And so we arrive at THE most valuable vinyl in the world. It comes as no surprise who takes top spot, yet the price for which it sold is enough to make even the most committed record collector rub their eyes in disbelief. If you’ve not read our previous lists pretend you didn’t see this and go catch up. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
1. The Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album)
Apple PMC/PCS 7067/8, No. 0000001, 1968
SOLD $790,000 (approx. £610,000
Considered by many as their most ambitious and all-embracing piece of work, The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ holds within its grooves everything from wild extended noise jams to blazing rock’n’roll, to gently arpeggiated elegance. Yet its simplistic white sleeve is a model of understatement, embossed simply with ‘The Beatles’. It was dreamt up while the band were ‘finding themselves’ in India; Ringo quit and returned during the recording sessions; Eric Clapton makes an appearance; Yoko Ono showed up for the first time and there’s even a song about an Old English sheepdog…
First pressings of this epochal double LP are amongst the most sought-after records in the world and these early editions are of particular interest to collectors (amongst the labyrinth of Beatles’ collectables) thanks to the fact that sleeve designer Richard Hamilton and Paul McCartney decided to individually number the first few runs.
As one would expect, the lower the number in the sequence, the higher the price tag it subsequently goes on to sell for. But as a general rule, most valuations suggest one of these rare specimens can fetch anywhere between £3,000 and £10,000. That said, in 2009, a mono copy numbered 0000005 went for a whopping £19,201, while Ringo Starr’s hallowed 0000001 copy – one of many ‘holy grails’ for the world’s many Beatles obsessives – sold at Beverly Hills celebrity memorabilia auction house Julien’s for the gigantic haul of $790,000 in December 2015, the highest price ever paid for a commercially released album (the previous record holder was the Elvis Presley acetate at No. 2 here).
Vinyl relics from the Fab Four regularly leave estimates for dust and Ringo’s precious slice of waxing history certainly deserves the top spot.