Is there a single worth £200,000 hidden in your attic? | Daily Mail

Nothing, not even coronavirus, can stop the inexorable rise in vinyl sales – with many music fans now preferring to spin a record rather than pop on a compact disc.

With purchases expected to top five million in Britain this year, the resurgence in demand is also having a knock-on effect on the value of vinyl – with some collectables selling for thousands of pounds.

In October, a signed first pressing of 1965 The Who’s My Generation album sold for a record-breaking £8,400 at auction – smashing the £1,500 valuation.

In a separate sale, a copy of the 1977 Sex Pistols Virgin label album Never Mind The B******s – with a seven-inch promotional single – went under the hammer for £2,700.

Record price: 1958’s That’ll Be The Day by The Quarrymen with John Lennon, above

But this investment is still a relative bargain for punk band vinyl. The Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen single that was also due to be released in 1977 by A&M Records – before the group was fired after Sid Vicious smashed up its office toilet – can command an auction price of £9,000.

This is because only a handful of the cancelled singles escaped being melted down once the band was kicked out of the building.

The single was released later that same year by Virgin Records but copies only sell for £20.

Rob Campkin is owner of Cambridge-based record shop Lost in Vinyl. He says: ‘Collecting vinyl can be a minefield when you start searching for valuable rarities – but it is also hugely rewarding.’

He believes a local independent record shop is a good place for collectors to get guidance on key issues such as pressings, condition and special editions. He adds: ‘There was a time when it could be an intimidating experience seeking help from a record dealer but these days we are far more open to new customers and eager to help.’

Monthly magazine Record Collector costs £4.95 and is a treasure chest of useful information. The accompanying Rare Record Price Guide (£24.95) gives information on historic releases and values.

Another industry bible is the Goldmine Record Album (£22.99) that focuses on US releases. Website Discogs provides details on all the different pressings that bands have made and the prices they have fetched. It also gives links to online traders.

Campkin believes the tactile nature of vinyl is one reason behind its renaissance – as well as the fabulous artwork on many sleeves. Also, there is a growing understanding that ‘music can sound better on a decent record player than through a music streaming service’.

Last year, CD sales fell by more than a quarter to 22million. Experts now believe vinyl sales could overtake those of CDs within a couple of years as a new generation of music fans turn to vinyl.

The highest selling vinyl album this year is Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for the British Phonographic Industry, says: ‘Bands such as Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Queen are perennial best sellers.

‘There is an aspirational quality and an emotional connection with their vinyl. The occasional scratch can even give an authentic feel, although an investor will only want an early pressing in top pristine condition.’

According to Record Collector, the most valuable record is a 1958 ten-inch acetate of a single That’ll Be The Day recorded by The Quarrymen before they became The Beatles.

This one-off cost 17 shillings and sixpence (87.5p) to record but is now valued at more than £200,000. The Beatles are still the most collectable band. Early pressings of their 1968 White Album can fetch £10,000.

When looking for first pressings – the first batch of records released – it’s advised to look at the issued code on the spine of the LP sleeve as well as on the disc. There is also a so-called ‘matrix run-out’ code etched on the end-groove of the vinyl on the inside of a disc.

This provides details of the pressing plant and when it was recorded. This is often hard to see and you might need to hold the record to the light and look at it at an angle. Websites such as Discogs offer full details of what these strange looking codes mean.

Vinyl is professionally graded – and understandably investors want the best quality available.

The grading system is separate for the disc and sleeve – but they should both be in top condition. Investors tend to opt for a ‘mint’ or ‘near mint’ copy – which is worth more than double that of a ‘very good’ condition record. #

Very good indicates a record has been played a lot and that light scratches might be heard. A ‘good’ record might be badly scratched – not good at all.

A Discogs spokesman says: ‘Our database enables you to find all the available versions of a particular record – and look up what record you already have and to catalogue your vinyl using our ‘collection’ online library service.

‘But it is not only early pressings of the most popular bands that people look out for – but also unusual rarities. These can include rare record labels, international releases, thicker 180 gram discs, different colour variations, limited releases and odd album covers.’

Coloured vinyl will not sound any better than traditional black but because fewer copies are released the records can often fetch more money.

For example, a 1970 Pink Floyd The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn album that was released in Japan on red vinyl can sell for £3,000.

The album was originally issued in 1967 and a mono version from this year can sell for £1,500. A standard 1971 re-issue might go for £70.

Take these turntables for a spin

Buying a classic old record player can be a shrewd investment – as their values rarely fall. One can be plugged into existing hi-fi equipment as long as there is an amplifier with a built-in ‘phono stage’ to boost the signal.

Here are four of the best second-hand turntables – prices vary according to condition.

Iconic: A futuristic Transcriptor record deck as used in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange

Garrard 301 £1,800 This forerunner of the modern turntable came out in 1954. It was introduced as a bare chassis without a base – known as a plinth. Early examples often had a homemade plinth made of slate or marble.

Michell Gyrodec £1,500 Not just a fabulous sounding piece of kit – but a work of art. The 1982 British-made disc spinner was developed from a futuristic Transcriptor record deck used in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

Linn Sondek LP 12 £1,000 The turntable audiophiles hold up as the benchmark for top quality vinyl listening. Introduced in 1973 by Glasgow-based company Linn, it can be upgraded with ease – but this will cost thousands of pounds.

Rega Planar 3 £250 This relatively bargain-priced turntable came out in 1978 and its modern reincarnation is still going strong. Offers a great introduction to how vinyl can sound much better than CDs and music streaming.

Source: Is there a single worth £200,000 hidden in your attic? | Daily Mail Online