Old Vinyl Records That Cost Thousands Today

Aug 15, 2021James Montalvo

Vinyl records maybe something from the past, but they've developed into coveted novelty items. Hobbyists and enthusiasts all over the world pine for a collection of these records to show off. While an over-produced and not so popular record may cost only a few bucks, some are so rare that they can cost thousands of dollars! Here are some of them!

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Led Zeppelin may be a name that gets rockers gasping for air out of awe today, but it's a well-known fact that they didn't debut so well. These days, you can't say greatest rock and roll bands of all time without adding Led Zepplin to the mix. In 1969, when the band was just getting started, they released their self titled album. 

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Unfortunately for the bad, Rolling Stone thought their debut album wasn't great, though as history tells us they quickly adjusted their thinking. While the band's immense fame has prompted the record to be produced and reproduced over and over again, with millions of copies around the world, there's one particular variant that worth more than the rest. The's one with turquoise lettering that if found in mint condition, is worth a cool $1000.

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When you talk about once in a generation talents, then you have to include jazz legend, Miles Davis in the conversation. The multi-talented jazz genius won eight Grammy Awards during his reign. Davis released Kind of Blue in 1959 with the help of Columbia Records and gave the world a performance impossible to imitate. 

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Kind of Blue has been regarded as one of the greatest jazz records ever. According to critics, it's Davis' masterpiece. It's even been archived by the Library of Congress. That's how significant Miles Davis' impact on genres like jass and rock and roll has become. An original copy of the 60-year-old album can run you up to $1,000. Not an arm and a leg, but definitely hold significance. 

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If you guessed that music genres like rock and roll and blues make up the list more than most, you're right! Starting is a blues legend, Tommy Johnson. The musician was one of the few and incidentally, one of the most influential American Delta blues musicians to land a record deal in the 1920s. I mean, who doesn't love rare blues. 

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Tommy Johnson released his Alcohol and Jake Blues record in 1930. The record came as a result of Johnson signing a deal with Paramount. Sadly, the master tapes of the record no longer exist. Which means replicating the record is nearly impossible. One copy of the record went up for auction in 2013. It fetched a price of $37,100. Dang!

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If you're a fan of classic RnB and Soul music, then you should look up Frank Wilson. The musical legend was one of the best producers to ever work for Motown records. Later on in his career, Wilson decided he wanted to transition his career from producing to performing. Unfortunately, the move caused tensions with his former Motown Records employer. 

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In 1968, Wilson recorded and released "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)". Rumor has it that Motown Records executives bought most of the copies and had them destroyed. This made the record an extremely rare and sought after single. One of them sold in England in 2009 for £25,742 (roughly $30,000). 

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Keeping us in the cool and boppin' world of jazz is Hank Mobley. He was a highly regarded jazz saxophonist in the 50s and 60s. His body of work isn't as widely covered as Miles Davis' but he has one record that's got collectors clawing for a copy. It's called Third Season and it wasn't a widely produced album.

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The 1957 album is said to have only between 300 to 1000 copies printed. Thus making each copy that has survived the test of time extremely rare. Moreover, there is one specific version of the record that draws much attention. It's one where the record had a slightly different, blue, label than the rest. One sold for $11,000 on eBay.

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So The Beatles are arguably the most influential band in rock and roll. So it makes sense that they make this list, and they do more than once! One amazing strategy that The Beatles and then-record label, Capitol Records employed in their sales was making interesting art covers that enticed more people to buy the records. As if John, Paul, and the boys needed help. But it worked out great.

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1966's Yesterday & Today had album artwork that originally saw the band get covered in meat. Capitol Records wasn't keen on this so they reprinted the album with different artwork. This and the fact that the record contains songs that were originally meant not to be released or previously released elsewhere makes it very sought after and rare. So rare that a copy with the first artwork sold for $125,000. 

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Another rock band that's definitely in the upper echelons of today's rock and roll are Irish superstars, U2. Their impressive body of work has held up quite well ever since rising from the ranks of obscurity back in the '80s. For this band, we've highlighted the record, "Pride (In the Name of Love)." It was a song that received mixed reviews when it was released but has since grown into something more. 

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The lead single of the album was a song that talked about the civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr. Now, the song serves as one of the anthems of human rights. But there are thousands of copies of this record, it's the one made in Australia that gets collectors going crazy. There are said to be only 50 copies of the translucent version of the record. When they pop up in circulation, they can go for $5000 a copy in 2016

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Oh look, it's The Beatles again. The band's record, Abbey Road is a chart-topper for having tracks like “Come Together,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “Octopus’s Garden.” The cover art is also one of the most famous and easily recognized albums covers the band has ever had.

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There are many copies of Abbey Road in circulation all over the world. As a matter of fact, it sold 7.6 million copies in just two years. Even today, the figure continues to go up. That's how good it is. But what's tricky about vinyl records is the production behind it. A rare copy with the yellow and black Parlophone Records label with the catalog number PPCS 7088 is worth a little over $1700.

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There's so much to be said about David Bowie's glitter-filled, boundary-pushing and experimental body of work. The iconic musician has 28 releases to his name by the time we had to say goodbye to him in 2016. Diamond Dogs, released in 1974 is one of the most popular of his releases, and it also fetches a pretty penny. 

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While there are countless versions of the Diamond Dogs album in circulation, it's the artwork on the albums that separate the rare from the common. The one with a picture of Bowie on it as a half-dog, half-man by the artist Guy Peellaert is a copy of the beloved David Bowie album that can cost up to $3,500.

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The Beatles' records will always be highly coveted because of how huge they are. It’s only natural since they're so influential. Their self-titled double album from 1968 became affectionately known as The White Album. While it sold an astronomical amount of copies, There's one particular copy of the album that's worth a whole fortune and it's because of a certain band member. 

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Ringo Starr is known to have held on the very first copy of 'The White Album.' Literally, for a really long time, Star owned copy number ‘000001’ until 2015 when he decided to act it off. The buyer of the coveted album owned by the rockstar ended up paying $790,000 for it. Moreover, Ringo Starr’s drum kit also sold the same day for $2.2 million. Wowza!

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When it comes to vinyl records, the story behind the production, printing, and recording of it cause them to be so sought after. “The Prettiest Star” is by far not one of David Bowie's greatest songs, but it’s infamous. The story goes that Bowie sang this song over the phone to Angela, his wife when he proposed. Here's more.

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To produce the song, Bowie enlisted the help of famed guitarist, Marc Bolan. The two musicians worked on "The Prettiest Star," and were said to have worked well together until Bolan's wife got in the way. It's claimed that Marc's wife said her husband was too good to be on the record. This caused a rift between the two that eventually led to a rivalry. Fortunately, the song was completed. Thanks to the story, copies of the single regularly go for over $2,000. 

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Sometimes work done by musical geniuses before they became famous suddenly hits the market and amazes fans. The same can be said for Bruce Springsteen's first single, "Spirit in the Night" which was released in 1973 and met with very little attention. When he released "Born to Run," his career took off. But we're talking about the former, here's what it's worth now. 

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The single was written and released to help Bruce's name gain traction before the release of his debut album. Hence only a limited number of the original single was produced. Promotional copies of the single can fetch a person a couple of hundred dollars. However, an original press can go up as high as $5000.

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Surely you didn't think we'd forget about the King of Rock, Elvis Presley? Elvis is famous for shaking up the rock and roll scene and giving the world a revolutionary style of music. He made his own music and covered songs too! One of those covers that have been so well-praised is Arthur Crudup's “That’s All Right.” 

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Largely considered the first rock and roll track ever, the cover became Elvis' debut single. It turned him into an international sensation. Mint-condition copies of the original pressing will go for roughly $4,000. Rolling Stone agreed that Presley’s cover of the Arthur Crudup song was one of the best songs ever, including it on its 2010 list of music’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

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Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer, Your Song are just three of the menagerie of masterpieces that Elton John has written. He can sing, play the piano, and write songs that inspire people for decades. He’s a genius and a living legend. But the record of his that makes this list is his first single “I’ve Been Loving You," which was released in 1968. 

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Despite writing the song himself, Elton John credited songwriting to Bernie Taupin. John wanted to give Taupin writing credits so that the songwriter, who he would later co-write many masterful songs with, would get his first publishing royalties. However, the song release of the record was recalled, making copies of the single extremely rare and expensive, estimated at $1,700. 

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We're sure that you're not surprised that 'the Stones' made it to the list. Known for being the high-flying, fast-talking, beautiful-model dating rockers of their era. The Rolling Stones were truly larger than life. They definitely took kindly to controversy and made it their own weapon to generate more fame, on top of their great music. One of their album sleeves, however, was deemed too controversial.

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The album sleeve for "Street Fighting Man" originally featured a graphic black and white photo of a police officer standing over an injured protester. At the time, it resonated with the civil unrest in the '70s, but their record label didn't want any part of it. They ordered the copies to be destroyed, and it's said that only 18 copies were saved. In 2011, one of these rarities sold for $17,000.

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This arguably the most bizarre story about rare vinyl records. The Wu-Tang Clan is an exceptionally influential hip hop group. The collective of rappers recorded Once Upon a Time in Shaolin in secret over the course of six years. Instead of leading up to a big release, there was only one copy ever made, and it has an extremely interesting story.

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Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was never mass-produced. It was put up for auction and sold for a whopping $2 Million. But that's all of the stories. The record was said to have been stored in a secure vault in Marrakech, Morocco at the Royal Mansour Hotel. The sale of the record comes with a fascinating clause: “The seller may legally plan and attempt to execute one heist or caper to steal back (the album), which, if successful, would return all ownership rights to the seller. Said heist or caper can only be undertaken by currently active members of the Wu-Tang Clan and/or actor Bill Murray, with no legal repercussions.”

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Unless you're a rock and roll history buff, chances are that you've never heard of The Quarrymen. This was the band comprised of Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and John Lennon before they were The Beatles. While trying to make a name for themselves, the group recorded a cover of Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day.” 

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The cover of the Holly song was never given a full-blown release. Paul pressed around 50 copies to give as gifts to people he knew. An original copy would be extremely rare and forth tonnes of money, $354,000 in fact. Reprints of the cover still cost a pretty penny though. $3,500 pretty indeed.

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Bob Dylan is definitely one of the most influential American musicians to have graced the sound waves. His body of work has long been considered full of great songs. The first of them was 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' record. It showed the world the artist's perspective on civil unrest during the Civil Rights Movement. It was also recalled for a silly reason.

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There was a mistake in the pressing of the record. The records with serial numbers ending in "1A" had a couple of songs that were never intended to be released like "Rocks and Gravel" and "Talkin' John Birch Blues." A stereo copy of the record sold for $35,000 and a mint-condition mono copy could fetch a price of $15,000. Gotta love those misprints!

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You might recognize the name of Olivia Newton-John for being the actress who played Sandy in the film, Grease. The film shot her up to stardom. However, not all of her films were met with the same success. 1980's Xanadu was one of them. The musical was panned by critics, but the accompanying soundtrack faired better. But, like it also suffered from a recall.

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It was reported that Olivia disliked how she looked in the record's original artwork so much that she had the record company recall and destroy them! Only 20 to 30 copies escaped the wrath of the disgruntled record label. These rare vinyl record finds can go for around $9,000.

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It's hard to imagine a time wherein The Velvet Underground was considered a fringe band that garnered little to no attention. In the wake of their 1967 release of their debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, they found their audience. However, the album and the band were not a media favorite because of their counterculture stance. 

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The album was considered “too controversial” to be played on the radios. The band did gain the patronage of the likes of Andy Warhol. Only 30,000 copies were sold, but those who still have those copies can be very very handsomely compensated for them. Collectors have been known to shell out $25,000 for this icon of punk rock.

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Compared to the other acts on this list, The White Stripes are definitely the new kids on the block. They have, however, left an interesting impact on the music industry, especially their own genre of rock and roll. Their 1998 single “Lafayette Blues” featured a hand-painted cover by Dave Buick, the founder of Italy Records, and it's worth a whole lot more than when it was first sold.

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The White Stripes named their single “LaFayette Blues” after streets around their hometown of Detroit, Michigan. The B-side of the vinyl contains “Sugar Never Tasted So Good.” The copies of the vinyl records were never really meant for mass-production at a great scale, just as merch you can get during their gigs. They were first sold at $6 a copy. If you had one and kept it, it would be worth $13,000 today. Nice!

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There's really no other way to end this list than with The Beatles. The most influential rock and roll band of all time has many great albums. Their album art cover is also one that has a lot of history behind them. Especially after the whole "Paul is Dead" hoax started. The first album that came after the hoax, was Sgt. Pepper's, and it's quite interesting. 

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While fans from all over the world started deciphering what they believed to be hidden messages about Paul McCartney's death, there was a special print of the album that was created in the Christmas of 1967. A special sleeve of this bestseller was printed, featuring Capitol Records executives on the front cover. It's worth $123,900.

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Do you have a collection of old vinyl records too? You better go check them again cause some of them might be worth a fortune! Are you lucky enough to have listened to these albums yourself? Let us know in the comments section and if you enjoyed this, you better check out Amomedia for some more fun content!

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