What Are the Most Valuable Vinyl Records of All Time?


Image of vinyl records.

These are the most valuable vinyl records of all time – Author Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

When it comes to vinyl records being worth a lot of money, it’s a slippery slope. You have to remember that back in the day, millions and millions of vinyl records were pressed, because it was the only format for music. So, even if you have a rocking vinyl collection from the 1960s and 1970s, those albums might be so common that they aren’t worth much. But, there are a few special vinyl album that are worth a lot of dough. They’re really the most valuable vinyl records of all time.

When was vinyl most popular?

Vinyl records have been around a long time. RCA Victor released the first commercial vinyl long-playing record way back in 1930. From there, vinyl grew exponentially in popularity. Then, beginning in 1939, Columbia Records worked to develop even more vinyl technology. In 1948, the 12-inch Long Play (LP) 33 1/3 rpm microgroove record was born.

Vinyl was all the rage until cassettes took over. Phillips launched the first cassette in 1962, but it took years for that technology to develop and overtake the vinyl record. In 1974, Phillips also started creating the Compact Disc (CD). Between the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a big dip in popularity for vinyl records. But, for the past decade, vinyl has once again found a home, as some music lovers enjoy the nostalgia of it.

Some people also just think vinyl records sound better than anything you would hear on a CD, cassette or digitally. I think that MP3s in the early days were rough, but now, you can get high-quality MP3s that sound fantastic. I’m also a fan of CDs, as the first albums I ever bought were on CD. But, there’s really no beating the nostalgia of vinyl records.

What Are the Most Valuable Vinyl Records of All Time?

Let’s ask a music expert to name the most valuable vinyl records of all time. Marthastewart.com asked music expert Frank Daniels, who writes a monthly column about record collecting in Goldmine Magazine.

He says the No. 1 most valuable vinyl record is The Beatles’ “White Album.” It actually sold for $790,000 in December 2015. “As the cover artist indicated, each copy of the album was numbered sequentially, giving it the ridiculous distinction of being a ‘numbered limited edition’ of over six hundred thousand copies,” Daniels told Marthastewart.com. This vinyl record was also numbered No.0000001, so it was the very first pressing. It also was owned by a Ringo Starr before it was sold. Wow.

The No. 2 most valuable vinyl record of all time is Elvis Presley’s “My Happiness.” In January 2015, a copy of that album sold for $300,000. It was actually the very first album King ever recorded. “It was a ‘live’ demonstration record, which the legend says he recorded for his mother,” Daniels said. “Back then, people could walk into Sun Studio in Memphis and pay to make their own record.”

So, it’s easy to see why these albums were so in demand and the most valuable vinyl records ever.

Aside from these, how do you know if you have any vinyl records sitting around that are worth money? “Vinyl records are worth money if they’re rare, unique or produced by famous artists,” and “sometimes all of the above,” TheHouseofMarley.com says. They add that, as with the aforementioned Elvis and Beatles records, “While every pressing varies in value, first pressings are the true ‘diamonds in the dust.'” So, if you have a first pressing of any popular artist, really, it could be worth a lot.

Take any vinyl albums that you think could be worth something to a trusted local collector. They should also be able to asses their value. Just make sure it’s a place you trust. On the subject of classic music from the 1960s and 1970s, go inside the story behind Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” here.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Music, Rock, Rock News