The 12 Most Expensive Vinyl Records Of All Time

Updated on August 20, 2021 by
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most expensive vinyl record

Did you know that some vinyl records are more expensive than a house?

What makes a vinyl record so costly? It is not only about the music quality, but more about how rare it is. Vinyl records that have a limited number of production units can be worth a fortune and depending on how unique they are, the value can keep going up. Details such as a serial number, a handwritten note, or an unusual cover can have a powerful influence on the record’s final price.

Here are some of the rarest and most expensive vinyl records of all time. You could make a fortune if you have these vinyl records.

1. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Wu-Tang Clan: $2 million

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Wu-Tang Clan

This record comes with a contract that specifies that the buyer cannot commercially exploit it for 100 years. However, the owner may release the record for free if they want to. What makes this record so valuable is the fact that only one copy was ever produced. Paddle8, an online auction house, auctioned the album in 2015 and it was stored in a basement at a hotel in Morocco. Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought the record for $2 million.

2. White Album by The Beatles: $790,000

White Album by The Beatles

For years, it was known that Beatles drummer Ringo Starr owned the first edition copy of The Beatles White Album from the year 1968 since the records were stamped with category numbers in sequence. The drummer’s personal copy bears the serial number ‘0000001'. He kept it in a basement in mint condition for more than 35 years. Starr ultimately sold his copy at an auction for $790,000 in the year 2015. The identity of the purchaser is not known.

3. My Happiness by Elvis Presley: $300,000

My Happiness by Elvis Presley

This record is the 3rd most expensive record ever sold. It features two tracks, ‘That’s When Your Heartaches Begin and ‘My Happiness,’ and is Elvis Presley's first recording ever. Jack White, an American songwriter and singer, purchased the test pressing at auction back in 2015. The talented musician reportedly shelled out $300,000 for this record. Later, he released a copy of the song for Record Store Day.

4. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles: $290,000

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles

A US man purchased this signed record for $290,500 in 2013. It was released in 1967 and is the 8th album by the Beatles. The record spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top LPs chart in America and 27 weeks at No. 1 on the Record Retailer chart in the UK.

5. Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono: $150,000

Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

This record was autographed by John Lennon himself, just hours before he was killed by Mark David Chapman on Dec 8th, 1980. And it sold in 1999 for a whopping $150,000, making it one of the most expensive vinyl records ever sold!

6. Yesterday & Today by The Beatles: $125,000

Yesterday & Today by The Beatles

Yesterday and Today sold at auction for $125,000 in February 2016. It is remembered mainly for the controversy surrounding its first cover photo. Dubbed the butcher cover, the cover shows Ringo, George, Paul, and John covered in baby doll parts and raw meat. It didn’t go down well with people, so it was quickly replaced with a decent album cover.

7. Till There Was You by The Beatles: £77,500 ($106550.80)

Till There Was You by The Beatles

The 10-inch acetate of Hello Little Girl and Till There Was You is said to be the ‘Holy Grail' for Beatles record collectors. This 78 RPM record bears the writing of the manager of Beatles, Brian Epstein, and was the first disc to be cut before the Beatles broke into the national chart. Les Maguire, an ex-keyboard player for Gerry and the Pacemakers, discovered a copy in his attic and sold it to an anonymous buyer for £77,500 ($106550.80) in Warrington in the year 2016.

8. Caustic Window by Aphex Twin: $46,300

Caustic Window by Aphex Twin

Richard David James, popularly known as Aphex Twin, released Caustic Window in 1996. Markus Notch Persson, a Swedish video game designer and creator of the video game Minecraft, acquired the test pressing when it appeared on eBay in 2014. The Minecraft inventor shelled out $46,300 for the record.

9. Alcohol and Jake Blues by Tommy Johnson: $37,100

Alcohol and Jake Blues by Tommy Johnson

Paramount Records, a US record label, released Tommy Johnson’s album ‘Alcohol and Jake Blues’ in 1930. Johnson was an American musician and songwriter who was popular for his guitar skills and for singing in an unusual falsetto voice. However, all the master tapes were destroyed when Paramount Records closed 5 years later. It means that the record is very rare. As a matter of fact, the 78-rpm blues record is such a rare find that a person paid $37,000 for the album back in 2013. John Tefteller, a US record dealer, purchased the record because it was in much better condition than the record he already had.

10. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson: £25,742 ($35,412)

Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson

American singer Frank Wilson released the song Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) in the year 1965. It is the singer’s only Motown single and is a valuable item among hoarders.

Just 250 demo copies of this song were ever pressed. Of 250 copies just 5 are said to be in circulation. Motown founder Berry Gordy destroyed the rest of the demos. According to rumors, Gordy was upset about the prospect of one of his top producers launching a recording career and ordered the copies to be destroyed. The Motown founder is believed to possess one of the copies and another copy sold at auction to a mysterious buyer for $37,000 in May 2009.

11. The Pink Floyd Lucy Leave And I’m A King Bee: $30,000

The Pink Floyd Lucy Leave And I’m A King Bee

While the record says “The Pink Floyd,” its two tracks were in fact recorded back when the musical group was known as The Tea Set. Slim Harpo, an American blues musician, wrote the song I’m a King Bee. And Syd Barrett, an English musician, singer, and songwriter, wrote the song, “Lucy Leave. About 100 copies were pressed. The English rock band was founded by Nick Mason, Richard Wright, Roger Waters, Bob Klose, and Barrett. This record is valued at around $30,000.

12. Quarrymen – In Spite Of All The Danger/That’ll Be The Day: $13,000 to $260,000

Quarrymen - In Spite Of All The Danger/That’ll Be The Day

John Lennon formed a British rock group called the Quarrymen in Liverpool in 1956. And it evolved into the Beatles in the year 1960. The English group consisted of George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon. They recorded two songs in this record. Initially, only one copy of the recordings existed, until McCartney purchased it and released 50 copies of the single. He gifted these records to friends and relatives for Christmas. These vinyl records have sold for hundreds and thousands of dollars since 1981.

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