The resurgence of vinyl over the last 10 years has seen a spike in people taking an interesting in record collecting. We’ve seen a new generation of collectors emerge, some exploring vinyl for the first time, as well as a renewed love for physical media from lapsed collectors.
Below are 10 of our most collectable artists of the last decade here at eil.com
Often considered the greatest of all time, The Beatles remain one of the most collectable bands there is. While general releases by the fab four are easy to come by in less than desirable condition, truly mint and archive quality copies of original Beatles albums are always sought after by die hard collectors. Having set a number of record both during and after their time as an active band, Ringo Starr’s personal copy of ‘The White Album’, carrying the number 0000001, became the most expensive record ever sold by commanding a final price of $790,000 at auction in 2015.
Even before his untimely passing in 2016, David Bowie had a strong collector’s market that would look to invest in as much of his catalogue as possible. While it may seem morbid, his death has attracted even more collectors looking to pick up a piece of Bowie history. This year alone, a previously unreleased rehearsal tape from 1971 that is believed to contain the first performance of Starman sold at auction for £41,000.
The Rolling Stones
Much like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones are usually mentioned in the conversation of the all-time greats, and with a career that has spanned over 50 years it would be hard to argue. Their records were party favourites in the ‘60s, meaning they were often played to within an inch of their lives. Like their Liverpudlian counterparts, mint condition early pressings of their albums are must-have items for collectors. It doesn’t stop with just their music, though, as in 2019 a poster from 1964 promoting an early live performance was found in a loft and sold at auction for £15,000.
Madonna’s fan base is one of the most fiercely dedicated in the world, and their adoration for everything the Queen of Pop releases knows no bounds. Given the sheer volume of records Madonna has sold since the ‘80s it is easy to come across LP’s such as Like A Virgin and True Blue, but deep within her catalogue lies some true gems. The withdrawn 12” picture disc for her 1992 single, Erotica, is considered one of the most collectable records in existence, and the elusive ‘sunglasses’ sleeve variant for the 7” release of Lucky Star constantly appears on collectors want lists.
They may not always be the first band that comes to mind when people think of collectable artists, but the popularity, value and collectability of items from U2’s back catalogue cannot be understated. Limited edition pressings, coloured vinyl and unique sleeve variants of some of their singles have been known to change hands for several thousands of pounds. One of the most highly sought-after U2 items remains the very first, numbered pressing of their Three EP from 1979, which if you find one, most collectors will bite your hand off for a chance to own it.
Collectors of Queen records and memorabilia are constantly on the hunt for most rare and sought-after items they can find from the band. You’ll find their general releases in every record store in the world, but if you find some of their more unusual items you could be in the money. That might be the numbered, blue vinyl version of Bohemian Rhapsody that was exclusively pressed for EMI staff during a luncheon in 1978, or if you are really lucky, a shop display of the ‘Frank’ robot from The News of The World that has to be seen to be believed.
There may not be records in their catalogue that compare in value to something like a Stereo Please Please Me by The Beatles or the A+M pressing of God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols, but Pink Floyd arguably have a larger amount of rare records gracing their musical history than most bands. The original ‘Solid Blue’ pressing of Dark Side of the Moon can command good money even at a lower condition grading, and many import pressings of their singles and albums have crept well into four figure auction prices. One of the most desirable is the blue vinyl pressing of Meddle from Columbia, which rarely appears but is high on the list of hard to find Pink Floyd collectables.
Before he was taken from this world far too early, Prince certainly had his fair share of collectable 12” singles throughout his career, particularly early on with a release like the Sexy Dancer 12” from 1980 slowly creeping up in price. With several other releases becoming collectable over time, it is the mythical ‘Black album’ that is in high demand among collectors. All 500,000 copies were said to have been destroyed a week before release in 1987, yet the occasional copy appears online. In 2018 a legitimate Canadian copy surfaced on Discogs and sold for an unprecedented $27,000.
Serious collectors of Bob Dylan’s back catalogue are no strangers to hunting down rare mixes and test pressings, which are often ‘white whales’ for those dedicated to the cause. However, the game was changed when a copy of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan emerged that had become the stuff of legend. A true original stereo pressing – one of two copies that are believed to be in existence – with four tracks that were removed for subsequent issues was confirmed as legitimate and sold at auction for $35,000. Mono copies also exist, still in a lower number and can fetch figures.
Famed for being one of the best rock bands ever to grace a stage, Led Zeppelin have amassed a die-hard fan base of record collectors and continue to do so long after they stopped performing. Rare imports and test pressings are some of the most sought-after items by collectors, but it is still the original pressing of their first album from 1969 with the turquoise lettering that many would love to have in their collections. It carries a high price tag in almost any condition and is considered one of the most collectable records in the world.
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