Many of the most valuable records in the world today are rare Beatles records.
Thanks to The Beatles’ reputation as the most iconic band of all time, certain Beatles records sell for thousands – with some even reaching close to one million dollars. However, not all Beatles records are necessarily valuable.
So, what makes a Beatles record valuable in the first place?
Rarer versions of Beatles albums have distinct features and quirks. It is these unusual features that make the records worth an extraordinary amount of money to obsessive fans and passion collectors.
Aspects such as autographs from band members to interesting misprints or perhaps simpler details like release dates or catalogue numbers.
Let’s dive in and learn more about these valuable and rare Beatles records.
10. Gold Disc Pressings (1964)
Estimated value: $2,500
Beatles ‘Gold Discs’ were originally outlined as compilation EPs that would include all of the band’s singles that had gone ‘gold’ or which had sold over 500,000 copies by 1964.
Whilst the concept was never fully realised and no official albums were released, there are still four test pressings out there somewhere, considered “super limited edition.”
According to Goldmine Magazine they are estimated to be worth in the region of $2,550 a piece.
9. Introducing The Beatles (1964)
Estimated value: $3,000 – $5,000
American label Vee Jay records collection of unreleased Beatles songs was initially destined never to see the light of day.
Yet after Capitol’s release of ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ the label then moved to release them with their compilation immediately branded Introducing The Beatles.
First editions of the EP were hastily designed with a generic band studio shot on the front cover, with the sleeve’s back remaining completely blank. Once production of the album increased, a back cover was eventually included on later versions.
It’s the rare copies featuring “blank backs” that prove most valuable and can sell for anything up to $5,000!
8. Our First Four [Apple Promo] (1968)
Estimated value: $4,000
By 1968 The Beatles company Apple had begun to devise promotional press kits for newspapers, journalists and in particular radio stations. One of these collections has lovingly become known as Our First Four.
Comprised of the first four singles released on their own label, the kit includes ‘Hey Jude’ by The Beatles, ‘Those Were The Days’ by Mary Hopkin, ‘Sour Milk Sea’ by Jackie Lomax and ‘Thingumybob’ by The Black Dyke Mills Band.
Due to limited numbers produced at the time, each set is viewed as rare and estimated to be worth around $4,000 if still in relatively pristine condition.
7. The Beatles & Frank Ifield On Stage (1964)
Estimated value: $5,000 – $10,000
In a slightly odd yet adventurous move, Vee Jay Records attempted to combine the musical stylings of The Beatles and the relatively unsuccessful English singer Frank Ifield.
The label originally released Jolly What! The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage! with a tracklist that included unreleased songs from both artists.
The first iteration of its cover featured an old man with a moustache and ‘mop-top’ haircut but it sold very few copies.
After adapting its title and a change of artwork it was eventually re-released to include a simple band shot. EPs sporting this updated design were printed on a limited run and have been known to sell for up to $10,000.
6 . ‘Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You’ [Demo Single] (1962)
Estimated value: $7,000
The demo to ‘Love Me Do’ and its B-side ‘P.S I Love You’ was repurposed as a promotional tool during the band’s formative years.
It was sent to both radio stations and journalists across Europe and the US to help increase the group’s reach outside of the UK.
Reportedly only two-hundred and fifty promotional copies were ever produced and released publicly across the course of 1962 which naturally makes these limited run demos very desirable.
According to Goldmine Magazine, there are also a handful of copies of this rare Beatles record containing a misprint with songs credited to “Lennon and McArtney” that have fetched in the region of $7,000.
5 . Please Please Me [Stereo] (1963)
Estimated value: $15,000
The Beatles’ 1963 debut EP Please Please Me was both predictably and exclusively pressed in mono format.
At the time, mono recordings were the standard way of capturing a band’s performance in the studio with sound blaring from a single direction and via one speaker.
The album would eventually be pressed and released in stereo. Unfortunately, with many homes slow to purchase stereo record players, many of the copies remained unsold and as such their rarity has increased over time.
As recently as 2014, a stereo copy of Please Please Me sold for close to $15,000.
4. ‘Till There Was You’ [10″] (1963)
Estimated value: $107,000
Originally owned by Gerry And The Pacemakers pianist Les Maguire, given to him by Fab Four manager Brian Epstein in 1963, a rare 10-inch record featuring tracks ‘Till There Was You’ and ‘Hello Little Girl’ was uncovered in an attic after fifty years.
The disc is adorned with Epstein’s handwriting and is often described as a “holy grail item.” It was created at London’s HMV store on Oxford Street and handed to producer George Martin at EMI in an attempt to secure the Beatles a record deal.
Oddly, Epstein misspells the title “Hullo Little Girl” and adds a special credit to “Paul McCartney & the Beatles.” This one of a kind record sold for a whopping $107,600 in 2016!
3. Yesterday And Today [‘Butcher Cover’] (1966)
Estimated value: $125,000
Likely the most infamous and controversial Beatles record artwork is the aptly named “butcher cover.”
Featuring as part of the Beatles’ EP Yesterday and Today, the design sees the band dressed in white coats, surrounded by various doll’s body parts and fresh cuts of meat. Fuelled by public outcry, a more family friendly cover quickly made its way onto shop shelves as replacements.
Unsealed copies of this cover motif are rumoured to be worth up to $15,000. However, there are only an estimated ten copies of the original ‘butcher cover’ in existence with a sealed copy fetching $125,000 as recently as 2016.
2. The Quarrymen – ‘That’ll Be The Day/In Spite Of All The Danger’ (1958)
Estimated value: $170,000 – $250,000
The Quarrymen were the earliest known iteration of the line-up that would eventually evolve into The Beatles.
Minus Ringo Starr on drums, the act recorded their first commercial record in 1958, heading to the studio to lay down ‘In Spite Of All The Danger’ which many consider the first ever Beatles song, alongside Buddy Holly cover ‘That’ll Be The Day.’
It’s unclear how many copies of this treasured and truly rare Beatles record exist with some of the band members likely holding onto the originals to this day.
Apparently, a one-off acetate copy fell into the hands of John “Duff” Lowe, the band’s pianist at the time, with rumours that Paul McCartney has since produced around fifty further copies of his own.
Some experts estimate the original press to be worth between $170,000 and $250,000!
1. The Beatles, or, The White Album (1968)
Estimated value: $790,000
Famously, each one of the first three million or so copies of The Beatles or The White Album featured a set of unique numbers on their covers, in an apparent attempt to make them appear rare.
Logically, the band members were each given one of the first four presses, with lowest numbers in the run being deemed more valuable.
Despite popular belief that John Lennon was proud owner of album 0000001, it was later revealed that Ringo Starr held the most converted White Album cover in history, when his personal copy went up for auction in 2015 – selling for a monumental and record-breaking $790,000!
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