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Top 5 most valuable vinyl records


The value of vinyl records covers a wide spectrum of prices, so knowing what makes fans and dealers bid until dawn will put you in a strong position to decide what to sell yourself.

What makes a vinyl record valuable?

Supply and demand

The value of a vinyl record will increase if it is rare and in demand. There is always demand for Rock, Punk, Soul, Jazz and Heavy Metal so records that fall into these genres can be easier to find buyers for. Don’t be put off if your collection includes Classical, Musicals and Rock and Roll, however, as there is demand for these genres too and with fewer collectors, dealers can command healthier prices.


The sleeve and the record itself need to be as close to a new, pristine condition as possible and condition can make or break the value of your vinyl record. The Rare Record Price Guide classifies vinyl records according to 7 levels of condition, from ‘Mint’ to ‘Bad’ with a mint record with a value of £50 dropping to £1.25 when classified as bad.


Versions of vinyl records that differ from the standard copy in wide circulation can be greatly sought after. Condition has much less bearing on value if a vinyl record is scarce. For example, Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ (one of the biggest selling vinyl albums of all time) originally featured a coloured-in central triangle on the label which obscured the track names. A thousand or so copies were sold before the triangle was changed to a triangle outline. A copy with the outline triangle can fetch £25-£30 compared to a solid triangle example, even in poorer condition, at around £500.


Many vinyl records were sold with lyric inserts and/or posters included. Many of these ended up attached by sticky tape to bedroom walls and are therefore often no longer to be found. In the case of The Who’s album ‘Sell Out’, the psychedelic poster is worth far more than the record!

The record’s issue

Vinyl records, particularly popular titles, are reissued regularly and The Beatles are a great example of a band whose albums have gone through several iterations (see below for the impact this has on value). Determining the issue number of your vinyl record can be tricky. From label colour to numbers etched in the dead wax (the part of the vinyl between the end of the music on the record and the centre label), it can be difficult to ascertain the correct issue number for a vinyl record. Discogs.com is a great resource for determining issue as it lists worldwide issues for many records.

Now we’ve looked at what makes a vinyl record valuable, let us look at five of the most valuable vinyl records in recent years, in reverse order!

5 The Rolling Stones ‘Street Fighting Man’

The original 1968 vinyl single featured images of police officers standing over an injured protestor during a US riot, but its’ release coincided with the infamous Chicago Democratic National Convention riot. Record company executives worried the single might cause offense at a time of political turmoil and called for all copies to be destroyed. 18 copies are believed to have escaped the destruction and one realised $17,000 in a 2011 auction.

4 Bob Dylan ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’

The first run of this 1963 album contained four songs never intended for release and was duly recalled. Not however, before a few slipped through the net. A mono copy is valued at around $15,000. There are only two stereo first-pressing versions believed to exist, and these are valued at $30,000. Look out for a serial number ending in -1A and these four songs – ‘Rocks and Gravel’, ‘Let Me Die in My Footsteps’, ‘Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand’ and ‘Talkin’ John Birch Blues’. These tracks were mislabelled so the album has to be listened to.

3 Prince ‘The Black Album’

Prince turned on his own work, announcing it to be ‘evil’ following a drug fuelled episode and paid the record company to recall the entire copy run. Although the half a million copies were recalled, it was only after many promotional copies had been sent out. A Canadian issue sold for $27,500 in 2018, while a still-sealed US copy realised $42,500.

2 The Quarrymen ‘In spite of all the danger/That’ll be the day’

A 10-inch 78 rpm from 1958, this first ever recording by John, Paul and George, before Ringo joined them when they were known as The Quarrymen, is widely considered the most valuable vinyl record by many collectors. After the single disc was pressed, the master tape was destroyed . When the record came to auction in 1981, Paul McCartney bought it for an undisclosed sum and had 50 copies made as gifts for family and friends. A conservative estimate on the original is £185,000 and between £2,500 and £9,000 for each copy.

1 The Beatles ‘The Beatles’ aka ‘The White Album’

The first four pressings off the production line were numbered A0000001/2/3/4, with the very first going to Ringo Starr. In 2015, having stored the album in a bank vault for 35 years, Ringo sold his copy for a staggering £730,000, which went to his Lotus Foundation charity. While those first 4 copies are accounted for, low-issue numbers are still extremely valuable.

If you are a vinyl record dealer looking for a venue to sell your records, having a space at Hemswell Antique Centres gives you access to our online Dealer Portal where items wanted or for sale by the general public are listed. You can also benefit from a personal selling page on our high-ranking website which attracts visitors from over 150 countries. Our professional staff are your sales team and will offer excellent service to potential buyers. For information about becoming a Hemswell dealer, contact us via our enquiry form here.

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