List of most valuable records

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The sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan's Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was housed in an elaborate case.

The following is an attempt to list some of the most valuable records. Data is sourced from Record Collector, eBay, Popsike, the Jerry Osborne Record Price Guides, and other sources.

  • Wu-Tang Clan's Once Upon a Time in Shaolin CD (of which only one copy was produced) was sold through Paddle8 on November 24, 2015, for $2,000,000, according to Record Collector 449.[1] On December 9, 2015, Bloomberg Businessweek identified the buyer as hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli.[2] On September 10, 2021 the Wu-Tang Clan broke their own record when the United States Department of Justice, which had seized the album from Martin Shkreli as part of a forfeiture, sold the album for $4,000,000 to crypto collective PleasrDAO, according to The New York Times.[3]
  • Bob Dylan - a one-off recording of Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind' sold for $1.8 million at auction in 2022, according to multiple sources, including Rolling Stone.[4]
  • The BeatlesThe Beatles (the "White Album") (Parlophone UK album, 1968) – Ringo Starr's personal copy (No. 0000001) was sold for $790,000 in December 2015, according to Rolling Stone. This is the highest price ever paid for an album that has been commercially released.
  • The Quarrymen – "That'll Be the Day"/"In Spite of All the Danger" (UK 78–rpm, acetate in plain sleeve, 1958). Only one copy made. The one existing copy is currently owned by Paul McCartney. Record Collector magazine listed the guide price at £200,000 in issue 408 (December 2012). McCartney had some "reissues" pressed in 1981 on UK 10-inch 78 RPM and 7-inch 45 RPM, in reproduction Parlophone sleeves, 25 copies of each; these are estimated to be worth upwards of £10,000 each.[5][6]
  • Elvis Presley's "My Happiness" acetate was purchased by Jack White for $300,000 in January 2015.[7] It was then re-released on Record Store Day 2015 by Third Man Records.
  • A fully signed copy of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP sold for $290,500 (£190,000) in 2013.[8]
    • Normal copies of records involving famous people can often rocket in price when autographed, as for example in the case of a copy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy (Geffen US album, 1980), autographed by Lennon five hours before his murder. This sold in 1999 for $150,000.[9][10]
  • Frank Wilson – "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)" (SOUL*35019, US 7-inch 45 rpm in plain sleeve, 1966). One of two known copies of this Northern soul classic fetched over £100,000 in 2020, according to the Harborough Mail. Northern soul is a highly collectible area, based around obscure American soul singles.
  • The Beatles – Yesterday and Today (Capitol, US album in ‘butcher’ sleeve, 1966). A sealed mint "first state" stereo copy sold for US$125,000 in February 2016,[11] unsealed mint copies of this pressing have regularly sold for well over $15,000. Other pressings and states are also available, in both mono and stereo with prices ranging from $150 to $10,000.[12]
  • Original master tapes of historic recordings can fetch very high prices at auction. A tape of The Quarrymen performing live sold for £78,500.[13] Other high prices for obscure Beatles-related tapes include The Silver Beatles' Decca audition tape, which fetched £35,000 at auction,[14] and $30,000 at Bonhams in 2008 for a recording of John Lennon singing at a party in 1973.[15]
  • The Beatles' "Till There Was You" 10-inch acetate sold in March 2016 for £77,500, according to Record Collector 453.
  • The earliest known tape of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards rehearsing fetched £50,250 at auction.[13]
  • Tapes of The Jimi Hendrix Experience's 1968 Woburn Music Festival performance sold for £48,050 at Christie's.[16]
  • The Beatles - "Love Me Do" (EMI) one-sided acetate, the only unedited version with count-in - estimated at $50,000–$100,000.[17]
  • Omega sold David Bowie's first demo tape (with The Konrads) for £39,360 in 2018 (Record Collector 485).
  • A Michael Jackson "What More Can I Give" studio reference CD sold on eBay for $50,000 in 2015[18]
  • Long Cleve Reed & Little Harvey Hull – "Original Stack O’Lee Blues" (Black Patti, US 78 rpm in plain sleeve, 1927). $50,000 offered to Joe Bussard, according to Amanda Petrusich's Do Not Sell At Any Price.
  • A copy of Scaramanga Silk's "Choose Your Weapon" sold for $41,095 on Discogs.[19]
  • An acetate version of The Beatles' Please Please Me album from the US on Vee-Jay (1963) had a £30,000+ offer refused on it.[20]
  • The Daily Mirror and other sources reported a Rare Record Price Guide story in April 2015 that a David A. Stewart 'Test' 78 from 1965 was worth £30,000.
  • A copy of Joseph Beuys' 100-only 'multiple' reel-to-reel edition of Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee album from 1969 was valued at over £30,000.[21]
  • A test pressing of Aphex Twin's Caustic Window album sold for $46,300 on eBay in 2014, with the buyer being Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft.[22]
  • A highly limited colour gatefold copy of Dark's Round The Edges prog LP sold for £27,000, according to Pete Bonner from Psychotron, in Record Collector 517.
  • Pink Floyd's "King Bee"/"Lucy Leave" acetate valued at £25,000[23]
  • A copy of Tommy Johnson's "Alcohol and Jake Blues" 78 rpm sold for $37,100 on eBay in 2013[24]
  • A copy of The Beatles' Please Please Me LP (the Parlophone stereo version with the black and gold label, which regularly sells for over £1,000) sold in 2009 for £22,322.[25]
  • Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (CBS, US album, stereo 1963, featuring four tracks deleted from subsequent releases), a copy belonging to Dylan's one-time girlfriend Suze Rotolo with hand-written notes on the track-listing, was auctioned by Christie's in New York for a reported $35,000.[26][12]
  • Jean-Michel Jarre - Music for Supermarkets (Disques Dreyfus, France, FDM 18113), Only one copy of this LP exists. It was auctioned for 36,000FR (approx. $14,000 at the time, or about $33,563 in 2016) in Paris in 1983.
  • A copy of Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers' (The Beatles) 'My Bonnie' 7" (Decca stock copy, 1962) was sold for $30,000 by Heritage Auctions, according to Record Collector 539.
  • A copy of the Beatles' 'Can't Buy Me Love' 7" (Capitol, black & yellow vinyl) was sold for $27,500 by Heritage Auctions, according to Record Collector 539.
  • A copy of Prince's untitled "black album" sold on Discogs for $27,500 in June 2018.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Wu-Tang Clan Secret Album Sold By Paddle8, But To Whom?". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  2. ^ Leonard, David; Hordern, Annmarie (December 9, 2015). "Who Bought The Most Expensive Album Ever Made?". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  3. ^ Sisario, Ben (20 October 2021). "Meet the New Owners of the Wu-Tang Clan's One-of-a-Kind Album". The New York Times.
  4. ^ {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Kvart & Bølge, Audiophile Quarter Wave Full Range Loudspeakers". Archived from the original on April 22, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  6. ^ Record Collector, 382
  7. ^ Record Collector, 437
  8. ^ Heritage Auctions, Record Collector, 414.
  9. ^ Summerlin, Barry (2008-02-05). "The World of Rare Records: Lennon and McCartney's First Recording". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
  10. ^ "Kvart & Bølge, Audiophile Quarter Wave Full Range Loudspeakers". Archived from the original on April 22, 2015. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  11. ^ "Brit buys 50-year-old lock of John Lennon's hair for £24,000". NME. 2016-02-20.
  12. ^ a b Johnny Sharp (March 2007). "Johnny Sharp: Scrap that recording - it'll become an instant classic | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  13. ^ a b Dogget & Hodgson, Christie's Rock And Pop Memorabilia, 2003
  14. ^ The Daily Telegraph, 4 December 2012
  15. ^ Record Collector, 360, March 2009
  16. ^ Record Collector, 353 (September 2008)
  17. ^ Record Collector, 404 (August 2012)
  18. ^ Record Collector 442
  19. ^ "100 Most Expensive Records Ever Sold on Discogs". Discogs Blog. 2021-02-03. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  20. ^ Record Collector, 342, November 2007
  21. ^ Record Collector, 430 (2014)
  22. ^ Fact (2014-06-24). "Aphex Twin's Caustic Window test pressing bought by Minecraft creator Notch". Fact Magazine. Retrieved 2022-08-26.
  23. ^ Record Collector, 417
  24. ^ "Why I Paid $37,100 for One Record - Fuse Q&A". 2015-11-09. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  25. ^ Record Collector, 368, November 2009
  26. ^