The past few years has seen a surge in the numbers of vinyl records sold as old-school disks soar in popularity.
And along with an increase in popularity, values have been shooting through the roof too.
“Vinyl is so on trend right now and highly collectible, so it doesn’t surprise me that some command seriously high prices," said Will Thomas managing director at LoveAntiques.com .
"It’s clear the vinyl records that are worth the most are the ones which have been owned by a celebrity or were made in limited numbers, as with most things, the rarer the item is the more valuable it is.”
So to find out exactly what you should be looking for in charity shops and the loft, LoveAntiques contacted vinyl specialist and record shop owner Phil Barton.
Most valuable vinyl records
These are the 20 most valuable bits of vinyl you can find right now, according to Barton
‘White Album’ by The Beatles originally owned by Ringo Starr - £730,876. Ringo Starr sold his copy of the ‘White Album’, last year at auction for $910,000, which was the first ever to be created - the other Beatles members had the second, third and fourth pressings.
“That’ll Be The Day/In Spite Of All The Danger” by The Quarrymen - £100,000. The 1958 original is the only known copy of the pre-Beatles disc recorded at a local electrical shop by McCartney, Lennon and Harrison with drummer Colin Hanton and pianist John Duff Lowe.
"Love Me Do" by The Beatles - £80,500. There is only one known pressing of the one-sided acetate, unedited version with count-in hence the huge price tag.
“Music For Supermarkets” by Jean Michel Jarre - £10,000 - £30,000.In 1983 Jarre made 1 copy of this album and then destroyed the master tapes, which is why the price is so high for this record.
“Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson - £25,000. Only 2 originals have ever surfaced on the Motown label offshoot Soul.
“God Save The Queen” by Sex Pistols - £12,000. Before they were kicked off the A&M label about 300 of these were pressed making this record very rare.
“Would You Believe” by Billy Nicholls - £10,000. Only 100 copies of this 60's psych/folk/rock album, pressed in its original guise, were manufactured.
“Please Please Me” by The Beatles - £7,500. It’s important when buying Beatles albums to check the matrix numbers that are cut into the run off groove. These numbers will allow you to work out which pressing you have. As Beatles albums were made by the million it is often these numbers that make the difference between a £10 vinyl and a £1000 treasure
“Kind Hearted Woman Blues” by Robert Johnson - £7,000. Only two photographs of him exist and his 78's records are just as rare, especially those released on the Vocalion label.
“Bohemian Rhapsody/I’m In Love With My Car” by Queen - £5,000.The EMI special edition of the single was also an invite to a company event. For this reason, the 7” record came with matches, a pen, a ticket, a menu, an outer card sleeve, a scarf and an EMI goblet. If you have a complete collection with all of the different items, then this is extremely valuable.
“Pride” by U2 - £5,000. It was originally pressed in Australia on clear vinyl, coloured vinyl is extremely collectible especially when only 5 copies were made, like with this U2 album.
“Midsummer Night’s Scene/Sara Crazy Child” by John’s Children - £4,000. The single was pressed on 7” vinyl but for some reason was never released.
“Latch On/Only A Daydream” by Ron Hargrave - £3,000. There are only six UK copies known to exist hence the high valuation.
Led Zeppelin’s 1969 first album - £3,000. Led Zeppelin’s first vinyl album is very common, however the initial pressing had turquoise lettering of the band’s name on the front cover. It was swiftly replaced with the now familiar orange lettering.
“Love Me Do/PS I Love You” by The Beatles - £3,000 250 demo copies of this 1962 7” single contained the misspelling, ‘McArtney’.
“Space Oddity/Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud” by David Bowie - £3,000. Only a couple of copies of the 7” single with an unreleased picture sleeve are known to exist.
“Tinkerbells Fairydust LP” by Tinkerbells Fairydust - £3,000. A slightly obscure British pop group, Tinkerbells Fairydust recorded this bubblegum psych album for Decca, but it was never released. It had extremely unusual packaging and a laminated front sleeve with a mono stereo ‘peephole’ on the back.
“Erotica” by Madonna - £2,000. Picture discs are also very collectible and when Madonna released this album in 1992, it was quickly withdrawn from sale because the toe-sucking image on the cover coincided with similar stories involving Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Consequently not many were sold so it’s a rare find.
“Love is Strange” by Wings - £1,500-£2,000. “Love is Strange” was due to be released as a 7” from the Wildlife album, however Paul McCartney changed his mind at the last minute, however a few copies leaked out onto the market and are now valuable records.
“Tudor Lodge” by Tudors Lodges - £1200. This is their one and only album and was released on the legendary Vertigo label.
How to tell if something is collectible
If you don't have any of these, don't despair.
“Prices change as do trends and what is ripe for inclusion today maybe unworthy in a few months’ time," Barton, who owns Sister Ray Records, explained.
"This list is not definitive, it includes solid year on year performers, a few wild cards and some downright crazy priced one offs.”
But what should you look out for? Here are his 6 top tips.
1. Always check that the vinyl and the sleeve match up We’ve seen it hundreds of times where the record doesn’t match the cover so make sure that you’re buying what you think you’re buying!
2. Any extras? Check whether an album has the lyric sheet, poster, stickers or other extras. From our experience, anything missing will devalue the record.
3. Condition is EVERYTHING Collectors are constantly upgrading their vinyls with ones that are in better condition and are always on the lookout. A mint record is one where both the sleeve and record look as though they have just arrived from the factory.
If there is anything amiss, the record will not be graded as mint and therefore will not command a top price. Other grades include: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. Buying poor/fair records is pointless because they will not play or look good and consequently will not go up in value.
4. Look for a good clean sheen on the vinyl Any marks should be obvious. Use a good cleaner, we recommend Near Mint or lighter fluid. Apply both with a soft, lint free cloth. Also, make sure that the edge of the sleeve hasn't been clipped, unscrupulous sellers will often cut a ragged edge clean with a guillotine or sharp knife to make records look more presentable.
5. Store your vinyl upright in a cool dry place Avoid exposure to direct sunlight as this will cause the covers to fade and the vinyl to warp. Buying PVC sleeves and poly lined inner sleeves are both good long term investments and will keep your vinyl in tip top condition.
6. Signed edition? If a sleeve has been signed check its provenance carefully. From our experience a fully signed Beatles sleeve is incredibly rare and extremely valuable, but needs accompanying paperwork.
Certain artists sign lots of product and others rarely. It’s very important to research your market, a fully signed Sex Pistols sleeve with a Sid Vicious signature is worth much more than with a Glen Matlock signature.