One of the reasons so many of us like to buy vinyl records online is we can search for albums being sold by thousands of vinyl lovers around the world. It's especially handy when you're looking for a specific record, in a specific condition, from a specific pressing.
Whether due to limited pressings, deliberate recalls, mistaken mastering, reworked artwork, or just plain publicity stunts there's plenty of rare vinyl out there to dig for online. Some are so rare there's literally no telling what price they'd fetch if an owner decided to sell.
Let's look at some of the most valuable full-length vinyl LP's of all time. This is far from an all-inclusive list, but we'll look at pressed vinyl that was actually sold from a variety of genres. Otherwise, this would basically be a list of Beatles records. :-)
1 - The Beatles - Yesterday And Today - 'Butcher' Cover
While Beatles collecting is its own special niche, the infamously tasteless "Butcher Cover" pressing of Yesterday And Today deserves special mention. Recalled almost immediately after release for very obvious reasons and replaced with more mundane art, original first-run pressings now easily fetch $20,000.
2 - Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - Recalled Edition
Bob Dylan's second album was almost released in a much different form, including four songs which were removed and replaced on the final album. The reasons for this changeup are unclear, as are the circumstances under which a very few pressings of the original version made it into public stores. Estimates are less than thirty copies exist. The result is one of the single most-desired albums of all time, worth $30,000 or more.
3 - Jean-Michel Jarre - Musique pour Supermarché (Music For Supermarkets)
Certainly, this is the most valuable electronic album ever recorded, and there is exactly one -and only one- official copy of Music For Supermarkets in existence. Jarre even destroyed the original master tape to ensure this! It was broadcast once on AM radio, ensuring plenty of (low quality) bootlegs exist, but the price tag on the original is basically inestimable. Like great one-of-a-kind works of visual art, it belongs in a museum and that's probably what will happen one day.
4 - Max Steiner - The Caine Mutiny
It's extremely unusual for a film soundtrack album to gain significant traction as a rare collectible, but that's exactly what happened with The Cain Mutiny from one of golden-age Hollywood's most beloved composers. Released by RCAVictor without actually securing proper rights, it was almost immediately recalled. Estimates are only around ten original copies still exist, and they can easily go for more than $10k.
5 - The Wu-Tang Clan - Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
The newest entry on this list, and possibly the last deliberately rare vinyl to ever be created, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin is also a "one copy only" record, from the mega-star rap group. It was purchased for two million dollars by pharmaceutical CEO, Martin Shkreli. The album is officially certified as the most valuable record in history by Guinness, and it's truly unknown whether the public will ever hear it in full. Shkreli has even threatened to destroy it to prevent it from being heard, although he was probably bluffing. We hope!
OK, so we might not have a first-edition copy of Freewheelin' Bob Dylan or Yesterday And Today in stock, but we still carry plenty of other rare vinyl albums for sale! Vinyl Lovers Unite lets you buy vinyl records online from a large selection of new and preowned while participating in a vibrant community of LP-lovers. Thanks for reading❣️
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