Vinyl records were once the gold standard for playing music. You could enjoy some of your favorite tunes on a cold winter evening with a warm beverage beside the fireplace. Slowly they faded away as newer technology came to the fore.
Vinyl records have demonstrated a remarkable resurgence in recent years, with enthusiasts and collectors seeking rare and valuable editions to add to their collections. While many records hold sentimental value, some possess a price tag that can leave anyone astonished.
In this article, we delve into the world of vintage vinyl records and unveil the ten most expensive records ever sold, some of which have fetched jaw-dropping amounts, turning lucky owners into overnight millionaires.
Wu-Tang Clan: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
Sitting on a Goldmine: Are One of These 10 Vinyls Lying in Your Attic?
- Wu-Tang Clan: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
- The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album)
- Elvis Presley: ‘My Happiness
- The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Signed)
- John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy
- The Beatles: Yesterday & Today
- Aphex Twin: Caustic Window
- Tommy Johnson: Alcohol and Jake Blues
- Frank Wilson ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)’
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Topping the list is the elusive 2015 album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” This exceptional record boasts a unique distinction – only one copy was created.
After being secretly recorded over six years, the record was encased and kept in a vault in Morocco, at the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech.
In 2015, the album was auctioned by Paddle8, and former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli purchased it for an astounding $2 million.
The accompanying contract stipulates that the album cannot be commercially exploited until 2103, adding to its mystique and value.
The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album)
The Beatles, one of the most iconic bands in history, hold the second spot on the list. Ringo Starr, the band’s drummer, owned the first copy of their self-titled double album.
The serial number “0000001” authenticates this valuable piece. Starr decided to auction it in the United States, and the final price left many in disbelief – a jaw-dropping $790,000. To this day, it remains the highest price ever paid for a commercially released album.
Elvis Presley: ‘My Happiness
Elvis Presley’s legacy has lived on through his music, and his first-ever recording, ‘My Happiness,’ ranks third on the list. This rare gem includes the cover songs ‘My Happiness’ and ‘That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.’
In December 2015, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Jack White purchased the test pressing via an online auction for an impressive $300,000.
White later released a limited edition reproduction of the song on his record label, Third Man Records.
The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Signed)
The Beatles make another appearance on this list with their eighth studio album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,.” The album was released in 1967.
This iconic record spent numerous weeks atop the charts in the UK and the US. In 2013, an American buyer acquired a signed copy of the album for an astonishing $290,500, making it a highly sought-after collector’s item.
John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy
Valuing collectibles can be subjective, but the worth of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Double Fantasy” is undeniable.
The record holds sentimental value as it was signed by John Lennon himself just hours before his tragic death in 1980.
In 1999, a collector acknowledged its importance and acquired it for an astonishing $150,000, positioning it as the fifth highest-priced vinyl record ever sold.
The Beatles: Yesterday & Today
The Beatles’ “Yesterday & Today” secured the sixth position on our list. A ‘first state’ sealed stereo copy of the album was auctioned in February 2016 and sold for an impressive $125,000.
Its high value can be attributed to the controversy surrounding its original ‘butcher’ album cover, which was quickly replaced with a more conventional design.
The Beatles: Till There Was You (10″ Acetate)
The seventh spot belongs to The Beatles yet again, this time with a 10-inch acetate copy of ‘Till There Was You.’
Found in the attic of musician Les Maguire, this private pressing was initially valued at £10,000. However, in March 2016, it sold at auction for a staggering £77,500 (approximately $100,000).
Aphex Twin: Caustic Window
“Caustic Window” by Aphex Twin, the brainchild of Richard David James, made its way into this prestigious list.
Released in 1996, this record’s rarity is attributed to the minimal number of test pressings produced. In 2014, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, the creator of “Minecraft,” acquired a copy on eBay for $46,300.
Tommy Johnson: Alcohol and Jake Blues
Tommy Johnson’s “Alcohol and Jake Blues,” released by Paramount Records in 1930, ranks ninth on our list. This edition caught the attention of record collector John Tefteller, who paid $37,100 for it in 2013, highlighting the significance of mint condition copies.
Frank Wilson ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)’
Closing the list is Frank Wilson’s iconic record, ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do).’ Released in 1965 by the Motown subsidiary label, Soul, this record is an incredibly rare find, with only five known copies in circulation—one of these copies sold at auction in May 2009 for a notable $37,000.
The world of vintage vinyl records is captivating, where rarity and historical significance drive astonishing prices.
From the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album to the rare Beatles records, these ten vinyl gems have left an indelible mark on music history and continue to captivate collectors worldwide.
As vinyl’s allure persists, who knows what other priceless records lie undiscovered, waiting to make someone an instant millionaire.
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