Which are the most expensive vinyl records ever sold?
If you know anything about vinyl records, then you’ll appreciate why they can sell for a lot of moola!
Signed, limited edition records, like the ones on this list, are like gold dust to collectors.
You’ll find everything from signed Beatles records, worth close to $300,000, to a one-off, secretly recorded album by the Wu-Tang Clan.
So, without further delay, here’s a list of the 10 most expensive vinyl records.
The 10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records
These are the 10 most expensive vinyl records:
10. Frank Wilson ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)’
Sold For: $37,000
Kicking off the list is Frank Wilson’s iconic record, ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do).’
The song was pressed in 1965 by the Motown subsidiary label, Soul.
Being Wilson’s only Motown single, and the fact that there’s rumored to be only five left in circulation, the chances of finding one are almost impossible.
There were originally around 250 demos printed, but the majority were destroyed, for which the reason is unclear.
However, it’s speculated that Motown boss Berry Gordon ordered the records to be destroyed when he discovered one of his producers was launching a singing career.
One of the last remaining copies that we know about, sold at auction to an anonymous buyer in May 2009, for a respectable $37,000.
9. Tommy Johnson: ‘Alcohol and Jake Blues’
Sold For: $37,100
Paramount records released Tommy Johnsons ‘Alcohol and Jake Blues’ in 1930.
Johnson was a musician and songwriter from Terry, Mississippi, who was best known for his eerie falsetto voice and sophisticated guitar playing.
A copy of ‘Alcohol and Jake Blues’ 78 rpm was listed on eBay in 2013, selling for an impressive $37,100.
The buyer, John Tefteller, an Oregon-based record collector, bought the record because it was in much better condition than the one he already owned – stating it was worth every penny now that the master tapes have gone.
8. Aphex Twin: Caustic Window
Sold For: $46,300
This is an example of a record that hit the spot at the right time.
Caustic Window was released in 1996 by Richard David James, or Aphex Twin, as he’s better known.
One of the original test pressings appeared for sale on eBay in 2014 and was acquired by Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, the creator of Minecraft, for $46,300.
As only a handful of test pressings were produced, it’s no surprise to see a record like this go for that kind of money, given just how rare it is.
7. The Beatles: ‘Till There Was You’ (10″ Acetate)
Sold For: £77,500/$100,000
In March 2016, a 10-inch acetate copy of ‘Till There Was You’ sold at auction for £77,500.
The record was released in 1963 on the Beatle’s second album, With the Beatles.
It was dubbed as the ‘Holy Grail’ of Beatles records. The private pressing that features ‘Hello Little Girl’ and ‘Till There Was You’ was initially valued at £10,000.
The record was found in the attic of Liverpudlian musician, Les Maguire.
It’s believed it came into his passion through his time as the keyboardist in Gerry and the Pacemakers.
‘Till There Was You’ sold at auction in 2016 to an unnamed buyer for £77,500.
6. The Beatles: Yesterday & Today
Sold For: $125,000
In February 2016, a ‘first state’ sealed stereo copy of Yesterday and Today sold at auction for a whopping $125,000 – becoming the most expensive copy of the record in history.
One of the reasons its value was so high, is because of its controversial album cover.
Dubbed ‘butcher,’ the album artwork shows the band holding dismembered dolls while draped in meat.
This didn’t go down well at all, so it was quickly exchanged with a more respectable album cover.
Regular unsealed pressings sold frequently for over $15,000, so it’s no surprise to see a sealed one go for a record-breaking figure.
5. John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy
Sold For: $150,000
What determines the value of something isn’t always obvious when it comes to collectibles and memorabilia.
However, that’s not the case for Double Fantasy by John Lennon & Yoko Ono.
The record was signed by John Lennon himself, just hours before his death on December 8th, 1980.
So, it’s very likely that it could be the last record he ever signed, which in the eyes of a collector, is music to their ears.
Double Fantasy sold in 1999 for an eye-watering $150,000, making it the fifth most expensive vinyl record ever sold!
4. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Signed)
Sold For: $290,500
In 2013, an American buyer purchased this signed 1967 Sgt. Pepper LP for $290,500.
It was the Beatles eighth studio album and spent close to 28 weeks at number one on the Record Retailer chart in the UK, and 15 weeks at number one on the Billboard Top LPs chart in the US.
So, if you combine its impressive credentials with a signature from all four Beatles, you’ve got one hell of a record!
It was only expected to sell for somewhere in the region of $30,000, so it was a massive surprise when it achieved almost 10 times that!
3. Elvis Presley: ‘My Happiness’
Sold For: $300,000
The third most expensive vinyl record ever sold was Elvis Presley’s ‘My Happiness.’
It’s Elvis’s first recording ever and includes the two cover songs: ‘My Happiness’ and ‘That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.’
Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, Jack White, bought the test pressing via an online auction in December 2015.
It was reported that he paid $300,000 for the rare vinyl record, and he later released a limited edition reproduction of the song on his record label, Third Man Records.
2. The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album)
Sold For: $790,000
It’s well known that Ringo Starr, the drummer of the Beatles, owned the first copy of their self-titled double album.
Its serial number is what authenticates it, as they were printed in sequence, with Starr’s copy being ‘0000001.’
After some time, Starr decided to put his copy up for auction in the United States.
It wasn’t long before it sold for a jaw-dropping $790,000!
To date, it’s the highest price ever paid for an album that’s been commercially released.
1. Wu-Tang Clan: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
Sold For: $2 Million
The most expensive record ever sold is this 2015 album by the Wu-Tang Clan.
What makes it so valuable is the fact that only one copy was ever created.
It’s Wu-Tang Clans’ seventh studio album, which they recorded in secret over six years.
The pressed record was stored in a vault at the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco, and auctioned by Paddle8 in 2015.
Former hedge fund and drug company manager Martin Shkreli purchased the album for the asking price of $2 million.
The record also came with a contract that stipulates that it cannot be commercially exploited until 2103, but they can release the album for free if they choose.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the 10 most expensive vinyl records.
How incredible was that?! The most expensive vinyl records certainly didn’t disappoint. Those were some crazy figures!
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 most expensive vinyl records:
- Wu-Tang Clan: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
- The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album)
- Elvis Presley: ‘My Happiness’
- The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Signed)
- John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy
- The Beatles: Yesterday & Today
- The Beatles: ‘Till There Was You’ (10″ Acetate)
- Aphex Twin: Caustic Window
- Tommy Johnson: ‘Alcohol and Jake Blues’
- Frank Wilson: ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)’