Designing a record console for yourself that has your personality is really exciting, because you’re…
Nobody has a record console with no albums to play, and nobody owns albums without a record console to use. If you have one, you must have the other. LUNO makes high-end consoles for that very reason, because we know that when it comes to listening to vinyl, that quality sounds matters more than anything else. But if there’s value in owning a luxury record console, is there value in having a rare record collection? High-end furniture with rare albums is an elegant design decision, much better than matching your valuable albums with a rusty record player.
Beyond the nostalgic feeling of having a great collection of your favorite records, not all collections are as worthless as you think. Sure, you can walk into a local record store and buy an album for a buck. But there are albums that are worth much more than a buck. Sometimes, tens of thousands or more.
How about two million? That’s the number of reasons why you need a record console, and those reasons come in the form of dollars. To date, and not on the black market, that was the most anyone ever sold a vinyl record for. The exclusive record is a one and only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, sold to a dude who is now locked up, and is currently serving a seven-year sentence in a federal prison. He was ordered to forfeit $7.4 million in assets, which includes that rare $2 million US album.
Obviously, that Wu-Tang album is the exception, but there are other albums with high enough values to make you want a record console worthy of a rare vinyl collection. Why spend a year’s salary for most people on an album without getting a luxury record console to match?
Now high-end furniture is high-end furniture, but what gives a vinyl record its value:
1 – Exclusive releases: Limited pressings of albums of popular musicians can be worth thousands of thousands. If a band released tens of thousands of copies of an album, those will not be worth much. However, if a band only released a limited number of albums, those will be of a higher value. Makes sense. The more popular the band, the more the record will be worth. Even for albums with lots of copies, there are only a handful of copies that can be considered the first out of the batch, and their earlier birth, if you can think of it that way, makes them exclusive. Ringo Starr owned the first copy of The Beatles (White Album), from 1968 when it was released until 2015, when he sold it for $790,000 US. Now that’s what you call foresight!
2 – The fandom is still alive: If a band was popular 40 years ago, and they happen to still be popular now, then limited editions of their albums will be worth quite a lot. If somehow that band is more popular today than in its heyday, and they have caught lighting in a bolt with the younger crowd, that album will be worth even more. Whereas most people will have access to the digital sound, you will have the rare vinyl sound, and that rarity is worth a lot.
3 – Unique artwork: Even though there may be thousands of copies of a band’s record all with the same cover, there might a few copies that have a different cover. Those rare copies become prized possessions, because of their different design. Most Beatles fans are familiar with the look of their 1966 album, Yesterday & Today, with the band around a massive open chest. Fewer people are familiar with the earlier releases of that album cover, with the band covered in slabs of meat and Paul with headless babies on each shoulder. What? Yes, that was released, before sensible people realized that it wasn’t a cool look, so they changed the album cover. A copy of the ‘meat-lovers/headless babysitting’ album sold for $125,000 US in 2013.
4 – Test discs: Some records get made, but are never duplicated or sold, because they were only used to test the sound leading up to the final composition. These unfinished artifacts can be worth quite a fortune, because there may only be one or two out there. A test disc of Aphex Twin’s Caustic Window sold for about $46,000 US in 2014. A test pressing of The Beatles ‘Til There Was You’ 10” acetate, with ‘Hullo Little Girl’ misspelled on side ‘b’ in Brian Epstein’s handwriting, went for £77,500 in 2016, or $100,804 US in today’s currency. A test pressing of Elvis’ ‘My Happiness’ sold for $300,000 in 2015. Think of the cars that you could buy with sums of money like that! (Although not a test disc, an original 1967 copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, signed by the whole band, sold for about $290,000 in 2013, proving how much handwriting by the right people associated with a band can greatly increase the value of an album).
5 – Destruction of records: For whatever reason, record labels destroy records. It is believed that there are only five remaining copies of Frank Wilson’s single, ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)’ of the 250 that were originally pressed. What happened to the other 245? Whether they were destroyed by Wilson himself or by his boss, Berry Gordy, is still a mystery. So where are those five rare copies of that single and how much would you have to spend to get one? Gordy may have one, which would make sense. At a 2009 auction in the UK, one is confirmed to be have been sold for £25,742, or about $33,492 US in today’s currency.
6 – Destruction of master tapes: Once the original, analog master tapes have been destroyed, there is no way to reproduce that authentic sound. Don’t be fooled by digital masters, because they are not the same. We mean the original audio format used to make the record in the first place. Once the master tapes are destroyed, the value of rare copies of a record are very high. In 2013, a 78-rmp copy of ‘Alcohol and Jake Blues’ by Tommy Johnson sold for more than $37,000 US. The shrewd buyer said that it as worth it because he knew that the master tapes had been destroyed.
7 – Death: On Monday, December 8th 1980, John Lennon was killed in tragic and unexpected circumstances. Hours before his death, he signed a copy of he and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy. For an artist who loved signing records, that specific copy was the last copy that he ever signed. In 1999, that copy cold for $150,000 US.