In the previous edition of Titanic we gave some examples of the enormous amounts that are paid in France for comics that were released not so long ago, but are already sold out. When we look at England the money spent on records for collectors are most remarkable.
Every week dozens of record fairs are organised all over the country, where people sometimes pay a fortune to get their hands on a certain record. To give an example showing that it’s not always old material, here’s an overview of prices paid for records by the Sex Pistols, records who were available in shops for a regular price some 7 or 8 years ago.
The single ‘Anarchy in the UK’ was released on the EMI label in two editions. One was in a black sleeve and mentioned Chris Thomas as the producer. Prices around 75 guilders are paid for this. The second edition, in a regular EMI sleeve and with the mention of Dave Goodman as producer, is sold in England at the moment for 50 guilders. On the A&M label some 5000 pieces are pressed of ‘God save the Queen’, the second single by the Sex Pisols. When this record company ended their contract with the Pistols (a.o. because of the behaviour of the band during a TV interview with Bill Grundy), the order was given to destroy the singles that hadn’t been shipped out to stores. Some copies got out from under this order and already claim an amount of 1000 guilders. Virgin, the record company who dared to take on the Sex Pistols, only released the first few singles on 7″. In New Zealand the records (‘God save the Queen’ and ‘Holidays in the sun’) were also released on 12″ and now claim more than double the original sale price (some 35 guilders).
A different sleeve on a record can also generate enormous price differences. ‘Holidays in the sun’ was originally released in a sleeve with a drawing on it. Later this sleeve was replaced with a regular sleeve. The record with the neutral sleeve is available for a few guilders, but the original sleeve fetches some 20 guilders.
This price battle doesn’t just happen with singles. The Pistols’ double album ‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle’ was released in no less than 50.000 copies and contained the song ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’. Later pressings of this album didn’t contain this song. Despite 50.000 copies of this editions are still doing the rounds, the price of this album now is around 60 guilders.
Foreign pressings of certain songs are also very much wanted. The Greek pressing of ‘My Way’ fetches some 200 guilders, whereas the Indian pressing of ‘God save the Queen’ is sold for more than 250 guilders.
The sometimes large amounts paid in England for records aren’t just limited to the Sex Pistols of course, but they stretch out to all areas of pop music. At the moment there’s a lot of interest for music from the sixties and early seventies, whereas there’s also a lot of interest for picture sleeves. Regularly I bought singles with pretty sleeves for a few guilders here in Holland just before I went to England and sold them for more than double the price in England.
In the beginning I didn’t understand the English people, who were crazy I thought to pay so much for certain sleeves, until I found myself paying 20 guilders for a Japanese single by Kim Wilde, of which there must be hundreds of thousands of copies in Japan.