10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records

The joy of collecting records, whether you are new to the hobby or a seasoned collector, is finding a bargain. Whether you bargain shop or dig through the crate of a local charity store, you never know when or where you’ll find a gem.

Who knows, the most expensive vinyl record might just be in your dumpster without you knowing.

Today’s Vinyl are usually priced around $20 a pop unless you opt for limited editions like colored vinyl. But old classics, especially first pressings, are often much more expensive. 

Vinyl is more than just a music format, it is a collectible item. However, with the rise of streaming services such as Spotify, vinyl took a hit. That is until recent years – 2020 was the highest-grossing year for vinyl ever.

What Makes a Vinyl Record Valuable?

Have you ever wondered how much your vinyl records are worth? Vinyl doesn’t seem to fade out of style despite the emergence of new music-listening methods, such as C.D.s and the cloud.

Knowing how much your vinyl records are worth helps you avoid overpaying or selling them for too little. A good number of the most expensive vinyl records are costly because of any of the factors below.

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1. The Condition Of The Record

The condition of a vinyl record is one of the first qualities collectors consider when determining its value. Ideally, collectors prefer to buy records in pristine condition, or at least records that have been lightly used.

When a collector finds a record more than 20 years old in excellent condition, they will be willing to pay a premium. However, these records are hard to come by.

2. Name Of The Artiste

The name of an artist is an important factor when evaluating the value of vinyl records. A record produced by an unknown artist will not have the same value as a record produced by an established artist.

Many artists such as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Mamas and Papas, Jethro Tull, the Bee Gees, etc., continued to be popular after they stopped recording. Their records also tend to become more collectible as time goes on.

3. Availability In The Market

Vinyl records that are rarer tend to be more valuable due to supply and demand laws. 

Occasionally, some popular records are difficult to find, increasing their market value. For example, millions of Beatles and Rolling Stones records were sold, but finding those records in good condition is hard. This makes it a rare collection, increasing its value.

4. Limited And Withdrawn Editions

Foreign releases of an album tend to be noticed by British and American collectors if the version differs from what they’re used to. 

It is possible to create a frenzy by producing a limited number of a particular record and by letting people know about it, leading to collectors willing to pay a premium price.

10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records 

Take a look at our list below of the 10 most expensive vinyl records ever sold if you want to know how big money changes hands in the vinyl collecting world.

1. Wu-Tang Clan – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin

Not only is this the most expensive vinyl record ever sold, but it may also be the most controversial – for multiple reasons.

The announcement of the record angered a lot of Wu-Tang fans, and the record was almost impossible to afford for most people. 

A lot of people wanted to hear it, but we are unlikely to hear it anytime soon since it is exclusive to one pressing only.

In addition to this controversy, the person who bought it, Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, is a felon who bought an anti-HIV drug and raised its price by 5000% shortly thereafter. Wu-Tang fans were outraged, as well as the world at large.

Nevertheless, Shkreli has been jailed for defrauding investors, and his records have been confiscated by the federal government, which remains in their custody to this day. 

Price: $2 Million

2.The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)

The Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr, owns the very first copy of the band’s self-titled double album from 1968. The serial number is 0000001, which makes me giddy as a record collector. 

It was sold at Julien’s auction for $790,000 in December 2015 to an unnamed buyer. Ringo’s famous Ludwig drum kit was also up for auction, and it sold for $2.2 million to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.

 Price: $790,000

3. Elvis Presley: My Happiness

You may also know that Jack White, whose bands include White Stripes, The Dead Weather, and The Raconteurs, is not only one of the busiest men in music, but he also collects vintage gear and vinyl. 

Among the macabre details that made it so valuable was the fact that Lennon had signed it just hours before his death on December 8th, 1980. As such, it may well be the last record Lennon ever signed, being one of the most expensive ever sold.

In December 2015, White purchased a test pressing of Elvis Presley’s first-ever recording at auction and used it to create a limited edition facsimile which he then released through Third Man Records. 

It includes all the pops and scratches and even a plain brown paper bag as a cover – because Elvis would have taken it home with him from Sun Records.

Price: – $300,000

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4. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

A 1967 original pressing of Sgt. Pepper will fetch a decent price at auction, particularly if it’s the mono version with a black Parlophone label, but if a single signature can drastically increase the value of a record, imagine what four signatures can do.

For example, when this copy was sold at auction in 2013 to a buyer from the Midwest in America, the auctioneers had estimated a sale in the region of $30,000.

However, the item ended up selling for about 10 times that amount, for $290,000 (approx. $227,800) breaking the record for a copy of their 1967 album.


5. John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy

Often, one copy of an LP can differ hugely in value from another, whether that’s due to a printing error or a handwritten signature. In the case of this 1999 copy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy, both factors played a role.

As Lennon had signed it just hours before he died, that is what made it so valuable. It became one of the most expensive vinyl records ever sold to a collector as a result of his signature on it just hours before he died on December 8th, 1980.

Price:  $150,000

6. The Beatles: Yesterday & Today

Another rare item is this Beatles compilation from 1966, first released in North America and later in Japan, but not in the UK or Europe. 

The early versions of the album featured the infamous “butcher” cover, which featured dismembered dolls and pieces of meat draped around John, Paul, George, and Ringo. It was quickly withdrawn and replaced with a much more wholesome cover.

Despite this, the original remains a sought-after item among Beatles collectors, and the most expensive copy of the record ever sold at auction for $125,000 (roughly £98,000.)

7. The Beatles: ‘Til There Was You’ 

Often considered the “Holy Grail” of Beatles collectors, a 10″ acetate of an early demo by the Fab Four featuring the song “Til There Was You” and a b-side named ‘Hello Little Girl’ (spelled ‘Hullo Little Girl’ on the disc) was discovered languishing in the attic of oneLes Maguire, a Liverpudlian who had somehow obtained the record during his time as keyboardist for Gerry and The Pacemakers. It was sold to an unidentified buyer in Warrington in March 2016.

It is referred to as ‘the record that launched the Beatles’ because it was created as a demo for EMI; the label, below, shows that it was recorded and pressed at no other place than 363 Oxford Street, the office of Beatle’s manager Brian Epstein. 

Price: £77,500

8. Aphex Twin: Caustic Window 

Records on this list are usually of a certain vintage, whose value is partly determined by the record’s age, but in 2014, Caustic Window by Aphex Twin shot into the top 10 when a rare test pressing of the record was auctioned for $46,300 (approximately £36,000).

Apparently, the buyer was none other than Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, who had evidently decided to spend some of the money he had earned by creating the world’s most popular video game on a rare record by one of his favorite artists.

Price:  $46,300

9. Tommy Johnson: ‘Alcohol and Jake Blues’

In 2013, an Oregon-based record collector paid more than $29,000 (approx. $37,000) for a copy of Tommy Johnson’s 78-rpm blues album, “Alcohol and Jake Blues”, released in 1930. 

It seemed unlikely that the buyer, John Tefteller, already had a copy of the same record, but he explained that he bought it at auction as it was in much better condition, and since the master tapes had long since been destroyed, the record was worth every penny.

Since then it has remained one of the most expensive vinyl records ever sold.

Price: $37,100

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10. Frank Wilson: ‘Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)

There were only 250 demo copies of this single by American soul singer and producer Frank Wilson, and of those, only five remain, while the rest were destroyed by Motown boss Berry Gordy. 

There are varying accounts of the reason for their destruction, but rumor has it that Gordy wasn’t too happy about the prospect of one of his best producers launching a singing career and ordered the demos to be thrown out.

There is also speculation that Wilson felt the same way and chose not to release the single, but regardless, a few copies slipped through the cracks, and although the exact number of surviving copies is unknown, Gordy is said to possess one of the originals, and another sold at auction.

Although the record dealer in Leicestershire who handled the sale confirmed that the buyer wished to remain anonymous, the sale price was confirmed at $25,742.

Price: £25,742


The value of vinyl records comes down to a lot of factors. But the biggest underlying factor is the artiste behind the records. The most expensive vinyl records are attributed to some ageless artists that redefined the music industry during their time.

Collectors can pay a very good sum to have a sole vinyl record of an unreleased Beatles or Micky jagger record.

You can find out the vinyl records value of your collection using tools such as books and online resources to do your homework before trading your vinyl records.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You can check record prices online using these resources. Get a vinyl record price guide. You can purchase vinyl record price guides. Get your records appraised. Ask record stores, both online and in person.

Ringo Starr’s original copy of White Album No. 000001 was sold at auction for $790,000. This record is the most valuable and rare vinyl ever made.

In the US, a US auction house has sold a signed copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for $290,500 (£191,000). The record’s selling price far exceeded the estimate of $30,000 (£19,700) originally placed on the record.



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