The most expensive vinyl records ever sold on Discogs
In what was originally created as a hobby project in 2000 by Kevin Lewandowski, Discogs has now grown to become a definitive resource for Vinyl and CD recordings across the market.
The site, whose mission has now changed to become “the biggest and most comprehensive music database and marketplace,” aims to bring together music fanatics of all genres through the knowledge of the art form.
The database itself already celebrates contributions from more than 463,000 people, a catalog of more than 11,200,000 recordings taken from in excess of 6,300,000 artists.
dis-cog-ra-phy (n., pl. dis-cog-ra-phies.)
The study and cataloguing of phonograph records.
A comprehensive list of the recordings made by a particular performer or of a particular composer’s works.
Understanding the strength of his platform, Lewandowski introduced the ‘marketplace’ in a bid to bring sellers of music together in one place. With more than 23 million items available and thousands of sellers, Discogs has become your favourite indie vinyl record shop taken to astronomical lengths.
Over the years of growth, major sellers have taken their rare vinyl records to Discogs in a bid to garner the largest audience. This move, coupled with the somewhat rebirth of vinyl records in recent years, has amounted to major deals being brokered via the market.
In 2018 alone, Discogs revealed records numbers by selling a total number of 10,912,527 items. Among that, the Marketplace continued to showcase some incredibly rare finds for Discogs, led by the sale of a Canadian production copy of Prince’s Black Album at a record-breaking $27,500.
With that in mind, Far Out Magazine decided to meet up with Discogs to discover some of the most expensive sales ever recorded on the site.
Discogs revealed exclusively the top 20 most valuable transactions, which are available to view below. Note that given its global audience, sales are recorded in a dollars, pound sterling and euro’s accordingly.
1 – $27,500 – Prince – The Black Album (LP, Album)
As aforementioned, Prince takes the top sport after his incredibly rare and previously unreleased The Black Album sold for an eye-watering $27,500. The copy was the only known Canadian version of the record which was salvaged by a pressing plant employee in 1987.
It was in that year when Prince was planning to release The Black Album LP and ordered 500,000 copies to be pressed by record label Warner Bros. However, as the date closed in for release, Prince became obsessed with the theory that the album was ‘evil’ and demanded that all copies were to be destroyed.
2 – £12,500 – Sex Pistols – ‘God Save The Queen’ (7″, Single)
The original and previously unreleased 7″ single of Sex Pistols’ iconic track ‘God Save The Queen’, which was housed in an A&M record company paper sleeve, was sold on Discogs for £12,500.
That sale made it the most expensive single ever sold on Discogs and one of the most expensive singles ever sold, overtaking The Beatles which you will find out in the slot below. “Genuine originals have the serrated anti-slip necklace and 7284 written twice on the B-Side runout, one above the other,” the notes on the sale commented.
3 – £11,250 – The Beatles – ‘Love Me Do’ (7″, Single, Promo)
The track signified the band’s first demonstration single for Parlophone and, the item in question, is one of only 250 issued with McCartney (McArtney) incorrectly spelled in the writing credit.
The single was purchased through Discogs nearly 55 years to the day of its original release on October 5, 1962.
4 – €12,500 – Sex Pistols – ‘God Save The Queen’ (7″, Single)
No, you are not witnessing an editorial and yes, this is the same record mentioned earlier. Given the intense popularity of this rare single, it was again sold for record figures but this time in Europe when it was solely slightly cheaper.
The A&M version of ‘God Save the Queen‘ is particularly significant because when the band signed to the label in 1977, the label pressed 25,000 copies of the single to be sold. However, after an infamous altercation between the band and the label at their head office, the contract was canceled and A&M ordered the singles to be destroyed.
You didn’t think you’d make it through this list without the inclusion of some Pink Floyd material, did you?
Ummagumma, the fourth album released by the band, was given a hyper-rare Japanese promo release and was given a red vinyl alongside a four-page insert with information in Japanese. Discogs’ Discography Specialist Brent Greissle, explained; “Given that it’s Floyd, I’d assume not many promo copies were made, given the lack of actual effort needed to promote it. I’d also assume that radio stations would have played their copies to death, so good, clean copies would be hyper-rare.”
7 – $15,000 – Prince – Black Album (2×12″, Album, Promo)
Prince is back and it’s that infamously “cursed” black album which some lucky collectors have been cashing in on.
After scrapping the release of the album, Prince later blamed the album on an entity named ‘Spooky Electric‘ which he described as a demonic, low-voiced alter-ego induced by Camille.
Of the five copies that were discovered in 2017, this is one of the first sold. Three more to go… if you can find them.
8 – £7,500 – The Beatles – Love Me Do (7″, Single, Promo)
Another returning number and, this time, it’s The Beatles.
We did say that 250 copies of the super-rare 7″ single were pressed back in the 1960s and two of them have been sold on Discogs. Despite being one of The Beatles’ most-loved tracks, the single peaked at number 17 when it was originally released in the UK in 1962.
The best was still to come though, we know that.
9 – €9,200 – Billy Nicholls – Would You Believe (LP, Album)
In 1967, record producer Andrew Loog Oldham became obsessed with The Beach Boys album Pet Sounds and, such was his enfatuairton, he hired songwriter Billy Nicholls to record a British response to the record.
Would You Believe was born, an album which became this largely forgotten piece of work. Financial issues stop the project in its tracks and, with the label running out of money, shelved the album and only the initial promotional run of 100 copies were made.
On of them, it would seem, was sold for a small fortune on Discogs.
Our first entry from the world of electronic music as Norwegian Röyksopp make it into the top 10 with a sale of their debut album Melody A.M.
The record itself wasn’t particularly rare, going on to sell 750,000 copies worldwide and going platinum in three different counties including the UK. However, the limited edition run of the record included a green sprayed on stencil design on the cover which, believe it or not, was created by a relatively unknown street artist of the time going by the name of Banksy.
With additional information included on a separate A4 piece of paper, this sold album was one of only 100 limited edition albums ever made.
11 – £5,000 – Forever Amber – The Love Cycle (LP, Album, Ltd, Mono)
Forever Amber from Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, was a young, British six piece pop band that lacked the money and resources to make it big.
Apparently, only 99 copies of their sole album The Love Cycle were manufactured to avoid tax. Originally known as “The Country Cousins”, they changed their name to Forever Amber in response to the rise of psychedelia in 1967. They were founded in 1967 and broke up in 1969.
12 – €6,000 – Charlie Patton* – Love My Stuff / Jersey Bull Blues (Shellac, 10″, Mono)
Charlie Patton, more commonly known as Charley Patton, was an American Delta blues musician who was born in 1891 and died April 28, 1934.
Considered by many to be the “Father of the Delta Blues”, musicologist Robert Palmer labelled Patton as one of the most important American musicians of the twentieth century.
His recording of Love My Stuff was completed in New York and, tragically, not long before his death.
13 – €5,999 – David Bowie – David Bowie (LP, Album)
We couldn’t work our way through a list like this without featuring the great David Bowie, could we?
This rare version of Bowie’s self-titled debut LP, released in 1967, came with an illustrated gatefold cover with lyrics inside and a black label with silver print.
The record, typically Bowie, also featured a “hidden” track as appearing ‘A2.2’ is not listed on either sleeve or centre label. This ‘hidden track’ does not appear on the 1969 US Mercury version of the release David Bowie – Man Of Words/Man Of Music.
A bit more obscure references here but avid fans of British hard rock roll be familiar with Growers of Mushroom, the first album by British Leaf Hound.
Apparently, the album took only 11 hours to record when the band arrived in pumped up mood to Mayfair’s Spot Studios. This is the only album by the classic Leaf Hound line-up and, after a few months after recording it, the group disbanded, reuniting in 2004, thirty-three years later.
Having become a major collector’s item, this record has become a much-sought-after LP by collectors after it was sold for €5,500 in 2016.
15 – $7,000 – Pet Shop Boys – Yes (11×12″, Album + Box, Ltd, Num)
Any list which mentions the Pet Shop Boys is a good list.
Yes, the band’s tenth studio album, was released in March 2009 by Parlophone Records having been recorded throughout 2008 and was produced by Brian Higgins.
The album was released in multiple formats, including a digital version that included a 48-minute track-by-track commentary on the album. However, it was the 11-disc vinyl version limited to 300 copies which became the collector’s item.
With each disc containing a different album track on the first side and a corresponding instrumental version on the second, this set held within a smoked perspex outer box with magnetic fastening is a real gem.
16 – €5,400 – Judge – Chung King Can Suck It (LP, Album, Whi)
Chung King Can Suck It, the limited-pressing coloured vinyl album by New York City band Judge, contained within it the original version of what was to be the Bringin’ It Down album.
Only 110 copies pressed on white vinyl, numbered on the back cover. The record includes 12″ x 24″ fold-out insert and jackets are screen printed in dark blue ink on plain white LP covers.
From Revelation Records official discography: “100 intended to be pressed, but 110 were made. The extra 10 had the first 0 in the 100 over written with a 1 and stamped numerically. #43 has a pseudo-gatefold sleeve for no apparent reason. At least one was mailed without a sleeve, but which number was excluded is not known.”
Gorilla Biscuits, for this unfortunate enough not to know, are the hardcore punk band from New York City who reigned a whole different level of carnage after they formed in 1987.
This self-titled album, their first to be released as a band, was put out as a 7″ to the high demand of their fans. This particular number, thought, is one of only 25 copies pressed on light yellow / cream vinyl.
“At least two off white copies of this pressing have been found,” according to Revelation Records. “The only plausible explanation for these would be that when the white and yellow vinyl was mixed to create the banana yellow colour, a few copies were made before the vinyl was fully mixed.”
18 – €5,000 – Judge – Chung King Can Suck It (LP, Album, Num, Whi)
Our guys Judge are back again with their rare Chung King Can Suck It album.
Apparently, when recording the album in the studio, the now legendary rap acts of Beastie Boys, Run-DMC and LL Cool J were all in the building (albeit separate rooms) at the same time.
Nice bit of pop culture knowledge for you.
19 – £4000 – Bernie Williams – Ever Again / Next To You (7″, Single, Promo)
We’re closing in on the end of our time exploring some eye-watering expensive albums and our man Bernie Williams is here to provide us with some funk and soul.
This double-sided 7″ single was released with ‘Ever Again’ as the lead with ‘Next To You’ on the reverse. This promo version of the song whipped bidders up to a frenzy and, eventually, was sold for a cool £4000.
20 – £4000 – Wings (2) – Love Is Strange (7″, S/Sided, TP, W/Lbl)
Macca is back to close us out and this time he hasn’t got his Beatle friends around.
‘Love Is Strange’ a single originally released by rhythm and blues duet Mickey & Sylvia in 1956, was made extremely famous having in modern history when it was included on the soundtrack for Emile Ardolino film Dirty Dancing.
The song was written by Bo Diddley under the name of his wife at the time, Ethel Smith, and was recorded by Bo and Buddy Holly, Wings and plenty others.
However, it is McCartney’s 7″ 45 RPM, single sided, test pressing of the song which was sent to wax and given a simple white label.