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.”
Despite this, it was an immediate commercial success, and Zeppelin would get the last laugh — a 2003 issue of Rolling Stone rated it as the 29th greatest album of all time. The original UK release of Led Zeppelin’s eponymous debut album features the band’s name in turquoise lettering. All subsequent releases would have the words printed in orange. The turquoise-lettered version will fetch upwards of $1,000 if it’s kept in good condition.
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.
One of the most celebrated trumpeters in history, Davis recorded Kind of Blue with legendary saxophonists John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. Many critics consider it to be Davis’ greatest record — it is also the best-selling jazz album to date.
An original pressing of the hard bop classic can rake in up to $1,000.
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.
Ironically, Chris Stamp, the band’s co-manager and producer asked a few of the brands referenced on the cover and in the interludes for endorsement dollars. The deodorant company Odorono, and PAMS Productions, the marketing company that recorded many of the jingles used as interludes on the album, took offense and sued the band for royalties.
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.
The original pressing of the vinyl has sold for an impressive $2,500. There were 1,000 copies of this kind pressed and can be identified by their white color. The 3rd pressing of only 500 copies, which had a red and white 12″ and a blue 7″ vinyl included, has sold for as high as $1,100. Keep an eye out at garage sales and thrift stores.
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.
This record marked the beginning of their career. XTC went on to release 14 full-length albums and were particularly influential on the Brit-pop bands that reached popularity in the 1990s. If you have this rare record, you may be able to sell it for $2,000.
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.
Marc Bolan, who would become Bowie’s rival for the crown of “The King of Glam” plays guitar on the song. Supposedly, the relationship between the two musicians soured when Bolan’s wife remarked to Bowie, “Marc is too good for you, to be playing on this record!” It seems David Bowie would have the last laugh, however. Conservative estimates put the value of this record at $2,000.
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.
The swedish band from Stockholm are one of the most commercially successful musical groups of all time. The classic lineup consisted of two married couples: Fältskog and Ulvaeus, and Lyngstad and Andersson. Sadly, both marriages could not withstand the pressures of stardom and success.
If you kept your copy of Hovas Vittne in good condition, this record could get you $3,500.
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.
This single, which was reprinted by Paul McCartney himself is worth a heck of a lot of money. Supposedly, McCartney only had 50 copies printed for his friends and family. It’s suspected that the original acetate may be the most expensive record in existence, but we won’t know unless Paul decides to put it up for sale. If you’ve got one of the reprints, it’s worth around $3,500.
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.
They broke out after changing their name and recording the soundtrack to Proffondo Rosso (Deep Red), the debut film by legendary Italian director Dario Argento. The film’s main theme became an unexpected huge success. They went on to do several more successful collaborations with Argento and some of the most iconic soundtracks in horror cinema.
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.
The label reportedly got nervous upon noticing the back album cover depicted the bottom half of a dog — genitals and all, so they had the offending parts airbrushed before release.
A few enterprising employees made off with some originals. A copy once sold on eBay for $3,550 in 2003. With Bowie’s recent passing, copies of the rare record featuring the exposed dog will undoubtedly fetch an even higher price.
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.
Abbey Road was the 11th studio album released by the legendary quartet from Liverpool. Though it originally received mixed reviews upon its release, it’s since been celebrated as one of the greatest rock records ever made. Rolling Stone magazine puts it 14th on their list of the “500 Greatest Records of All Time.”
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.
This caught the ear of producer Sam Phillips, who quickly pressed record. They laid down the album’s B-side “Blue Moon of Kentucky” the next day, and the rest is history. Many historians consider this to be the first true rock-n-roll record ever made (though this is the subject of heated debate). Regardless, a mint condition version of the record is worth around $4,000.
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.
Despite their incredible influence, the discography of the band is quite short–they only recorded four full-length studio albums. Roky Erickson, the legendary guitarist of the band suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, which caused his career to take many twists and turns.
Eventually he was able to get effective treatment and the band was able to reunite in 2015. Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019.
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.”
The rarest of the rare copies of The Beatles’ debut full-length album have sold for around $4,200. These are the very first pressings, which features the band’s name in gold lettering on a black label. Both mono and stereo versions are rare and valuable, but the stereo version fetches the highest price.
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.
The cover design was scrapped, replaced by the photograph of a loudspeaker in the middle of a desert that new wave fans are familiar with, but not before a few were printed with the old design.
In the ’90s, the label decided to re-release the album and accidentally shipped out a few of the old records to some stores by mistake. It goes without saying that these copies are extremely rare. Former Depeche Mode keyboardist Alan Wilder sold a copy for $4,600 in 2011.
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.
As you might expect, this led to a tense legal battle that lasted several months. If you managed to get ahold of one of the second pressings, which featured a pink platter, you could be sitting on as much as $5,000 if it’s kept in mint condition.
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.
Whatever you may think of the film’s plot, you have to admit “The King” pulls off some pretty cool jackets. If you had the foresight not to take the record out of its packaging and left the red sticker on the shrink wrap, you could have $5,000 on your hands.
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.
The record was later given a proper release in 2010, nearly half a century after it was recorded. However, it’s the records from the original run of 1,000 copies that will get you a good sum of cash. They can go for up to $5,000.
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.
The single itself is rare, but if you have the ultra-rare copy that was released only in Portugal, you’ve got yourself a small fortune. This version includes the songs “Thank You for All Your Lovin'” and “Angel Tree.” Find the right collector and it’ll sell for $5,000.
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.
Springsteen recorded “Spirit in the Night” for his debut full-length Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Though met with critical acclaim, neither the single or the LP sold particularly well at first. It was not until his third album Born to Run that he’d find commercial success. Despite this, “Spirit in the Night” is a crowd favorite — Springsteen frequently plays it at live shows to rapturous applause.
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.
There are only seven known copies of this record in existence. One is on display at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, while the other sold for $5,500 in 2012. It’s unlikely you’ve got one of the other four, but at that selling price, it’s worth a look.
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.
Wouk was furious at what he saw as blatant theft of his intellectual property, since the B-side of the record was a recording of the climactic courtroom scene, lifted verbatim from his novel. Columbia agreed to halt the release of the album and destroy all copies.
A few employees filched some copies before they were demolished — there are rumored to be close to a dozen that survived. One copy sold in 2007 for $6,700.
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.
Singer Johnny Rotten allegedly threatened executives and cursed them out, and Sid Vicious demolished the toilet at A&M headquarters. This all proved to be too much of a headache for A&M, who promptly dropped the punk band and destroyed (almost) all copies of the single.
A few people were smart enough to pinch a few copies on their way to destruction — copies of God Save the Queen with the A&M label printed on the center label have sold for over $8,600.
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.
The song references the assassination of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, but Bono says he could have better fleshed out the lyrics. According to him, the Edge and producer Brian Eno convinced him that keeping the lyrics vague would allow the song to resonate deeper with non-English speakers.
Whether you agree with the singer or not, one of these particular 12-inch singles will sell for up to $9,000.
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.
Rumor has it that Olivia Newton-John hated the way she looked in the picture printed on the front of the disc so much that she had the record company stop the pressing. Between 20 and 30 records survived. If you managed to sneak a copy away from Olivia Newton-John, you may be able to cash it in for $9,100.
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.
Some records featured the standard label, that had the label’s address listed as “47 West 63rd NYC,” while others said “47 West 63rd New York 23.” Both versions are incredibly valuable — one with the standard label sold for about $11,162 on eBay in 2015. In theory, the other version should be worth even more.
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.
According to blues legend, Johnson met with the devil at the crossroads between Highway 1 and 8 in Mississippi. There, Johnson traded his soul for the ability to master the guitar.
Whether you believe the tale or not, listening to “Me and the Devil Blues,” you can easily hear the profound influence Johnson had on the genre.
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.
The copies were made for a Detroit record release show for the band in 1998, as the fledgling band was on the incline, destined for stardom. If you attended this gig and had the foresight to purchase one of the records for $6, you may have $12,700 filed away in a milk-crate. Hopefully, you kept it safe.
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.
The scam worked like this — a large portion of records would be pressed and later written off as unsold. This helped to keep the parent label “Roulette” afloat. A few of these records made it into the right hands and achieved cult status.
At the top of the list is Stonewall’s eponymous LP, which the right buyer will spend $14,000 on. It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine tracked down the obscure band’s drummer, Anthony Assalti for an interview in 2017.
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.
The pressing of the record that is particularly valuable, however, is one that features a stencil rendition of the front jacket painted by none other than notoriously elusive street-artist Banksy.
There were only 100 of these limited edition hand-spray painted versions made, with several different color variants. If you were lucky enough to score one of these, it’s time to cash it in — they’re listed as high as $14,204 on Discogs.
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?
Safe to say, the cover wasn’t well received. So much so in fact, that Capitol Records spent $250,000 buying back the 750,000 records that had been printed and shipped to stores.
They weren’t able to get their hands on them all — if you kept a copy, you could be sitting on around $15,300.
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.
Just before the album’s release, there was the infamous 1968 riots at the Democratic National Convention. The record label decided to be cautious in the wake of the controversy and political turmoil and ordered the records destroyed. About 18 records were saved somehow — one was auctioned off for $17,000 in 2011.
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.
Ironically, the original album sales were so poor that members of the group had to purchase their own copies, even though they weren’t paid to record the album (unless you count hot dogs and soda as payment).
If there’s a chance you ended up with a copy, it is time to start thumbing through your collection.
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.
But as Brian Eno once said, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.” One lucky Canadian record collector picked up a copy sans the Warhol artwork-adorned sleeve for 75 cents at a flea market, but this was no ordinary re-pressing.
The acetate record ended up being a test pressing that featured early versions of many of the songs — there are only two in existence, and one belongs to the former Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker. The collector put his copy up on eBay and ended up scoring $25,200.
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.
Gordy ordered the pressings destroyed. Only two copies are said to have survived, one of which was kept in Motown’s vault for a decade before it was discovered by vinyl dealer Simon Soussan. Soussan unscrupulously bootlegged the record and released it by crediting Eddie Foster as the musician. The record was a smash hit.
One of the two surviving original records was sold in a 2009 auction for close to $34,000.
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.
If your copy has a serial number that ends in -1A, and includes these four songs (you’ll have to listen to confirm, the tracks will be mislabeled): “Rocks and Gravel, “Let Me Die In My Footsteps,” ”Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand” and “Talkin’ John Birch Blues,” the record could be worth $35,000 or more. There are said to be less than 20 mono copies of the record and only two stereo copies.
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.
There are believed to be only copies of the record in existence — both belong to the winning bidder, John Tefteller.
Legendary Delta blues singer and guitarist Tommy Johnson was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil to acquire his virtuosic guitar skills (no, he wasn’t related to Robert Johnson) — this tale serves as the inspiration for the character of the same name in the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
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.”
However, by that time promotional copies had already made it to circulation. The record was widely bootlegged and got considerable radio play, despite Prince’s protestations. Evidently, the singer changed his mind about the record, releasing a CD version in 1994.
An original, unopened American vinyl pressing sold in 2018 for $42,300, while an unsealed Canadian version sold for $27,500.
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.
In response, Rephlex Records, James, and Doctors Without Borders bought the album and began a kickstarter campaign to release a digital copy, which raised $47,000. The money was split between James and Doctors Without Borders. The vinyl copy was sold on eBay to “Minecraft” creator Markus Persson for $46,300.
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.
Kept in a bank vault for three-and-a-half decades, this expensive piece of Polyvinyl chloride was sold during a charity auction for a whopping $790,000. Starr put the money toward his own Lotus Foundation — a charity that provides support for victims of domestic violence, cancer research, the homeless, and other noble causes.
Even if you aren’t in possession of this original vinyl, copies with low serial numbers will still fetch a high price — A0000023 sold for $13,750 in 2012.