Who would have thought that vinyl records would ever come back in style? The members of the younger generations have started to express interest in these items. As a rule of thumb, the record is more valuable the rarer it is. Keep an eye out for these records because you might have something worth thousands of dollars in your garage!
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin (1969)
Led Zeppelin released its eponymous debut album with covers and original songs. Among others, there was a rerecording of Jake Holmes’ “Dazed and Confused” on it. It had mixed reviews when it first came out. Rolling Stone said Robert Plant was “as foppish as Rod Stewart, but nowhere near so exciting.” It was a commercial hit, and Rolling Stone went on to call it the 29th greatest album in history as of 2003. The UK release of the debut album comes with the band name in turquoise lettering. The ones that followed this edition would have them in orange! You can get $1,000 for one with turquoise.
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (1959)
This might be the coolest record you will find on this list. Miles Davis completely changed the game for jazz artists. However, his most valuable record is none other than Some Kind of Blue. The celebrated trumpeter recorded it with other jazz legends like John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb. Critics unanimously agree that it is his greatest record. It is also the best-selling album in the genre! You can fetch $1,000 for an original pressing of this.
The Who, The Who Sell Out (1967)
Did you know that they only made a thousand copies of the third album by The Who? We are talking about the first run, of course, the half mono and half pressed in stereo that came with a psychedelic butterfly poster. If you have the rare album and the poster, you can put it up for $1,100 on eBay! Christ Stamp, the co-manager and producer of the band, asked the brands in the interludes and on the cover for endorsement money. Odorono and PAMS Productions found the request offensive and sued them.
Nirvana, Bleach (1989)
Even though it is their Nevermind tracks that get the most airtime, the debut record is the one worth the most. There are actually two versions of this album that will make record collectors turn green with envy. The original pressing goes for around $2,500! They only had 1,000 copies made, and they are distinctive for the white color. The 3rd pressing of the same album is even more exclusive with 500 copies made. You can identify them for the 7” blue vinyl and the 12” red and white one. They go for $1,100!
XTC — Science Friction (1977)
This British new wave act released “She’s So Square” and “Science Friction” as a 45 RPM single. Reports say there were only 50 copies made before they decided to release it as a 12” instead. If you have the 7” one, you can get as much as $2,000 for it! The record did launch their career, after all. XTC eventually released 14 albums and influenced the Brit-pop scene during the ‘90s.
David Bowie — The Prettiest Star (1973)
If you have the picture-sleeved copy of the 45 RPM single, you should know that you have something rare in your hands. It is one of the most iconic images in the history of rock and roll! Apparently, avid Bowie performed this song over the phone while he asked Angela Barnett to marry him. Marc Bolan, who is his main rival for the title “The King of Glam” also plays the guitar on the track. Things turned sour between them when Bolan’s wife told Bowie, “Marc is too good for you, to be playing on this record!” Clearly, Ziggy Stardust had the last laugh. A conservative estimate for the record is $2,000.
ABBA — Hova’s Vittne (1981)
The special promotional copy of this ABBA single was exclusively distributed to record companies. They only printed 200 copies of this red vinyl. The side A features “Hova’s Vittne”, while side B has “Tivedshambo”. The Swedish band is one of the most commercially successful bands ever. Their lineup consisted of two couples: Lyngstad and Andersson, and Fältskog and Ulvaeus. Unfortunately, neither marriages withstood the test of time and fame. If you have Hova’s Vittne, you can sell it for $3,500!
The Quarrymen — That’ll Be the Day (1981)
Are you a huge fan of The Beatles? If so, you might recognize “Quarrymen” to be the first name they took before they made it big. However, this happened before Ringo joined them. They recorded an original song called “In Spite of All the Danger” and the Buddy Holly song “That’ll Be the Day” in 1958. The single was reprinted by Paul McCartney and will fetch you a fortune! He had 50 copies printed just for his family and friends. They say the original acetate might just be the most expensive record ever, but we will only know this if Paul puts it on the market. Anyway, the reprint is worth about $3,500!
Cherry Five — Cherry Five (1975)
Classic horror fans probably swooned after hearing this! After Cherry Five released the record, they changed the band name to Goblin. They went on to provide the OST for Deep Red, Dawn of the Dead, and Supiria. The first release is very rare, which is why you can sell it for $3,500. They broke out after changing the name and working on the soundtrack for Profondo Rosso by Dario Argento. They collaborated some more with him and other horror filmmakers.
David Bowie, Diamond Dogs (1974)
We doubt that Guy Peellaert, who worked on the Diamond Dogs album cover, knew that his painting would make it so big. This version of the Bowie RCA release was not intended to come out. The label allegedly got nervous when they noticed that the back album cover showed the lower half of a dog! They airbrushed it before releasing the album. Some employees took off with the originals, however. A copy once went for $3,550 on eBay in 2003. We bet you can get a higher price for it these days!
The Beatles — Abbey Road (1969)
If you have this rare version of this classic by The Beatles, you can fetch $4,000 for it. Check if your copy has the black and yellow Parlophone Records label tag. If it does, you have the rare UK export! The catalog number should be PPCS 7088. Abbey Road, their 11th studio album, initially got mixed reviews when it was released. It is now considered one of the greatest records in rock history! Rolling Stone even ranked it 14th on their “500 Greatest Records of All Time” list.
Elvis Presley, That’s All Right (1954)
Did you know that the King recorded this album during a studio session for a different song? He was resting from recording when he, bassist Bill Black, and guitarist Scotty Moore jammed to the Arthur Crudup song called “That’s All Right, Mama”. Sam Phillips heard this and pressed the record button! They featured “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on the B-side of the album. The rest is history. If you have a mint condition version of this record, you can get about $4,000 for it!
The Thirteenth Floor Elevators — Reverbaration (Doubt) (1966)
This is an early recording featuring four songs by Thirteenth Floor Elevators. You can get as much as $4,000 for it! The record comes with the following songs: “Fire Engine”, “You’re Gonna Miss Me”, “Reveraration (Doubt)”, and “Tried to Hide.” The band became very influential and essentially invented the psychedelic rock genre. Despite this, the band has a short discography as they only made four studio albums. Guitarist Roky Erickson had paranoid schizophrenia, which made things hard for his career. He eventually got the treatment he needed, which led to a reunion in 2015. He died on May 31, 2019.
The Beatles, Please Please Me (1963)
It is no secret that The Beatles did not have a lot of time to work on this album. They merely had four songs when the deadline was approaching, so they recorded seven songs in a single day! It took them 9 hours and 45 minutes to do this. On top of that, John Lennon was suffering from a cold that day. This explains his raspy voice when they recorded “Twist and Shout”. Someone once sold an original copy of the first pressing for $4,200! If your copy has the band name in gold against a black label, you are in luck.
Depeche Mode, Music for the Masses
It is the cover art that makes this record even more valuable than usual. The original UK version of this album had a graphic of a white speaker that was releasing soundwaves against a bright orange background. They scrapped this design and replaced it with a photo of a loudspeaker in a desert instead. By accident, the label shipped out several of the old records by mistake. If you own a copy of the album with the old design, you can fetch $4,600 for it like keyboardist Alan Wilder did in 2011.
Misfits, Legacy of Brutality (1985)
Did you know that they only made 16 copies during the second pressing of the compilation album? Legacy of Brutality was pressed, overdubbed, and produced by singer Glen Danzig after quitting the band. He overdubbed the instrumentals of the old recordings to avoid paying his old bandmates royalties. It led to a months-long legal battle anyway. If you have a mint copy of the record from that pressing, you can get $5,000 for it!
Elvis Presley — Speedway (1968)
When Elvis Presley worked on Speedway, he was approaching the end of his acting days. Critics did not like the film, nor did it perform well at the box office. However, this does not change the fact that the soundtrack is worth a lot of money! Rumor says that they only printed 300 copies of it. In the movie, he portrays a racer whose generosity lands him in hot water with the IRS. The agent on his case was Nancy Sinatra, and this marked the beginning of a romance! Anyway, you can get $5,000 for a mint recording that is still in the packaging with the red sticker on the shrink wrap.
Brute Force — King of Fuh (1969)
This album was printed by Apple Recordings, the label of The Beatles. Can you believe that it was almost not released? It nearly happened because of some obscenity in the lyrics. When EMI and Capitol expressed a lack of interest in the record, The Beatles wanted to release it on their own. In 2010, they gave it a proper release date. That is nearly five decades since its first recording! However, you can only get the $5,000 if you have a copy from the original release.
Elton John — I’ve Been Loving You (1968)
This was the debut record of Elton John himself! Bernie Taupin, his collaborator, received credit for writing the lyrics. However, Elton John later admitted that he was the one to compose them. He handed Bernie the credit to help him with his first publishing royalties. This is a rare single, but you have a sizable fortune if you own the rare copy released exclusively in Portugal. That version comes with “Angel Tree” and “Thank You for All Your Loving”. You can get $5,000 for it!
Bruce Springsteen, Spirit in the Night (1973)
Do you have any idea how rare it is to find an original pressing of the first Bruce Springsteen single? The promotional copies can fetch you hundreds, but the original pressing is believed to be worth as much as $5,000. The Boss recorded “Spirit in the Night” for the full-length debut, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Despite its critical acclaim, neither the LP or single sold well back then. The musician only made it big when he released Born to Run, his third album! “Spirit in the Night” is still a crowd favorite, however.
Century Symphony Orchestra, Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr. (1956)
You would be wrong if you thought that there would be no classical music on this list. Record companies usually got the help of unknown artists to work on the album covers of classical and jazz releases. They had no idea that the starving artist who worked on this would be a star in the art world. That person was none other than Andy Warhol! As far as people know, there are only 7 copies of the record. In 2012, one such copy sold for a sweet $5,500. There is another one on display at the Andy Warhol Museum.
Max Steiner, The Caine Mutiny
This is basically half dialogue recording and half soundtrack. It was scrapped when author Herman Wouk threatened that he would not allow the studio to use his work again if they released it. He was furious when he saw that they were stealing his intellectual property. The B-side was a verbatim recording of a scene from his novel. Columbia said they would destroy all copies they had of this album, but employees stole a couple of them first. They say there is a dozen out there! In 2007, one was sold for $6,700.
Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen (1977)
They pressed 25,000 copies of the single. It is believed that only 10 of these survived when A&M had them destroyed. The Sex Pistols apparently terrorized the label so much that they got dropped only six days after they signed the contract in front of Buckingham Palace. Johnny Rotten reportedly threatened execs and cursed them out. Meanwhile, Sid Vicious ruined the toilet at A&M HQ. The label decided they were too much to handle, so they dropped the punk legends and destroyed all copies of their single. Some people knew well enough to filch several copies before they were ruined. Copies of the album that come with the A&M label on the center have been sold for more than $8,600!
U2, Pride (In the name of love) (1984)
They say that there are only 50 copies of the limited Australian version on translucent vinyl. Very few of these copies have popped up, however. The song might rank 388th on the Rolling Stone list of the greatest songs in history, but Bono was not happy with it. The song talks about the assassination of MLK and the civil rights movement, but he is convinced they could have improved the lyrics some more. The Edge and Brian Eno apparently convinced him to keep things vague so that the lyrics would resonate more with their non-English fans. At any rate, you can get up to $9,000 for a copy of the 12” singles!
Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Xanadu (1980)
Xanadu often comes up on another kind of list. It is often called one of the worst movies out there. However, the promotional picture disc that has the theme song is among the most valuable records in history. Apparently, Olivia Newton-John did not like the way she looked in the photo. She hated it so much that she asked them to halt the pressing! Only 20 to 30 records have survived this. If you have a copy, you can get $9,100 for it.
Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568 (1957)
We have more good news for all you jazz fans! In 1957, they made 300 to 1,000 copies of this record. However, there was a small variation that makes a particular version even more valuable. The story says that Blue Note ran out of labels while printing this record. This is the reasons some copies had the label address down as “47 West 63rd NYC”. However, it was listed as “47 West 63rd New York 23” on others. The standard one sold for $11,162 in 2015! We bet the other one is worth more than that.
Robert Johnson, Me and the Devil Blues (1938)
The 78 RPM platter in question has “Me and the Devil Blues” on side A, “Little Queen of Spades” on side B. Can you believe that you might be sitting on $12,000 if you have the original pressing in good shape? “Me and the Devil Blues” talks about a singer who finds Satan knocking at his door. Johnson allegedly met the devil at the crossroads in Highway 1 and 8 in Mississippi. He reportedly traded his soul for the mastery of guitar! Think what you will, but there is no denying that he had a great impact on the genre!
The White Stripes, Lafayette Blues (1998)
Did you know that they only pressed 15 copies of this record by The White Stripes? What makes them so unique was that Dave Buick of Italy Records hand-painted the covers! The album has “Lafayette Blues” on side A, “Sugar Never Tasted So Good” on side B. They were made for a Detroit record release show in 1998. At the time, the band was only starting out. If you attended the gig and forked out $6 back then, you might be sitting on $12,700 now! Whoa.
Stonewall, Stonewall (1976)
There is no need to worry if you have never heard of this ‘70s psychedelic hard rock band before. They are pretty obscure and did not sign with a record label. Their only release got pressed without the knowledge of the band! Tiger Lily, the record label that did this, was a mob-operated tax scam. Apparently, they would press a huge chunk of records and write them off as unsold. It helped keep “Roulette”, the parent label, afloat. Several of the records have landed in the right hands and helped the band achieve cult status. The right buyer spent $14,000 on this eponymous LP! In 2017, It’s Psychedelic Baby tracked down Anthony Assalti, the drummer of the obscure band, for an interview.
Röyksopp, Melody A.M. (2001)
This was the debut record of the Norwegian electronic duo! It was a commercial and critical hit that sold more than 1 million copies! The group became big in the U.S. when a popular Geico commercial featured “Remind Me”. The pressing of the record is especially valuable. It features a stencil rendition made by Banksy! They only made 100 limited edition copies of these, with a number of color variants. If you scored one of these, it is not unreasonable to ask $14,204 for it.
The Beatles, Yesterday and Today (1966)
The original cover of the record shows all four members of The Beatles in butcher’s attire. They were holding headless baby dolls and had raw meat across their laps as well! We do not know what they had in mind back then, but we are in no place to question the choices made by the great rock band. Many people disapproved of the cover, so Capitol Records paid $250,000 to buy back the 750,000 copies they printed and sent to stores. They failed to retrieve all of them. A copy can get you $15,300!
The Rolling Stones, Street Fighting Man (1968)
Here is yet another album that had a controversial cover! The original artwork for this album by The Rolling Stones displayed a black and white photo of unconcerned policemen standing over a wounded protestor. The band name and title were printed in huge block letters. Before the album was released, the 1968 Democratic National Convention riot happened. The record thought it would be controversial to use the cover art and destroyed these records instead. They did not get 18 copies, however. In 2011, one of them was auctioned off for $17k!
The Five Sharps, Stormy Weather (1952)
If you watch Pawn Stars, perhaps you already know the significance of this record. A collector tried to sell this 78 RPM disc for $25k! Rick thought it was too much for this vinyl, especially since it was not in mint condition. Still, it was a rare record with only two others known to exist. One of those was sold for $20k! The album sales were so terrible in the beginning that the band members bought copies despite the fact that they did not get paid to record it. Things sure changed for them!
The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
The first pressings of the band’s debut record in mono are up for sale at $2,799 on Discogs. Most historians believe that punk rock began in the ‘70s, and this record is often cited to be a huge influence on the genre. Yes, this is the case even though it got banned by almost all the radio stations and sold poorly. However, Brian Eno drove the point home when he said, “Everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.” A Canadian collector got a copy without the Warhol artwork for only 75 cents. It was not a regular re-pressing! It was a test pressing that only featured the early versions of numerous songs. There are only two copies in existence – the other one belongs to Moe Tucker, the former drummer for the band himself. The collector scored $25,200 after putting it up on eBay.
Frank Wilson, Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)
Shortly after Frank Wilson recorded “Do I Love You” and “Sweeter As the Days Go By”, he reluctantly agreed with Berry Gordy that he was better suited working behind the scenes. He wrote hit songs for acts like the Temptations and the Supremes. The Motown founder then ordered the destruction of the pressings. Two copies survived, and they left one of these in the Motown vault for ten years before vinyl dealer Simon Soussan discovered it. He then bootlegged it and released it under the name Eddie Foster. It became a hit! One of the two original records was sold for nearly $34,000 during an auction in 2009.
Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
Sometimes, a small imperfection or mistake will increase the worth of a collector’s item. That was what happened here. A couple of trackers were supposed to be replaced before it was released, although the pressing plant did not get the memo. They ended up pressing a couple of copies with the original lineup! If you have a copy with a serial number ending in -1A, it probably comes with four songs called “Rocks and Gravel, “Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand”, “Let Me Die In My Footsteps”, and “Talkin’ John Birch Blues”. Such a record is estimated to be worth $35,000 or even more!
Tommy Johnson, Alcohol And Jake Blues (1930)
This lucky man from North Carolina got this very rare 78 RPM record during an estate sale. He then put it up on eBay and saw a bidding war happen. The final bid was $37,100. Some people believe that there are only 2 copies of this and that both belong to John Tefteller, the winning bidder. Tommy Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil for his guitar skills. This story was the inspiration for a character with the same name in the film called O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Prince, The Black Album
After Prince recorded The Black Album or “The Funk Bible” and pressed 500,000 copies of it, he stopped the release and paid for a recall! Apparently, he had an epiphany that the record was “evil”. By the time he did this, the promotional copies already made rounds. Despite the protestations of the artist, the record got bootlegged a lot and even saw a lot of airtime. The singer later changed his opinion and released a CD version in 1994. In 2018, an original and unopened American vinyl version went for $42,300. Meanwhile, an unsealed Canadian pressing went for $27,500!
Aphex Twin aka Caustic Window, Caustic Window
Richard D. James was an eccentric and reclusive techno-drum and bass producer. Also known as Aphex Twin, he recorded an album under his alias “Caustic Window”. He pressed five copies but abandoned the project after this. One copy somehow made it out. In 2014, it went up on Discogs for $13,500. Rephlex Records, Doctors Without Borders, and James got it and started a campaign on Kickstarter to release a digital copy. They raised $47,000 and split it between Doctors Without Borders and James. Markus Persson, “Minecraft” creator, paid $46,300 for the vinyl.
The Beatles, The Beatles (aka “The White Album”) (1968)
The list ends with an undisputed classic, of course. However, this specific album is not like the others. It was the very first pressing of the ninth album, the one with the serial number “A0000001”. For a long time, it was believed that John Lennon had it, but the truth is that it was in the possession of Ringo Starr. He kept it safe in a bank vault for 35 years before the Polyvinyl chloride was auctioned off for an incredible $790,000. The drummer donated the money to Lotus Foundation, his charity for domestic violence victims, the homeless, cancer research, and more notable causes. If you have a copy with a low serial number, you can also get a good price for it. In 2012, A0000023 was sold for $13,750.
Steel City Connection, Dansation/Steel City Disco (1978)
This vinyl can sell for about $885 today. Compared to how much someone would have paid for it when it was released in 1978, that’s a huge paycheck! The songs on this album went on to be huge hits, which makes sense for why the album is worth so much money today.
Thrillers/Delta Cats, Last Dance/Unworthy Baby (1968)
This album was released via Blue Cat Records in 1968 and is now being sold for over $1,000 a piece. Delta Cats and Thrillers are UK groups, and they sure have a large fan base, not only in the UK, but internationally as well.
Terea, Terea (1977)
This eight-song album from 1977 used to sell for no more than the average vinyl, but now you’ll have to fight tooth and nail to get your hands on one of these albums just to pay over $1,700 for it! This was the second album of two albums released from the band, and it’s still a huge hit today.
Nirvana, Love Buzz/Big Cheese (1988)
It’s rare to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of Nirvana, which is why it makes sense that their music is not only still popular today, but that their albums are worth thousands of dollars. This album can be sold for over $3,000, but in order to buy it, you’ll have to find it first! Good luck, these are rare.
World’s Experience Orchestra, The Beginning Of A New Birth (1975)
Though there are only two songs on this popular soul-jazz album, one of them is 22 minutes long and the other is 14 minutes, so you’re still experiencing the greatness of World’s Experience Orchestra’s music. This vinyl can be purchased for over $3,500 today!
Tudor Lodge, Tudor Lodge (1971)
This vinyl with six tracks on each side is worth nothing short of a fortune these days. You will be able to purchase this album from someone, if you’re lucky, for about $3,540. That’s not cheap, but for some great classic songs, it may be worth it.
The Smiths, Hand In Glove/Handsome Devil (1984)
Though not released until 1984, this album was recorded in February of 1983 at Strawberry Studios in Stockport, England. This vinyl can be classified into the genre of jangle and British Pop. Today, you can expect to pay upwards of $3,500 for this album!
Pink Floyd, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
Pink Floyd is a band name that is known in nearly every household in the world, despite the fact that a lot of the younger generations do not necessarily listen to their music regularly. The album took three months to record at EMI Studios in London, and was released in May of 1967.
Nicholas Greenwood, Cold Cuts (1972)
This album has 10 songs on it, all of which have been described in a positive light as being “unpredictable”. The album took listeners by storm and earned its way to being a classic vinyl, selling today for over $3,500!
Charlie Parker, Bird Blows The Blues (1949)
This album has six songs on Track A and seven songs on Track B, and all 13 songs have made their way into peoples’ hearts. This album can be categorized as jazz with a boppy feel to it, which is something that can be enjoyed by many varieties of people. Today, you can buy this album for about $3,540.
U2, Three (1979)
This album was recorded in August 1979 at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin and was first released in Ireland just one month later, in September 1979. There are three songs on this vinyl, all of which are under four minutes long, but U2 fans love it anyway. Today you likely won’t find this album for less than $3,500.
Sun Ra, Supersonic Jazz (1956)
SuperSonic Jazz is a 12-track album by Sun Ra, recorded in 1956 at RCA Studios in Chicago. SuperSonic Jazz was the first album to be released by Saturn Records, the label run by Sun Ra and Alton Abraham, and was one of only three albums by Sun Ra to have been available in the 1950s. This album was released on July 12, 1956 and can be purchased today for about $4,425.
Madonna, Erotica (1992)
This 14-track album is one of the newest ones on this list, being released only 27 years ago in October of 1992. Madonna is still in the limelight and is still performing her music, but this album is considered to be a classic. You can purchase this vinyl for $4,425.
Michael Garrick Trio, Moonscape (1964)
This jazz album that has six tracks on it was released in 1964 by Airborne. This was not the band’s only album, but it seems to be the most popular one to this day. If you were looking to buy the vinyl for this album, you’ll have to have about $5,310 ready to pay up for it!
Genesis, The Silent Sun/That’s Me! (1980)
This classic rock album features five songs on Track A and six songs on Track B, but all 11 songs are some of their greatest hits. Genesis has been labeled as having a few different styles of music, some of which are psychadelic rock, art rock, and prog rock. If you want to buy this vinyl today it will cost you nearly $5,300.