Ever wondered why vinyl remains the most collectible format in music history? We’re looking at some of the most expensive vinyl records ever sold.
Whether auctioned or sold privately, vinyl records from our most cherished artists remain some of the most sought-after collector’s items in the world of music.
Because vinyl pressings are done in limited quantities, test pressings, promotional runs, and 1st editions of rare albums, singles, and EPs have become legendary, particularly when there’s a story behind them.
The Most Expensive Vinyl Records Ever Sold
We’re looking into some of the most prized vinyl records both auctioned and sold online and we’ll find out more about some of the tall tales behind these mythological pieces of music on wax.
Prince – The Black Album (1987)
Prince’s infamous Black Album is widely regarded as one of the rarest vinyl records ever sold. Uncirculated copies were rescued from destruction in Canada by a pressing plant worker when the artist superstitiously deemed the album “evil” and not fit for release.
Copies of the album in question have fetched exorbitant sums on Discogs.com, the highest being $25,000 in 2015 which caused a massive stir in the vinyl collectors market.
Accounts regarding the origins of the album and how many copies made it into stores do differ, so be wary of bootlegs if you plan on going after such a prize for your own collection.
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Scaramanga Silk – Choose Your Weapon (2020)
In December 2020, the obscure UK electronica artist known as Scaramanga Silk broke the record for the highest-priced vinyl record ever sold on Discogs.com.
The 12-inch was 1 of 20 numbered copies in a limited promo series that included a CD-ROM, an art print by Immyart, and a poem printed onto acetate.
Following the sale, the artist expressed his utter confusion as to why someone would pay over $41,000 for a 12-inch, but was also deeply flattered that someone had developed that kind of connection with the music.
The Quarrymen: That’ll Be the Day / In Spite of All the Danger (1958)
In 2012, a rare record was discovered from the famous pre-Beatles band, The Quarrymen, a Rock ‘n Roll outfit made up of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Lowe, and Hanlon.
It was in fact John ‘Duff’ Lowe who was the owner of this prized record, and the UK publication, Record Collector estimated it to be worth £200,000.
Side A features a classic tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets with Lennon on lead vocals, while McCartney sings the harmony parts in a style that would become The Beatles’ signature in the years that followed.
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John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy (1980)
A collector’s piece with a dark sentiment, a copy of John and Yoko’s Double Fantasy was sold for $900,000 by Goldin Auctions in 2020.
The dramatic twist in the plot is that the album bears John Lennon’s last signature he signed before being assassinated, by its owner, Mark Chapman.
To ensure authenticity, the package also includes crime scene markings and notes taken by the detective who investigated the murder in 1980.
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Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the Wind (1962)
In 2022, Bob Dylan decided to push back against the mass production and distribution of art by re-recording his iconic single Blowin’ in the Wind.
So exclusive was this one of one pressing that it was only heard by potential buyers at the Christie’s auction, where it fetched a price of nearly $1.8 million.
Whether Dylan achieved his goal in the process, we will never know. However, one could argue that stunts like these don’t offer much in terms of exposing an art form to a new generation of listeners.
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