Jack White made headlines a few weeks ago when he announced that he was the bidder who spent $300,000 for the acetate of Elvis Presley's original single, a 7" pressing from Sun Records featuring "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin," and that his label Third Man Records would be releasing copies of the recording for Record Store Day 2015. That inspired us to check out what the highest-priced albums on eBay were at the moment, and readers ate it up, so we've decided to keep it going, looking at every LP priced at more than $1,000 on the online auction site at the moment. From least to most expensive:
Note: The listings featured below are as of publication time. Also of note: Your correspondent was listening to Marian Anderson's 'Spirituals' as he wrote this, which he picked up for 50 cents at a local Half Priced Books location, a transaction he believes to be nothing less than train robbery.
08) Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins...$1,025.88 from 10 bids
Arguing about the best Sonny Rollins record is not an inviting proposition, considering the overwhelming scope and influence of the performer. Thus the title of his 1957 release Saxophone Colossus is not without merit. There's not much of a story to go on as to why this album would call for so many high bids on eBay; it's an original copy of one of the most acclaimed titles of the hard bop movement, more than enough to push bidding past $1,000.
07) Salsa Boricua by Wayne Gorbea...$1,275 from 23 bids
A typical problem we have here during the weekly recap of the highest-priced vinyl records on eBay at the moment is the number of rare soul and R&B records from performers who put out just the one single and that obscurity bring in thousands. Not too much of that this week but we do have an interesting selection from Wayne Gorbea, best known (yet hardly known) as the leader and pianist of the salsa group Salsa Picante. The seller lists this copy of Salsa Boricua (or, loosely translated, "Puerto Rican Salsa") as a "rare original pressing."
06) The Stooges by The Stooges...$1,364.27 from 23 bids
This is another album that doesn't need much more explanation than to rank it among the more influential albums in punk music history. The original set from the Stooges features tracks such as "I Wanna Be Your Dog" but is better respected for its contributions from guitarist Ron Asheton than so-called "Godfather of Punk" Iggy Pop. The axeman was hardly qualified to play the instrument and he made up for it by laying on the power-chord riffs and masking his output in distortion (that said, his use of wah during solos seems a little too expertly handled). The album and the band would, as Iggy's nickname suggests, shape the forthcoming genre.
05) "As Long as There Is You" / "It'll Never Be Over For Me" by Timi Yuro...$1,779.48 from 1 bid
Many of the mentioned soul releases that we referenced come from the class of "blue eyed soul," the polite term for soul music sung by white people. Timi Yuro is not one of the performers who only put out one single however, as the Chicago vocalist is considered to be one of the first vocalists from the "blue eyed" subgenre. This 7" single is interesting in that it looks as if the actual single was mistakenly placed on the B-side of the record. Records suggest that "It'll Never Be Over For Me" was released as a single during 1969 but it shows up as Side 2 on this print. Only one bidder has put in for the pressing but they didn't mind the nearly $1,800 asking price.
04) You Laugh by No For An Answer...$2,125 from 41 bids
Last week we featured a rare pressing of a Minor Threat record test pressing that featured no indication aside from the inner groove what or who was performing. This makes fans want it all the more, so this test pressing of the first EP from California hardcore group No For An Answer has brought in more than 40 bids for more than $2,100. The band may not have enough history to register with casual rock fans but it does have one interesting claim to fame: Rage Against The Machine vocalist Zach de La Rocha was drummer in the group at one point. This auction is also for a good cause, going to help out a "friend of Revelation Records in need."
03) "As Long as There Is You" / "It'll Never Be Over For Me" by Timi Yuro...$2,372.64 from 18 bids
Huh, so this is weird. This rarity is the exact same item that's being bid upon in this week's no. 5 most expensive position. and both are from different sellers. One has to wonder why the 18 people who have bid on this item haven't looked to the newer posting, that only has one bid thus far and is going for nearly $500 less. We'll see how high the bidding on the newer listing goes.
02) Please Please Me by The Beatles...$3,039 from 2 bids
Please Please Me, the first full-length from the biggest band in popular music history makes another big appearance this week, after topping the list last week. That version, however, featured signatures from three members of the band and was only going for $2,800. What makes this unsigned version of the album worth any more? The issue might be as simple as playability. Last week's listing was beat-to-hell, while this week's is listed as being in "excellent+" condition, and the seller notes how original pressings such as this were typically played into oblivion by overzealous fans back in the day. Considering that you can download the album for $9.99, does that make this record worth $3,000? For collectors, you bet.
01) "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" / "Dead Shrimp Blues" by Robert Johnson...$3,383 from 20 bids
Robert Johnson is the end-all for American music lore, responsible for the crossroads legend and more influential than perhaps in the history of the blues and, accordingly, rock 'n' roll. Many copies of his complete discography exist, but actual records from his actual lifespan? Not so much. This 78-rpm single, which includes "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and the B-side "Dead Shrimp" blues, is being shipped from Japan and 20 bidders have made it the most expensive record ever featured in this feature.