Northern Soul fans are bidding more than £11,000 for a rare 7-inch record, a week before its online auction ends.
The London Records’ pressing of Darrell Banks’ club classic Open the Door to Your Heart is thought to be the only copy in circulation.
It had been thought that all the original versions were destroyed when rival label EMI won the rights to release the track in 1966.
Fans described the record as “the find of a lifetime”.
John Manship, who has been selling rare vinyl since 1969 and runs theRareSoulMan website, told BBC News online it was the “holy grail” for record collectors.
He said nobody believed the “mythical” single existed – and that his pulse was racing when he realised it was the “most exciting record” he had sold in his 48-year career.
The owner, who had worked at Decca Records in the 1960s, turned down an offer for £10,000 to part with it instantly.
Collector and dealer Pete Smith, who helped identify the validity of the single on a forum, said it was “the rarest British soul record of all time”.
“Hardened collectors are sobbing at the sight of it,” Smith posted online.
Some collectors believe it could be rarer than Frank Wilson’s Motown single Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), which was bought by a collector in Hull in 2009 for more than £25,000.
Banks, who toured with soul singer Jackie Wilson, only released two full-length albums before he was killed in Detroit in February 1970.
He was shot in the neck by an off-duty policeman called Aaron Bullock, who had been having an affair with Banks’s girlfriend.
Open the Door to Your Heart was his only hit, reaching number 2 on the R&B chart in the US.
Sadly we don’t have the Stateside pressing of this single in stock at the present time (which is a super bargain at £20) but we do have a comprehensive range of soul/R&B items, check eil.com for the full details…..