Whilst streaming services have been dominating the music industry, statistics demonstrate how vinyls are making a strong comeback. In recent years, vinyl records have even begun to surpass sales of CDs, with millennial consumers driving the trend. This largely stems from the belief that the analogue sound that turntables offer is superior to modern digital audio, with the crackling effects providing a sense of nostalgia. Collecting vinyl records can be an expensive hobby; however, after seeing these absurdly priced records, you’re less likely to feel bad about that last purchase. So, with this being said, what are the most valuable records that have been sold throughout history?
John Lennon & Yoko Ono (Double Fantasy)
It is a well-known fact that a signed record will lead to a greater return than a regular copy. Yet, circumstances meant this vinyl, signed by the late John Lennon, was one of the most valuable signed copies throughout history, and may stay this way for some years to come. The record was signed just several hours before his death, later being sold for $150,000 in 1999. Whilst the price tag may seem unreasonably high, it is worth noting that the owner now holds the last record ever to be signed by the artist.
Elvis Presley (My Happiness)
Elvis’ first ever recording would feature two cover songs: ‘That’s When Your Heartache Begins’ and ‘My Happiness.’ The sale of the record coincided with The King’s 80th and started at a respectable $50,000. By the end of the online auction, the vinyl was bought for the price of $300,000, a remarkable feat given the original artist had paid a mere $4 for the recording in his younger years. It later turned out that the buyer was none other than Jack White, former lead singer of the White Stripes. The Owner of Third Man Records revealed on multiple occasions that he is passionate about vinyl records and their unique format, which is why it was no surprise when he released a convincing limited edition copy of the ‘My Happiness’ record, with an authentic-looking sleeve, similar to the brown paper bag of the original.
The Beatles (The Beatles – White Album)
It’s common knowledge that the drummer of The Beatles, Ringo Starr, was the proud owner of the initial copy of their self-tiled double album. What authenticates this is the serial number on the sleeve, which boldly reads 0000001. Starr eventually chose to put his copy of the record up for auction in the US, leading to a shocking end result when the vinyl was sold for the sum of $790,000. This made history for being the highest-paid price for a commercially-released album.
Wu-Tang Clan (Once Upon a Time in Shaolin)
Undoubtedly, the most valuable record sold throughout history, for a staggering $2 million, was the 2015 album by the Wu-Tang Clan. This is no surprise due to the rarity of the vinyl record – only one copy was ever produced. A contract was signed upon the sale of the record, stating that the buyer was not allowed to sell or make money from the album for a minimum of 100 years; although, they could choose to release the music free of charge. The vinyl was purchased by Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, who has since been convicted of multiple crimes and the record now situates with PleasrDAO after being sold by the federal government.