Some of the world’s rarest and most valuable records are from the 70s.
The 1970s spawned a host of fantastic music, full of experimentation and expression. This memorable decade also produced a number of rare and unique vinyl records.
For passionate collectors and fans of the era, a number of 70s records are deemed highly valuable. The reasons for their high value range from rare alternate cover art, cultural significance, to limited availability.
These vinyl records are not only valuable in terms of sentiment, but also hold immense monetary value. Many of them command thousands, or even tens-of-thousands of dollars.
Let’s find out more about ten of the most valuable records from the 70s.
10. The Misfits, ‘Horror Business‘ (1979)
Estimated value: $3,500
Initially, a mere one hundred original copies of The Misfits single ‘Horror Business ‘ were pressed that included an all-back sleeve.
However, they were subsequently rejected by the band because of issues surrounding poor print quality.
In 2020, one of these copies sold for nearly $3,500 and was reportedly bought directly from former Misfits drummer Bobby Steele himself.
9. Elvis Presley, Aloha From Hawaii – Chicken Of Sea Sticker (1973)
Estimated value: $3,500
Recorded in early 1973 at Honolulu International Center, Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite features one of Elvis Presley’s later concerts, broadcast live ‘via satellite to audiences’ across both Asia and Oceania.
Following a hiatus, Presley finally returned to touring across the United States during the 70s. This tour was born from a deal arranged between RCA Records and the NBC network to produce a live vinyl with benefits donated to the Kui Lee Cancer Fund.
These particular versions feature a yellow sticker in the shape of the planet Saturn, and contain promotional information about the event.
Its sponsor, American Seafood company Chicken of the Sea, sits atop of each label – signalling an extremely rare copy that is worth up to $3,500.
8. Pink Floyd, Dark Side Of The Moon – First UK Pressing (1973)
Estimated value: $3,700
Pink Floyd’s 1973 classic album Dark Side of the Moon sports one of the most famous pieces of cover art in mainstream music.
The iconic triangle prism with a rainbow stripe on a black background has become synonymous with the record that soon transformed Pink Floyd into a household name. The album became one of the most popular records from the 70s.
Standard copies aren’t anything to write home about in terms of value. Yet first pressings originating from the UK are worth exploring, and can be spotted by a subtle change in artwork – not on the sleeve but the record itself.
The labels on each rare vinyl have a solid blue triangle compared to the transparent triangle that replaced it soon after. A copy in mint condition can sell for a price tag of around $3,700.
7. Elvis Presley, Moody Blue – Purple Vinyl (1977)
Estimated value: $5,000
Elvis Presley’s twenty-fourth and final studio album Moody Blue was released in July 1977 by RCA Records, only four weeks before his death.
The record combines both live performance and studio projects, including four tracks from Presley’s final recorded work across October 1976, and two further songs that remained from the Graceland recording sessions.
The limited edition American copies of Moody Blue were pressed on translucent blue vinyl but hold only moderate value. The gold, red, white and green coloured variations are worth around $1,200.
There is also a pressing known as ‘splash purple’ that has an estimated value of $5,000. It is amongst the rarest Elvis records.
6. Queen, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody/I’m in Love With My Car’ Single (1975)
Estimated value: $5,000
In 1975, Queen paired what is undoubtedly their most famous single ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with intriguing B-side ‘I’m In Love With My Car,’ which is written and sung by drummer Roger Taylor.
Two hundred limited edition copies were given to guests at one of their awards parties.
These rare pressings are highly sought after and feature a deep blue vinyl with one selling in a Bonham’s auction for nearly $5,000.
5. Joy Division, An Ideal For Living – Alternate Cover (1978)
Estimated value: $5,500
The original sleeve cover art for Joy Division’s 1978 record An Ideal For Living immediately caused controversy upon its release. The design features an image of a Hitler Youth member beating a drum, and is recognisable by his distinct clothing.
The imagery was reportedly drawn by band member Bernard Sumner. The record cover also details the band’s name in a font that draws connotations to Nazi affiliations. It even raised questions about the group being Nazi sympathisers!
The image was eventually replaced by a picture of scaffolding with Joy Division’s name printed vertically in black.
Only one thousand of the original copies were ever pressed before their hasty withdrawal. Today, these rare relics have an estimated value of around $5,500.
4. Electric Light Orchestra, Eldorado – Test Pressing (1974)
Estimated value: $7,500
Eldorado is one of ELO’s best-selling albums. Yet, fascinatingly, the record wasn’t initially released into the public domain.
A limited number of test pressings of this 1974 work found their way into the mainstream, but quickly disappeared into the hands of collectors or, it would seem, industry personnel.
The fact that this test pressing features an incomplete track list makes it extremely rare, and it is incredibly valuable in the eyes of enthusiasts. In 2022, one of the pressings sold for $7,500.
3. Stonewall, Stonewall (1976)
Estimated value: $14,000
1970s record label Tiger Lily is renowned as being a “tax scam” outfit, producing records without paying out for promotion or artist royalties.
Hard rock band Stonewall “collaborated” with Tiger Lily to create their self-titled album. Along with every work the label has ever made, Stonewall’s record has since become extremely desirable amongst collectors.
A handful of copies remain. One sold for $14,000 in 2014, firmly placing it amongst the most valuable records from the 70s.
2. David Bowie, Diamond Dogs – Alternate Cover (1974)
Estimated value: $16,000
David Bowie’s eighth studio album Diamond Dogs caused a great deal of controversy upon its release in 1974, thanks to its album artwork.
The vinyl record comes with artwork that when completely unfolded displays a full-body image of Bowie as seemingly a half-man and half-dog hybrid.
A version exists where the dog’s lower half is uncensored and the animal’s genitals can clearly be seen. A select number escaped into the world before label RCA decided to pull the cover from shelves.
Alternate cover art was eventually released, with the offending area airbrushed out or darkened.
The remaining few uncensored covers that exist in circulation are rare and sell for enormous amounts when they appear at auction – in 2019, a copy sold for $16,000.
1. Sex Pistols, ‘God Save the Queen’ – Single (1977)
Estimated value: $17,000
The single ‘God Save The Queen’ by The Sex Pistols caused quite a stir when it was unleashed in the UK during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year.
Originally, twenty-five thousand copies of the record were pressed. However, following EMI’s decision to release the band from their contract, any remaining vinyls were sent to be destroyed.
There are thought to be just nine copies that were spared and still in existence today, making just one of them incredibly rare.
A singular original vinyl recording is estimated to be worth in the region of $17,000, making it the most valuable record from the 70s.
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