25 Rarest Vinyl Records Ever Sold

Music has always been a favorite pastime that has sometimes gone into obsession. The era mp3s, CDs, and cassettes can all be experienced in my basement, alongside old stereos and CD players. This hobby of listening to good music has always kept me in touch with the industry.

Others like me would agree that ‘Old is God’ is entirely accurate, especially when it comes to music. Although going into the history of recorded music, we only go as far back as the twentieth century. This, too, is quite enough as music flourished in a wide range of genres through the decades.

You can hear the best of music on vinyl records. This invention allows the sound to be more open and enables a wider variety of features to be heard. The synchronization of multiple instruments can be observed, and you can also identify the assortment.

For those of you, like myself, who admire the sizeable black disc and its workings, I have compiled a detailed discussion of the 25 rarest vinyl records ever sold.

Rarest Vinyl Records List

Rank
Name
Sold Price
1. 
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
$2 million
2. 
The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)
$790,000
3. 
Elvis Presley – My Happiness
$300,000
4. 
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (signed by all four Beatles)
$290,000
5. 
The Quarrymen – “That’ll Be the Day” / “In Spite of All the Danger”
$277,000
6. 
John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy
$150,000
7. 
Frank Wilson – Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
$138,647
8. 
Rammellzee Vs K-Rob’s “Beat Bop”
$126,000
9. 
The Beatles – Yesterday & Today
$125,000
10. 
The Beatles – Til There Was You
$108,500
11. 
The Beatles – Love Me Do (1962)
$75,000
12. 
Long Cleve Reed & Little Harvey Hull — “Original Stack O’Lee Blues”
$50,000
13. 
Aphex Twin – Caustic Widow (test pressing)
$46,300
14. 
Scaramanga Silk – Choose Your Weapon
$41,095
15. 
Tommy Johnson – Alcohol and Jake Blues
$37,100
16. 
Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
$35,000
17. 
Pink Floyd – ‘King Bee’ / ‘Lucy Leave’
$34,662
18. 
Beatles – Hear the Beatles Tell All
$30,000
19. 
Prince – The Black Album (1987)
$27,500
20. 
Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico
$25,200
21. 
The Sex Pistols — “God Save The Queen” (Canceled Single)
$20,000
22. 
Elvis Presley – Good Luck Charm
$20,000
23. 
The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man
$18,000
24. 
Robert Johnson – Hell Hound on My Trail
$10,000
25. 
Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra – Xanadu
$10,000

1.Once Upon a Time In Shaolin

Once Upon a Time In Shaolin
Image source: theguardian

This is the most expensive vinyl record ever sold at $2 million. This may also be one of the most notorious albums on the list due to its only pressing in the world, which angered the Wu-tang fans who were anxious to hear it. This exclusivity deprived them when it was sold to the Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, who had also been responsible for hiking the price of an anti-HIV drug by 5000%.

This record was secretly recorded for over five years and was restricted from commercial use when sold. Another interesting fact about the sale of this record is a condition of allowing the Wu-tang Clan and Bill Murray to perform a heist for this record and face no legal charges against them while also attaining the rights to the record.

2.The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)

The Beatles – The Beatles
Image source: last

This self-titled album was owned by the band’s drummer Ringo Starr with the serial number 0000001. In 2015 it was sold to an unnamed buyer at Julien’s auction for $790,000.

Ringo’s Ludwig drum kit was sold in the same auction for $2.2 million.

3.Elvis Presley – My Happiness

Elvis Presley – My Happiness
Image source: discogs

Jack White had gotten his hands on Elvis’s first recording ever at an auction in 2015 for $300,000. While this buy was first kept anonymous, it late revealed that the vintage enthusiast, White, had been the one to procure it. He then pressed the record through his label ‘Third Man Records’ and brought it out for commercial use.

4.The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Image source: ultimateclassicrock

The first pressing of this record would earn a high enough price in the market. Still, one with all four signatures of the Beatles led to an astronomical shot upwards when it was sold for $290,000.

It was sold in 2013 to a buyer from Midwest, whose estimated sale value was $30,000, and they were astonished to see it go out for nearly three times the estimation.

5.The Quarrymen – “That’ll Be the Day” / “In Spite of All the Danger”

The Quarrymen – “That’ll Be the Day” “In Spite of All the Danger”
Image source: discogs

The songs for this album were written by Paul McCartney and George Harrison for the Quarrymen, who later became the Beatles.

Paul McCartney owns only one copy of this recording. Its worth has been estimated to be $277,000 due to the spike in popularity of vinyl, as these old records are worth money.

6.John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy

John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy
Image source: amazon

The popularity of this record stemmed from being the last ever record signed by John Lennon before his murder. It was sold to an anonymous buyer in 1999 for $150,000.

7.Frank Wilson – Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)

Frank Wilson – Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
Image source: discogs

This was recorded when Frank Wilson, a Motown Producer, tried his hand at being at the forefront. However, most of the demos were destroyed when the Motown Label owner convinced Frank to produce and write for the roster of the label.

Although some copies had been saved, out of which only two are known to exist. One was sold at an auction in 2020 for $138,647, while the other can no longer be played.

8.Rammellzee Vs K-Rob’s “Beat Bop”

Rammellzee Vs K-Rob’s “Beat Bop”
Image source: sothebys

 The producer Basquiat’s Rammellzee Vs. K-Rob’s “Beat Bop” album was sold by Sotheby’s for $126,000 in 2020. Originally 500 copies of the album were published. However, the value of the pressed came from the condition that it still had its original shrink wrap.  

9.The Beatles – Yesterday & Today

This vinyl record became famous not for its acetate or test pressing but for the controversy surrounding it due to its cover, which featured the Beatles members with raw meat and skewered doll heads, earning it the name of the ‘Butcher .’This caused the label to cut off production and release the album with a new cover.

However, this made the vinyl record featuring this discontinued album cover one of the rarest vinyl records of all time. Thus causing the original copy to be sold for $125,000.

The Beatles – Yesterday & Today
Image source:bestclassicbands

10.The Beatles – Till There Was You

The Beatles – Till There Was You
Image source: loudersound

The album that jump-started the Beatles’ career is said to be this. It was an early demo recorded for the EMI, featuring the songs ‘Til There was you’ and ‘Hullo Little Girl, written and misspelled by their manager Brian Epstein. The record was sold in 2016 for £77,500 (about $108,500).

11.The Beatles – Love Me Do (1962)

The Beatles – Love Me Do (1962)
Image source: discogs

The first single written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and released by the Beatles was valued at $75,000.

12.Long Cleve Reed & Little Harvey Hull — “Original Stack O’Lee Blues”

Long Cleve Reed & Little Harvey Hull — “Original Stack O’Lee Blues”
Image source:discogs

When thinking, “are old vinyl records worth money?” This rare vinyl record answers it point blank. This record has been valued at $50,000, as it is the only copy to exist today.

13.Aphex Twin – Caustic Widow (test pressing)

Aphex Twin – Caustic Widow (test pressing)
mage source: pitchfork

Probably one of the most recent vinyl records to go up at this price. The Aphex Twin topped the charts in 2014, building a huge fan following worldwide. This exceptional test pressing was sold for $46,300 to the inventor of Minecraft, Markus Persson, at an auction.

14.Scaramanga Silk – Choose Your Weapon

Scaramanga Silk – Choose Your Weapon
Image source: discogs

Another recent entry that has made a list is of this mysterious DJ from the United Kingdom, of whom there is very little public knowledge. There are only 20 pressed copies of this record by Breakbeat, each with art print and a poem of acetate. The 02/20 was recently sold to an unknown buyer for $41,000, making it the most expensive record sold on the platform.

15.Tommy Johnson – Alcohol and Jake Blues

This is one of the old records worth money as not only was this 1929 record pressed for a minimal number of copies, but the existing copies of the record are all in terrible conditions or cannot play. The interesting fact about this sale is that the buyer already had the second known copy of this record but invested in it, as it was preserved in a better state. It was bought was $37,100.

Tommy Johnson – Alcohol and Jake Blues
Image source: discogs

16.Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

This record featured four tracks meant to be deleted from the playlist and replaced by Bob Dylan’s other recorded tracks. However, in production, some records were pressed with the original instructions and sent out around the world. When it turned up, it fetched a heft amount of $35,000.

Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
Image source: faroutmagazine

17.Pink Floyd – ‘King Bee’ / ‘Lucy Leave’

This acetate of Pink Floyd is like the Quarrymen acetate to the Beatles. The band used it to enter the Beat Maker, and they could only go up to the quarter-finals. It was also the first amateur recording when Pink Floyd had changed its name from the tea set. It has been valued at $34,662.

Pink Floyd – ‘King Bee’ ‘Lucy Leave’
Image source:Pink Floyd

18.Beatles – Hear the Beatles Tell All

The Beatles album ‘Hear the Beatles Tell All’ included a compilation of interviews of the members and was released in 1964. However, the marketing copies for the radio station were stopped before they could be sent out. Only five or six have been speculated to exist from them, and thus they have been sold for as much as $30,000.

Beatles – Hear the Beatles Tell All
Image source: discogs

19.Prince – The Black Album (1987)

This vinyl record was the most expensive old record sold on the Discogs platform for a long time. The copy of the album was sold for a groundbreaking amount of $27,500.

The rarity of this album comes from the circumstance whereby Prince had called off this album based on the belief that it was evil. This resulted in a recall of the album, except for 100 copies printed for distribution in Europe.

Prince – The Black Album (1987)
Image source: goldiesparade

20.Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico

The acetate of this self-titled album produced in 1966 had alternate versions of the officially released track, making it one of the rarest vinyl records worth a lot of money.

This caused this record to be sold for a high price of $25,200.

Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico
Image source: discogs

21.The Sex Pistols — “God Save The Queen” (Canceled Single)

There are only nine existing copies of this album as the bad boy Sid vicious got them struck from the A&M label, and then A&M destroyed most of the pressings in response.

It was sold for $20,000

The Sex Pistols — “God Save The Queen” (Canceled Single)
Image source: variety

22.Elvis Presley – Good Luck Charm

Elvis Presley – Good Luck Charm
Image source: ebay

The highest-priced Elvis record is his album ‘Good Luck Charm .’This album comprises regular 45’s with a $50 picture sleeve. However, the label RCA also released a 7-inch 33, sold for up to $20,000, with the original album cover.

23.The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man

The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man
Image source: discogs

This record has been valued at $18,000. The rarity prospect for this vinyl record comes from its picture sleeve.

24.Robert Johnson – Hell Hound on My Trail

Robert Johnson – Hell Hound on My Trail
Image source: olemiss

Robert Johnson’s 1937 Hell Hound on My Trail has been estimated to be valued at $10,000. Similarly, other Robert Johnsons releases between 1937 and 1939 are also priced at this level.

25.Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra – Xanadu

According to Meier, the record by Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra picture disc of 10’ for Xanadu has been sold for $10,000. He also says, “Fifty of these were made as prototypes in 1980, with a number of them being defective. The record company opted not to use them, and the 30+ remaining copies found their way into the hands of collectors. With fewer than 40 copies, they are by no means common, but I once found one in a used record store for $15.

Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra – Xanadu
Image source: discogs

What Makes Vinyl Records Worth Money?

Now, after perusing the enigmatic list above, a question arises about which characteristics make these vinyl records worth so much. Thus, if you have boxes of old vinyl and want to earn some cash, you should know your vinyl.

Starting with a notable factor of age, it may seem that when looking at this list, the older the record, the higher the price. However, that is not the case. It is a combination of multiple features that add to its importance and, therefore, its value.

Sales Volume at Release:

This factor affects the price when the artist is trendy and in demand. Their albums that had previously been infamous are scarce in the market and lead to a rise in price as the fame turns the olden days into collectible record pieces.

Labels:

The labels also contribute to the value as, when produced by obscure labels or printed in different variations, they add to the exclusivity of a record. The prime example of this can be seen by the label variations section on Rare Records, which has explained that finding a Beatles record of Yesterday and Today with a red capital label can be the cause of variance in making a $10 and $10,000 record.

Limited, foreign, and Never-Released Copies:

Acetates and test pressings are copies that are never released to the public. This means owning one of these copies may add value to your record. Promotional copies were distributed to radio stations and were not meant for public circulation. These copies had markers stating, “Promotional copy, not for resale .”Foreign editions have also sometimes made a record worth more because of their limited quantities and occasionally colored picture discs.

Other Factors:

Many other factors add to the record’s worth, such as unique picture sleeves, recalled releases, format, autographed copies, sealing, and, quite significantly, the condition.

Final Thoughts:

Vinyl has been making a comeback in these recent times. This greater demand and a turn towards old music have made more and more people interested in attaining collectible vinyl records.

Vinyl also has the characteristic of having a unique sound due to the details that can be heard related to each instrument present in the track. The manufacturing, the artist, and the producer all contribute to this valuation and the intricacies of the record. These are the reasons people with a love of music appreciate vinyl.

This article has discussed the top 25 rare vinyl records, their price, histories, and the reasons for their costly worth. Therefore, before you go out to sell your vinyl, be sure to read through it well.

So, suppose you’re an avid music collector looking to find your way around vinyl records. In that case, I hope this article provides comprehensive guidance regarding the valuation of these black labels!

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