold. Anyway, a few managed to make it into circulation and achieved cult status. Stonewall's eponymous LP is at the top of the list, worth $14,000.
13. The White Stripes - Lafayette Blues (1998) - $12,700
These copies were specially made for a 1998 Detroit record release showcasing the up and coming fledgling band. Only 15 copies were pressed, and each cover was hand-painted by Italy records founder Dave Buick. The album featured the song Lafayette Blues on side A, and Sugar Never Tasted So Good on side B. They are now worth up to $12,700.
14. Robert Johnson - Me And The Devil Blues (1938) - $12,000
The 78 RPM record features the song Me and the Devil Blues on side A, and Little Queen of Spades on side B. The original pressings of the record can be worth up to $12,000. Me and the Devil Blues tells the story of the blues legend meeting with Satan at the crossroads between Highway 1 and 8 in Mississippi, where Johnson traded his soul for the skills to master the guitar. Whether you believe the tale or not, the song did have a profound influence on blues music.
15. Hank Mobley - Blue Note 1568 (1957) - $11,162
Jazz fans rejoice! 300-1,000 copies of this record were pressed in 1957, but an incident made one version particularly valuable. The story goes that Blue Note, a famed jazz record label, used up labels when printing the record. Some records featured the standard label with address listed as "47 West 63rd NYC" or "47 West 63rd New York 23." Both versions are especially valuable, and one was sold for $11,162 on eBay in 2015.
16. Olivia Newton-John And Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) - Xanadu (1980) - $9,100
The title Xanadu frequently refers to one of the worst movies ever made, but the promotional picture disc featuring the movie's theme song is, on the contrary, one of the most sought-after records of all time. Rumor has it that Olivia disliked the way she looked on the disc so much that she had the record label stop the printing. Now less than 30 records exist, and each is worth around $9,100.
17. U2 - Pride (In The Name Of Love) (1984) - $9,000
There are said to be 50 copies of this very limited Australian edition on translucent vinyl, but only a few have emerged over the years. One of these particular 12-inch singles today would be worth up to $9,000. Based on the assassination of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, the song's vague lyrics allowed the song to resonate deeper with non-English speakers.
18. Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen (1977) - $8,600
Originally, 25,000 copies of this single were printed. However, the punk legends somehow offended their record label A&M so badly that the company dropped the band and destroyed almost all copies of the single. Luckily, 10 of them survived the destruction. Now copies of the single with the A&M label printed on the center have sold for more than $8,600.
19. Max Steiner - The Caine Mutiny - $6,700
Half soundtrack, half dialogue recording, this record was featured in the eponymous film that was based on the novel by Herman Wouk. The record's B-side recorded the climactic courtroom scene, lifted verbatim from Wouk's novel. This was seen by the writer as a blatant theft of his intellectual property. As a result, Columbia was told to halt the release and scrap all copies. Rumor has it that about 12 survived. One was sold for $6,700 in 2017.
20. Century Symphony Orchestra - Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr. (1956) - $5,500
Record labels would often enlist relatively unknown artists to do the album art for their classical and jazz releases. This particular album cover was drawn by a starving artist who was destined for stardom. His name was Andy Warhol. There are said to be only 7 copies of this record. One is on display at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. One was sold for $5,500 in 2012.
21. Elton John - I've Been Loving You (1968) - $5,000
This is the debut record made by Elton John himself. Bernie Taupin, who teamed up with the "Rocketman" on a number of his biggest hits, was credited for helping him get his first publishing royalties. This single itself is rare. The ultra-rare copies released only in Portugal and including the songs Thank You for All Your Loving and Angel Tree are valued up to $5,000.
22. Elvis Presley - Speedway (1968) - $5,000
The film Elvis Presley made near the end of his acting career turned out to be a failure with both critics and at the box office. However, copies of the soundtrack are incredibly valuable. There are said to have been only 300 copies printed. If you had the foresight to keep the record in its packaging and leave the red sticker on the shrink wrap, you could get yourself $5,000.
23. The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969) - $4,000
Abbey Road was the legendary quartet's 11th studio album, which was celebrated as one of the greatest rock records ever made. Rolling Stone magazine ranks the record 14th on their list of the "500 Greatest Records of All Time." The rare UK version with the yellow and black Parlophone Records label and catalog number PPCS 7088 can sell for up to $4,000.