10 Most Valuable 45 RPM Records (Extremely Rare)

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  • Post last modified:September 25, 2023

All serious record collectors own a selection of 45s. But only a lucky few are in possession of the rare and valuable 45 RPM records that fetch thousands at auction.

The 7-inch vinyl, often referred to simply as a 45, is the classic ‘single’ record, that usually contains a lead single and often a supporting ‘B-side.’ Today, some of the most valuable records in the world are in the 45 format.

In this article, we’ll look at rarest and most valuable 45 RPM records that have ever been sold. These 45s are exceptionally rare, due to a limited number of pressings, interesting misprints, and unique features. The value is often boosted by the stature of the artist in question.

A handful of these 45s are worth thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Let’s take a look at the most valuable 45 RPM records ever sold.

10. Street Fighting Man / No Expectations – The Rolling Stones (1968)

Approximate value: $7,500

‘Street Fighting Man’ by The Rolling Stones is one of the band’s most political songs, allegedly written about British Activist Tariq Ali, composed after lead singer Mick Jagger attended one of his anti-war rallies at the U.S. embassy in London.

The American picture sleeve version is considered very rare. It was removed from circulation by their label,  judged too controversial after anti-Vietnam war protestors clashed violently with police at a 1968 Democratic convention only one week earlier. 

No more than twenty copies of this particular sleeve motif are known to exist, each with an estimated worth of between $7,500 and $17,500.

9. God Save The Queen / No Feelings – Sex Pistols (1977)

Approximate value: $12,000

Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen’ caused a ruckus when it was released during the Silver Jubilee year.

Twenty-five thousand copies were pressed, yet after label EMI released the band from their contract, any remaining records were ordered to be destroyed. 

However, it is thought that nine copies were somehow spared and exist today, having become incredibly rare in the process. One of these original vinyl recordings is estimated to be worth in the region of $12,000.

8. My Bonnie / The Saints – Tony Sheridan And The Beat Brothers (1961)

Approximate value: $12,000

This 45 is actually the first record label release from The Beatles, under the name The Beat Brothers, in collaboration with English rock and roll singer Tony Sheridan.

Having spent much of his time in Germany, Sheridan worked on the same circuit as the Fab Four, known as one of the Liverpudlian group’s earliest collaborators.

Limited numbers of the record mean this vinyl is slowly becoming harder to find. Its increasing rarity and difficulty to validate means each commands an estimated value of $15,000 amongst collector communities.

7. That’s All Right – Sun Records Misprint 45 – Elvis Presley (1954)

Approximate value: $15,000

Recorded and released in July 1954, the misprint of Elvis Presley’s debut single ‘That’s All Right’ including B-side ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ is an extremely rare 45 vinyl. 

The first pressings were misprinted due to an error by American record producer Sam Phillips who was reportedly keen to release Elvis’ first recording. Neither Phillips nor his staff noticed that its B-Side catalogue number 209 was printed upside down. 

The mistake was quickly caught and subsequent pressings were corrected. Also, typically pressings by Sun Records had a 78 RPM gauge needle and so created the infamous “Sun hiss.”

When this particular Elvis 45 is played on modern equipment then the sound has a grainy quality. This rare recording is said to be worth $15,000.

6. Open The Door To Your Heart – Darrell Banks (1966)

Approximate value: $18,000

Following its release in the U.S., northern soul track ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’ by Darrell Banks, was due for release in the UK before a disagreement over the song’s rights suddenly reared its head.

As a result, plans for the UK pressing were soon scrapped, making any possible promotional copies potentially very rare and valuable, although none were known to exist. 

So when a copy surfaced in 2014, record collectors were beyond eager to get their hands on it. The singular pressing was deemed extremely rare, and sold for around $18,000.

5. Lafayette Blues / Sugar Never Tasted So Good – The White Stripes (1998)

Approximate value: $18,000

The White Stripes’ single ‘Lafayette Blues’ was released in the U.S in November 1998. Each copy was pressed onto white vinyl.

Prior to the single’s release, the band were preparing to play a release show at the Golden Dollar in Detroit, a regular gig spot and venue where they’d made their live debut in 1997 – using the opportunity to sell their new 45.

Unfortunately, production issues resulted in the record covers being incomplete.

Rather than scrap the sale altogether, Jack White and Italy Records head Dave Buick improvised, quickly hand-painting fifteen different original covers before selling each record for $6.

In 2010, one of these $6 copies sold for $18,000!

4. Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You – The Beatles (1962)

Approximate value: $20,000

‘Love Me Do’ is the famous first single release from The Beatles’ debut album Please Please Me. The 7-inch vinyl was recorded in one session with the band performing each song in minimal takes, including this lead single from 1962.

There 45s were promotional copies of the Beatles’ first UK single and were subject to a very limited print run of around 250 copies. These 45s are an extremely rare find and are rumoured to fetch up to $20,000.

3. Ask Me Why / Anna (Go to Him) – The Beatles (1962)

Approximate value: $35,000

One of the most valuable 45 RPM records across all of music history is this variation of The Beatles’ first release. The original UK version was actually a double-sided vinyl, featuring the songs ‘Please, Please Me,’ and B-side ‘Ask Me Why.’ 

But when the comparable 45 was released on the Vee-Jay Record Label, pressings didn’t feature ‘Please, Please Me’ at all. Instead, the version fused a combination of the two tracks ‘Ask Me Why,’ and ‘Anna (Go to Him).’

Within The Beatles’ American vinyl discography, these alternative promo 7-inch records are extremely rare, typically selling for thousands of dollars.

In 2012, a near-pristine copy sold for $35,000.

2. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) / Sweeter as the Days Go By – Frank Wilson (1965)

Approximate value: $37,000

This 45 record contains two northern soul tracks that stem from the British mod scene of the mid 1960s. This vinyl by Frank Wilson represents perhaps the rarest of all his recordings.

Apparently only 250 of these demos were ever pressed, and the artist soon decided to have all of the copies destroyed.

Only two of them still exist. Their extreme rarity means they can command massive sums of money if someone wishes to own them. In 2009, one of these 45s sold for over $37,000.

1. That’ll Be The Day / In Spite Of All The Danger – The Quarrymen (1958)

Approximate value: $250,000

Before becoming the band we all know and love today, The Beatles were first known as The Quarrymen, a five-piece folk and skiffle act.

In 1958, the group descended upon a recording studio to lay down what is widely considered the first ever Beatles song called ‘In Spite Of All The Danger’ along with Buddy Holly cover ‘That’ll Be The Day’ on its B-side.

The single acetate recording fell into the hands of the band’s pianist John “Duff” Lowe. There are also unsubstantiated rumours that Paul McCartney had produced around fifty copies.

The odds of acquiring such a unique record are impossibly low with this one known pressing worth an estimated $250,000.

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Adam Leadbeater

Adam is a guitarist and songwriter, leaning towards rock and indie. He is a freelance writer, and a regular contributor to Pink Wafer.

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