The Beatles sit among the ranks of icons like Mother Mary and iPhones for how universally well-known they are. Fly to the far corners of the globe and chances are high that if you hold up a jaunty four-framed photo of Paul, John, George, and Ringo, someone will recognize them. It goes without saying how significant The Beatles were for the music industry, but what isn't said nearly enough is how important they can be for your wallet. The Beatles merchandise is some of the only pop culture collectibles that don't suffer from low-values because of the sheer amount of it that was sold. After all, 'tis the season for making a good decision while vinyl's still hot; hunt down some of the most valuable Beatles albums and records to sell for college tuition level amounts of money.
The Most Valuable Beatles Albums From Your Collection
They say that everything sounds better on vinyl, and while playing your favorite double-sided LP over and over again may be great for your ears, it's terrible for your wallet. Some well-preserved albums from top talent can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars to interested collectors and fans around the world. And, of course, The Beatles vinyl collection that stretches the 1960s and beyond tops the list of valuable albums you can sell. From little known compilation records to number one albums, all of these Beatles albums and records are worth looking for at the record store and in your grandparent's dusty collection.
Beatles for Sale 1965 Misprint
Beatles for Sale was released in 1964 as the band's 4th studio album, but some pressings made in 1965 have a few spelling errors that make it more desirable. For example, the track "I'm a Loser" is listed as "I'm a Losser" and the song "Eight Days a Week" is mislabeled as "Northern Ssongs." According to Goldmine, a music collectors' magazine, the album averages about $300 in revenue.
Rubber Soul 1965 Misprint
Another valuable misprint is the 1965 Rubber Soul vinyl from Parlophone. Some unfortunate employee at Parlophone's distribution office misspelled the famous song "Norwegian Wood" as "Norweigian Wood", unintentionally leaving a valuable legacy behind. People sell this album on average for about $600, according to Goldmine.
Golden Discs Test Pressings
Golden Discs was supposed to be a compilation EP that included all of the band's singles that had gone gold by 1964. While the EP never came to fruition, four test pressings were made, making these super limited edition albums worth about $2,550 each, according to Goldmine.
Abbey Road 1969 Contract Pressing
While streaming lets you have an artist's new song the instant it's released, back in the day, record labels had to physically make all of the albums they planned to sell. For really popular artists, this meant that sometimes one company couldn't make enough vinyls to match demand, as no one was in more demand than The Beatles. Their second to last studio album, Abbey Road, was contracted out to Decca processing plants, and these export vinyls have a circular impression 15mm from the vinyl's outer edge, and they don't have a G or D printed near the matrix number. Albums with these features can sell for around $1,700, according to Goldmine.
Our First Four 1968 Promo Album
Besides the twelve studio albums we all know and love, Apple (The Beatles label - not to be confused with the iPhone giant) would send promotional kits to famous journalists, and one of these compilations - consisting of the band's first four singles released on their label - can sell for a little over $4,000 thanks to their limited numbers and still in-box condition.
"Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You" 1962 Demo Single
The very first songs that started it all, the demo of what would become a major hit single "Love Me Do" (with "P.S. I Love You" on the B side) was sent to journalists and radio stations around Europe and the US to try to drum up interest in the newly minted band, The Beatles. Only 250 of these promo copies were sent out in 1962, and this limited run coupled with a misprinting of the "Lennon-McCartney" duo to "Lennon and McArtney" have been known to sell as high as $7,000, according to Goldmine.
"Till There Was You" 1963 10" Record
Brian Epstein, the band's famed manager, owned a rare early 10" acetate record of various Beatles recordings. Epstein's handwriting can be found on the label, where he misspells the title "Hullo Little Girl" and credits the album to "Paul McCartney & the Beatles." It sold for a whopping $107,600 in 2016, and while you won't find another like it, any albums with connections to Epstein will fetch a ton of money from die-hard fans.
Yesterday and Today 1966's "Butcher" Cover
An American studio album released in 1966, Yesterday and Today, was less known for the mishmash of various songs from their British label's albums Help!, Rubber Soul, and Revolver, than it was for its controversial cover art. Publically known as the 'Butcher' cover, you won't find the Fab Four sitting down for meat and potatoes in this photograph, but meat and babies instead. The band wears white lab coats, and members are draped in plastic doll parts and slabs of meat. Let's just say the 1960s lived up to its reputation as being one 'high' decade. One sealed stereo copy of this infamous album (that was quickly pulled from shelves) sold for $125,000 in 2016. Even used copies of this album are still super valuable to hardcore collectors because of the sensation that surrounded them.
"That'll Be the Day"/"In Spite of All the Danger" 1958 Record
Before there was The Beatles, there was the Quarrymen, consisting of a different line-up sans the lovable drummer with a fabulous name. Recorded in 1958, this was the band's first commercially created record, but it's never actually been heard by the public at large. If you want a taste of these early Quarryman days, you'd have to go to Paul McCartney's personal stash of memorabilia. Yet, experts estimate the original copy is worth about $170,000.
The White Album First Pressing
The first few pressings of any hit album are bound to be worth a lot to collectors, and none more so than ones owned by the band members themselves. Such is the case for The Beatles' 1968 self-titled album that you probably know as The White Album. The four band members were each given one of the first four pressings of the album, and Ringo Starr's copy recently came to auction and dispelled rumors that John Lennon was given the very first copy; instead, it sold for an astronomical and record-breaking $790,000.
What Makes Beatles Albums Valuable?
With a legendary success like the Beatles, you're dealing with severe levels of scrutiny when it comes to slapping a price tag on any of their products. While two LPs might look exactly the same to your eye, they can have wildly different values because of a few specific characteristics:
- Autographs - Autographs can up the value of any collectible, particularly those of people who've passed. While they do need to be authenticated, autographed material from George Harrison and John Lennon is particularly valuable because there's a finite number of them.
- Mistakes/Misprints - There's nothing a collector loves more than a limited-quantity misprint. One you can frequently find on early Beatles records is various misspellings of the credited duo's name "Lennon and McCartney."
- Release Date - The Beatles dominated the 1960s, and their records that were printed in this decade are worth a lot because of the authenticity and connection they have to the era.
- Catalog Number - Catalog numbers are printed on vinyls for record labels to keep track of the number of copies they've sold. The lower the number (00000001, for example), the rarer the copy in the case for Beatles records, and thus the more valuable.
- Provenance - Basically, provenance means an object's ownership history. If you can prove that someone famous (say one of the band members themselves) owned a record, it's worth a lot more than one owned by a local hair stylist or family friend.
These Albums Can Buy You Love
You might not've been able to buy The Beatles' love, but you sure can buy your own with the loads of cash that you make off of any of the most valuable Beatles albums. While finding the right buyer and hitting the market at the right time does have a huge impact on the final number, this is one band that's so popular, it'll never be hard for you to find someone willing to take an original copy of their work off of your hands.