40 of the Most Valuable Vinyl Records That Could Be In Your Collection
Brought back from the verge of extinction, vinyl record sales are booming due to a renewed interest among younger generations. As a general rule, the rarer the record, the more valuable it is — so, who knows? You may have some treasure buried in your garage.
Next time you go crate diggin’, keep a keen eye out for any of these records.
40. Led Zeppelin | Led Zeppelin (1969) | Worth $1,000
Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut featured a mix of original material and covers of blues songs, including a re-recording of the track “Dazed and Confused,” originally written and recorded by Jake Holmes. The now-iconic record was met with mixed reviews: Rolling Stone called Robert Plant “as foppish as Rod Stewart, but nowhere near so exciting.”
39. Miles Davis | Kind of Blue (1959) | Worth $1,000
It may not be number one on this list, but it’s arguably the coolest record on here. Miles Davis revolutionized the jazz genre multiple times during his career, but his most valuable record (at least in financial terms) is Kind of Blue.
38. The Who | The Who Sell Out (1967) | Worth $1,100
There were only 1,000 copies in the first run of the Who’s third album — half pressed in stereo and half mono. The album included a psychedelic butterfly poster. If you’ve got one of the rare albums and the poster, you should be able to get around $1,100 for it on eBay.
37. Nirvana | Bleach (1989) | Worth $1,100
Songs from Nevermind may get the most spins on the radio, but it’s the Seattle band’s debut record on famed indie label Sub Pop that’s worth the big bucks. There are two variations in particular that make record collectors salivate.
36. XTC | Science Friction (1977) | Worth $2,000
The British new wave band put out “Science Friction” and “She’s So Square” as a 45 RPM single. Purportedly, there were only 50 copies printed before the band decided to put it out as a 12-inch instead. If you were able to score a copy of the 7-inch, you may have a small fortune on your hands.
35. David Bowie | The Prettiest Star (1973) | Worth $2,000
The picture-sleeved version of this 45 RPM single is extremely rare. It features one of the most iconic images in rock and roll history. The late rockstar purportedly performed the song over the phone while proposing to his future (ex) wife Angela Barnett.
34. ABBA | Hovas Vittne (1981) | Worth $3,500
This special promotional copy of the ABBA single was only distributed to those within the record company. Only 200 copies were ever printed of the elusive red vinyl. The rare record features “Hovas Vittne” on side-A and “Tivedshambo” on side-B.
33. The Quarrymen | That’ll Be the Day (1981) | Worth $3,500
Superfans of The Beatles will surely recognize the name “Quarrymen” as the first name the Fab Four took before skyrocketing into stardom — although this was before Ringo had joined the band. The songs “That’ll Be the Day” (a Buddy Holly cover) and “In Spite of All the Danger” (an original) were recorded in 1958.
32. Cherry Five | Cherry Five (1975) | Worth $3,500
Fans of classic horror movies have definitely heard this band. Shortly after releasing this record, they’d change their name to Goblin and provide the soundtrack to the original Suspiria, Dawn of the Dead, and Deep Red. Their first release is extremely rare — an original pressing will get you up to $3,500.
31. David Bowie | Diamond Dogs (1974) | Worth $3,550
It’s unlikely that Guy Peellaert, the album cover artist for Diamond Dogs, knew what part of his painting would eventually make the record nearly priceless. This particular version of Bowie’s release on RCA records wasn’t meant to see the light of day.
30. The Beatles | Abbey Road (1969) | Worth $4,000
A particularly rare version of this Beatles classic can sell for up to $4,000. You can tell if you have the rare UK export by checking for the yellow and black Parlophone Records label. The catalog number is PPCS 7088. Bonus points if it has a gold sticker on the back.
29. Elvis Presley | That’s All Right (1954) | Worth $4,000
This album was recorded by “the King” during the studio session for another song. Presley was taking a break from recording when he started jamming Arthur Crudup’s song “That’s All Right, Mama” with bassist Bill Black. Scotty Moore soon joined in on guitar.
28. The 13th Floor Elevators | Reverberation (Doubt) (1966) | Worth $4,000
This early recording of four 13th Floor Elevators songs will make you up to $4,000 if you find the right buyer. The record features the songs “Reveraration (Doubt),” “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” “Fire Engine,” and “Tried to Hide.” The 13th Floor Elevators were hugely influential, in essence inventing the psychedelic rock genre.
27. The Beatles | Please Please Me (1963) | Worth $4,200
The Beatles famously recorded this album in a rush. They had only four songs recorded by the time the deadline was nearing and had to record seven songs in one day — a process that took nine hours and 45 minutes. John Lennon had a bad cold on the day of recording, which made for the iconic raspy vocal recording of “Twist and Shout.”
26. Depeche Mode | Music for the Masses | Worth $4,600
It’s the cover that makes this particular record ultra-valuable. The original UK version of the album featured a graphic of a white speaker with soundwaves emanating from it, set on a bright orange background.
25. Misfits | Legacy of Brutality (1985) | Worth $5,000
There were only 16 copies of the second pressing of this compilation album. Legacy of Brutality was produced, overdubbed, and pressed by Misfits’ singer Glen Danzig after he had quit the band; he overdubbed the instrumental parts of the band’s old recordings so he wouldn’t have to pay royalties to his old band-mates.
24. Elvis Presley | Speedway (1968) | Worth $5,000
By the time Elvis Presley made Speedway, he was nearing the end of his acting career. The film was not well received by critics or at the box office. Despite the film’s failings, copies of the soundtrack are extremely valuable. Rumor has it that only 300 copies were printed.
23. Brute Force | King of Fuh (1969) | Worth $5,000
Printed by The Beatles’ label Apple Recordings, this single almost never saw the light of day — all because it featured an obscenity in the lyrics. When it became clear that Capitol and EMI wanted no part of the record, which featured an overdub of philharmonic strings done by George Harrison himself, the Beatles decided to put it out themselves.
22. Elton John | I’ve Been Loving You (1968) | Worth $5,000
This is the debut record by the “Rocketman” himself. Bernie Taupin, who collaborated with John on many of his biggest hits was credited for penning the lyrics, though Elton John would later admit that John had written the song by himself. He gave Bernie the credit to help him get his first publishing royalties.
21. Bruce Springsteen | Spirit in the Night (1973) | Worth $5,000
An original pressing of “the Boss’” first single on Columbia records is extremely hard to come across. Promotional copies will sell for hundreds, but an original pressing of the commercial release is rumored to fetch $5,000. If you think you may have a copy lying around somewhere, now would be the time to start digging.
20. Century Symphony Orchestra | Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr. (1956) | Worth $5,500
Did you think classical music would be left off of this list? Record companies would often enlist the help of relatively unknown artists to provide the album art for their classical and jazz releases. This particular album cover was drawn by a certain starving artist that was destined for stardom. His name? Andy Warhol.
19. Max Steiner | The Caine Mutiny (1954) | Worth $6,700
Half soundtrack, half dialogue recording, this record was scrapped when Herman Wouk, writer of the novel on which the critically-acclaimed film was based, threatened to never allow the studio to use his work ever again if they released the album.
18. Sex Pistols | God Save the Queen (1977) | Worth $8,600
There were 25,000 copies of this single pressed. It’s estimated that only 10 survived after A&M ordered them all destroyed. In a story that since become punk legend, the Sex Pistols terrorized their label so badly that they were dropped six days after signing the record contract in a publicized ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace.
17. U2 | Pride (In the Name of Love) (1984) | Worth $9,000
The very limited Australian edition on translucent vinyl is said to only have 50 of its kind — though only a small handful have surfaced over the years. Despite the fact that the song ranks 388th on Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest songs ever made, Bono says he’s unsatisfied with how the song turned out.
16. Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) | Xanadu (1980) | Worth $9,100
The title Xanadu frequently appears on another type of list — it’s been called one of the worst movies ever made. That doesn’t mean the promotional picture disc that featured the movie’s theme song isn’t one of the most sought-after records of all time.
15. Hank Mobley | Blue Note 1568 (1957) | Worth $11,162
Jazz fans rejoice. There were between 300 and 1,000 copies of this record printed in 1957, but a small variation in printing makes one particular version especially valuable. The story goes that famed jazz record label Blue Note ran out of labels when printing the record.
14. Robert Johnson | Me and the Devil Blues (1938) | Worth $12,000
This 78 RPM platter features “Me and the Devil Blues” on side A, and “Little Queen of Spades” on side B. If you’ve got an original pressing in good condition, it could be worth up to $12,000. “Me and the Devil Blues” tells the story of the singer who wakes up to Satan knocking at his door.
13. The White Stripes | Lafayette Blues (1998) | Worth $12,700
There were only 15 copies of this record pressed, and the cover of each was hand-painted by Dave Buick, founder of Italy records. The album, which features the song “Lafayette Blues” on side A, and “Sugar Never Tasted So Good” on side B.
12. Stonewall | Stonewall (1976) | Worth $14,000
If you’ve never heard of this 1970s psychedelic hard rock act, don’t worry. They’re an extremely obscure band who were never signed to a record label. Stonewall’s only release was pressed without the band’s knowledge. The record label that handled the release, Tiger Lily, was a tax scam operated by the mob.
11. Röyksopp | Melody A.M. (2001) | Worth $14,204
The Norwegian electronic duo’s debut record was a critical and commercial success, selling over 1 million copies. The group gained prominence in the United States when the song “Remind Me” was featured in a popular Geico commercial.
10. The Beatles | Yesterday and Today (1966) | Worth $15,300
The original cover of this record featured a photo of John, Paul, George, and Ringo dressed in butcher’s attire, holding headless baby dolls with raw meat strewn across their laps. In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine what they were thinking, though who are we to question one of the best-selling and most influential bands of all time?
9. The Rolling Stones | Street Fighting Man (1968) | Worth $17,000
Here’s another album made more valuable by a controversial cover that was self-censored by the record label. The original artwork for Street Fighting Man featured a black-and-white photo of seemingly unconcerned police officers standing over an injured protester, with the single’s title and band name printed in large block letters above and below.
8. The Five Sharps | Stormy Weather (1952) | Worth $20,000
You may remember this record from an episode of Pawn Stars. One collector tried to sell Rick the coveted 78 RPM discs for $25,000. The price was deemed too steep for the vinyl, which was not in the best shape. However, this record is extremely rare (only three known copies exist) and highly sought after — copies have sold for as high as $20,000.
7. The Velvet Underground | The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) | Worth $25,200
First pressings of The Velvet Underground’s debut record in mono are listed on Discogs for up to $2,799. While most historians say that punk rock started in the ’70s, this record is frequently mentioned as being enormously influential in the genre, despite the fact it was banned at nearly all radio stations and sold only 30,000 copies.
6. Frank Wilson | Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) | Worth $34,000
Shortly after recording “Do I Love You” and “Sweeter As the Days Go By,” Motown producer/songwriter Frank Wilson reluctantly agreed with Motown founder Berry Gordy that he’d be better suited to work behind the scenes, crafting hits for artists like the Supremes and Temptations.
5. Bob Dylan | The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963) | Worth $35,000
Sometimes a small mistake or imperfection is enough to drive up the price of a collector’s item considerably. Such is the case with this already valuable record. A few tracks were meant to be replaced before the release, but someone at the pressing plant missed the memo, and a few copies featuring the wrong songs were pressed.
4. Tommy Johnson | Alcohol And Jake Blues (1930) | Worth $37,100
In a stroke of luck, the North Carolina seller of this extremely rare 78 RPM slab came into possession of the record at an estate sale. He threw the record up on eBay and watched a bidding frenzy take place. The final bid came in at $37,100.
3. Prince | The Black Album (1994) | Worth $27,500
After recording The Black Album aka “The Funk Bible,” and pressing 500,000 copies, Prince decided to halt the release and paid the label to recall all the records. The reason? The singer had a substance-fueled epiphany that his record was “evil.”
2. Aphex Twin (AKA Caustic Window) | Caustic Window (Recorded: 1994; Surfaced: 2014) | Worth $46,300
Reclusive and eccentric techno/drum and bass producer Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, recorded this eponymous album under the alias “Caustic Window,” but decided to abandon the project after pressing only five copies. At least one copy managed to escape out into the world. It appeared in 2014 on Discogs with an asking price of $13,500.
1. The Beatles | The Beatles (AKA “The White Album”) (1968) | Worth $790,000
An undisputed classic tops the list. But this particular album is one of a kind — it’s the very first pressing of the beloved ninth album by “the fab four,” marked with the serial number “A0000001” to prove it. For years, it was rumored that the first copy went to the late John Lennon, but really it went to Ringo Starr.