Hellstrom – A Swedish Street Artist.

As a collector of record cover art, I have tried to limit collecting to a manageable number of artists, and the ones I have chosen are those that have produced a collectible number of covers. I once set out to collect Alex Steinweiss covers but gave up after I had found about fifty as there were still about 2,450 still to collect. I similarly decided not to try to collect Anton Corbijn‘s record covers — he’s been responsible for far too many. As I have mentioned on a previous post I did have a nice collection of Vaughan Oliver‘s record cover art but in the end I couldn’t house it all so it had to go.

My collection of record covers by street artists is limited to only three. I have what seems to be an ever expanding collection of covers by the artist who calls himself Banksy and a few choice covers by Robert del Naja (a.k.a. 3D). However, a couple of years ago I had an exhibition of some of my paintings at a gallery in Stockholm and exchanged a couple of works for posters by the Swedish street artist Iron. At the same time I had begun to notice the appearance of paper deer stuck on hoardings surrounding building sites around town. These turned out to be the work of another Swedish street artist by the name of Hellstrom. Like Iron, he prefers to keep his identity secret but he has been interviewed in a recent book Hellstrom Street Art published in 2019.

The book gives a good overview of Hellstrom‘s work to date. One picture in particular, together with the cover image, struck a chord.

Hellstrom shares his name with the popular Swedish singer Håkan Hellström and it is Hellstrom‘s portrait on Hellström on the cover of the book. It transpires that Hellstrom (no dots over the “o”) stencilled this portrait on a limited edition of Håkan Hellström‘s (with the dotted “o”) 2019 album Illusioner in an edtion of 40 copies.

One day last August I popped into my favourite record shop in Stockholm and saw this album hanging on the wall. It was number 36/40 and it accompanied me home to be the sole representative of Hellstrom‘s (minus the dots) art in my record cover collection.

My Day With the Ramones.

I fancied that I hada pretty compete collection of punk albums ranging from the original 1977 version of Never Mind the Bollocks… through all the Clash albums and Stranglers and Damned albums, too. I had picked up a cutout copy of the Ramones Leave Home and a copy of Road to Ruin but I wasn’t a fan.

I used to read Jan Gradvall’s column i Swedish music magazines and in 1995 bought his essay anthology Artiklar, intervyuer, essäer 1981-1994 (in Swedish) and one of the first essays (on page 66 already) was about the Ramones. The essay started with a list of the timings of the 28 songs on the Ramones It’s Alive album. 1:57, 1:54, 1:56, 2:20, 1:49. 1:34, 2:24, 1:36, 2:15, 1:34, 1:35, 2:40, 2:19, 1:42, 1:40, 1:45, 1:35, 2:16, 1:40, 1:25, 2:40, 2:08, 1:14, 1:51, 2:05, 1:40, 1:20, 2:02. Gradvall used these timings to declare the Ramones as the perfect pop group. I was fascinated and started to listen to them.

A few weeks after reading Gradvall’s eulogy to the band I read in a local newspaper that the Ramones were no longer going to tour. I had sort of decided that I really wanted to see them live. Oh, well, thought I, that ain’t gonna happen. However, only a few weeks later I heard that Ramones were scheduled to play at Skellefteå festival a mere 133 kms south of Luleå, where I lived. Skellefteå festival was a fixture on the northern Swedish festival circuit and “happened” to always be on the same weekend as the huge Roskilde festival in Denmark. Thus Urkraft, the organisers of the Skellefteå festival managed to book artists appearing at Roskilde including Skunk Anansie, Suede, the Stooges alongside top Swedish bands.

So, I phoned Urkraft and simply asked which hotel the band would be staying at and was immediately told that they would be at the Scandic Hotel, so I booked myself in there for the duration of the festival.

So I drove down on the 24th June in the midsummer sunshine and went to check into the hotel. I was standing at the reception desk and asked if the Ramones had arrived just as a man emerged from the lifts behind me and heard my question. It turned out this was Monte Melnick, the legendry Ramones tour manager. He asked who I was and what I was doing there an I explained that I was from the town of Luleå where I worked as a doctor. Monte immediately asked me if I could help him. He had a chronic cough, he said, and doctors couldn’t find the cause. He wondered if I could help. I had to admit that I hadn’t brought my stethoscope with me… We chatted a bit and I showed him the records I had brought with me and asked if there was a chance I could get them signed. Monte said that the band would be in the hotel restaurant at six and that I should meet them there.

Said and done! I arrived at the restaurant on the dot of six and saw one band member sitting alone at a table and so I wandered over and, not knowing what to say, shyly asked “are you with the band?” It was, of course, Johnny. He looked at me and snarled “can’t you see I’m eating?” and he told me to come back when he’d finished.

I was hungry, too, and took a seat at a table almost as far away from Johnny as possible and ordered a hamburger and a beer and waited. No sign of Monte and the other three band members yet.

Johnny finished his meal and came over and joined me at my table and started asking questions about who I was and what I was doing in Skellefteå. He told me how many gigs the Ramones had played in their career (I think I remember he said 1200, but that can’t have been right) anyway we started talking and he told me about his autogrpah collection of over 14,000 signatures. He told me he collected photographs of sports personalities and B-movie stars and sent them to the artist to get them signed. I said I thought he got them back as he was a celebrity and I didn’t think I would be as lucky! We chatted for about 45 minutes while Monte, Marky and Joey arrived in the restaurant. Marky and Joey sat pasty-faced leafing through girly magazines and looking bored. They happily all signed my records though. CJ was already somewhere in the festival area so I had to catch up with him later. Monte gave me a backstage pass (I still have it somewhere, but can’t lay my hands on it) to get into the festival even though I had bought a ticket — so I was enrolled in the Ramones for the rest of the evening. I had to teach Joey how to pronounce Skellefteå (shell-eff-tio) before the gig. Monte invited me to watch from backstage, but I wanted to see the Ramones in action so went out front.

They came on stage at exactly on schedule and — “one, two, three, four” — played without a pause for 75 minutes — an utterly amazing experience! I felt I’d been run over by a steamroller. Hey Ho, Let’s go! These were the days before smartphones so I don’t have any pictures. But I treasure the experience.

In 2011, Swedish author Bengt Ohlsson published his book Rekviem för John Cummings a biography of Johnny Ramone, which I immediately bought and read. I recognised much of what Johnny had told me in Skellefteå.

Fast forward to today. In mid November 2022, I read a review of a new book Ramones i Sverige — världens första punkband skruvar upp tempot i folkhemmet (Ramones in Sweden — the World’s First punk Band Speed up the Welfare State) by Sven Lindström, Jan Lagerström, Petter Lönegård and Kjell Magnusson. The book catalogues the twenty Ramones gigs in Sweden between May 1977 and June 1995, plus a gig in Oslo, Norway in August 1980 and their concert at Roskilde festival, Denmark, in June 1985.

I was too shocked to try to time the songs and I didn’t/couldn’t make a set list either. I spent the rest of the evening in a daze wandering the festival site. A few years later, in 1999, I joined the Skellefteå festival crew as festival doctor looking after both the artists, the festival crew and memebrs of the public. I got quite a few autographs as well.

Mother Samosa’s Two Albums on CD. Designed by Robin Gunningham.

Do we really care who the person behind the Banksy moniker really is? Well, in 2015 the Daily Mail “revealed” that one Robin Gunningham, a public school educated person is indeed Banksy. However, this has never been officially confirmed and collectors of the artist’s work don’t seem to mind who is behind the art and art dealers won’t accept that works signed Robin Gunningham should be classified as being by Banksy.

In the past decade, everything that Banksy seems to have had a hand in has escalated in value; even record and CD covers with his art have become sort after collectors items. Now there are literally hundreds of such covers floating around among collectors but only a few are offically authorised as being by Banksy. The vast majority are covers that use the artist’s works, often subtly modified to suit the us

The earliest authorised Banksy covers are for the Bristol hip hop band One Cut (or OneCut) released on Jamie Eastman’s Hombré label between 1998 and 2000. In 1999 John Stapleton asked Bansky to stencil 100 promotional covers for the Capoeira Twins 12″ single 4 x 3 / Truth Will Out.

At about the same time Banksy had been with the Easton Cowboys football team on their tour to Chiapas, Mexico, where he painted some murals. A cassette of revolutionary songs Called Canciones electorales was released using Banksy’s painting of a Zapatista on the inlay. The cassettes were white, yellow and red and produced in limited quantities.

Back to the artist named Robin Gunningham. Sometime in the mid to late 1990s a guy called Robin visited Leicester and designed the logo for the dub organisation the Vibronics, whose owner, Steve ‘Vibronics’ Gibb is sure must have been Banksy.

More certain, are the covers for two cassettes released by the Bristol group Mother Samosa in 1993 and 1994. The cassette inlays are both credited to Robin Gunningham. Assuming Gunningham to be Banksy, then these cover designs are probably the first “Banksy” covers. The first cassette was called Oh My God It’s Cheeky Clown (1993), and reputedly also released as a CDr at the time. The second was Fairground of Fear (1994). The cassettes were produced as limited editions and I have thus far never seen one.

I was lucky to get hold of printers proofs of these two cassette inlays in late 2020. I recently read that a set of these had been up for sale by Art Broker in 2018 with an estimate of GBP 4000! I got mine from a oen-time friend of the band.

In 2006 and 2007 the band reissued the remastered albums as limited edition Digipak CDs. The first was the nine-track Oh My God It’s Cheeky Clown, while the second, the Fairground of Fear album was released on Digipak CD with only 11 of the original twelve tracks (track five on the tape’s side two Wallace P. Bowl was omitted from the CD.) The person who sold me the cassette inlays contacted me again in early December 2022 and offered me the two CDs, which duly arrived before Christmas!

According to my supplier, these Digipak CDs were released in editions of one hundred numbered copies with a handful released unnumbered. Neither of my CDs is numbered.

Now, I suppose I will have to continue my search for the original cassettes.

Some More of My Own Art.

I keep trying to be creative, and not only in the record cover collecting field. Last summer I went on another silkscreen course and though I didn’t manage to get as much done as I had hoped, I still did produce a few nice things.

I printed a number of teeshirts and five new sets of Andy Warhol’s and Billy Klüver’s famous Giant Size $1.57 Each record covers. This involved first spray painting the record covers (white, yellow, red, green and orange — the same colours Warhol/Klüver used on the originals) and then screenprinting the Giant Size $1.57 Each text on top. I did 25 covers in all!

I also printed a number of teeshirts with the same design, but this time in gold.

A bit later, I got Urban, my friendly neighbourhood printer, to print replica record labels that I could stick onto some LPs that I sourced from the record store that I sold my collection to a few years ago. They had loads of records that were unsellable and that they were glad to get rid of!

At he same silkscreen course, I printed two pictures using the same Giant Size stencil. These turned out so well that Anette, our course leader, wanted me to print her a tote bag with the design in gold.

But the things I was most pleased with were two large-scale prints 100 x 50 cms that I decided to frame and submit for consideration for inclusion in Liljevalch’s 2023 Spring Salong. Unfortunately they weren’t accepted but I’m pleased I tried.

Latterly, I’ve gone back to painting. Anyone who has followed this blog may have read about my collection of sixties Bill Graham Fillmore Autitorium and Avalon Ballroom handbills. The original posters are now fetching large sums at auction and I always wanted Wes Wilson’s The Sound poster from 1966. Knowing I couldn’t afford an original, I reckoned the next best thing woud be to paint a reproduction… Note: not a forgery, a reproduction.

There are many instances of artists appropriating the work of others, ranging from Elaine Sturtevant, who in the sixties reproduced several of Andy Warhol’s paintings to Ulf Linde, who reproduced Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and which are on permanent display at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet (Linde even got Duchamp to sign the reproductions!) He made further copies (I mean reproductions) fifteen years after Duchamp’s death, but then had his widow sign them! Another celebrated case of reproductions is the Brillo Boxes ordered by Pontus Hultén for an exhibition that were made in Malmö, Sweden, and many were later sold as original Warhol Brillo Boxes. The fact that Hultén had commissioned them only came to light six months after his death in 2006.

So now I decided to paint myself a copy/reproduction of Wes Wilson’s magnificent poster as near full size as possible (acrylic on paper) . And here is the result.

I got inspired by how well this turned out and a friend posted a picture of Banksy’s 2004 I Fought the Law and I Won print. I have two record covers that had travestied this design — The Promise’s 2002 album Believer and the test pressing for Embalming Theatre’s and Tersanjung XIII’s split EP called Mommy Died – Mummified / Hellnoise — and I decided to reproduce Banksy’s original. I did a black and white version and then saw that one of the big auction houses was selling a red/orange version. So I decided to paint that one too.

Then I looked for something perhaps more complicated to paint and I saw the cover of the band UFO’s 1979 album Strangers in the Night and decided to give it a go. However, I though the dots might prove tricky.

My latest painting, completed only yesterday, is the front cover of The Clash’s eponymous first album with photography by Kate Simon.

Painting these record sleeves makes a great addition to my collection of record cover art. I really feel like painting some more. I thought I might try Kraftwerk’s Die Mensche-Maschine cover. A given for anyone, like me, who likes typography. We’ll see if it materialises.

A New Cindy Sherman Record Cover.

I went to a massive Cindy Sherman exhibition at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet entitled “Untiitled Horrors” in late 2013 and noted that Sherman had contributed to several record covers. I managed to find information and pictures of seven:
1. The Kitchen Presents “Two Moons July” — videodisc
2. Tellus #21 – Audio by Visual Artists — audio cassette.
3. Babes in Toyland’s album Fontanelle
4. Babes in Toyland’s album Painkillers
5. Cloudburst – Love – Lies – Bleeding,12″ EP
6. Athur Doyle – No More Crazy Woman.

… and just recently, I could add a seventh cover; Teddy and Jenni Do George and Tammy, a limited edition, four-track EP by Teddy Thompson (son of Richard and Linda Thompson) and Jenni Muldaur (daughter of Geoff and Maria Muldaur) who duet on two songs each by George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Apparently, Jenni and Cindy Sherman are pals and Cindy agreed to do the cover for this EP.

Teddy & Jenni Do George & Tammy

It transpires that thee cover of the videodisk while being advertised as beoing by Cindy Sherman actually isn’t, so I can cross that one off my list. I haven’t been able to find the Tellus #21 cassette but the other covers are relatively easy to find and make a nice collection by a famous photographer.

My Love Affair with 4*A*D Isn’t Over …

I’ve culled my bookshelves quite mercilessly over the past few years but have jealously guarded many of my “art” books. One of these is Martin Aston’s Facing the Wrong Way — The Story of 4 A D. I’ve been staring at the book’s spine for yonks but only started to read it a couple of weeks ago. It rekindled my interest inall things 4*A*D.

I am a big fan of record cover design and fastened for the work of 23 Envelope, and, later, v23 in the early eighties when I bought a Cocteau Twins album — probably Head Over Heels — in Camden Market. I was struck by the cover and shortly after bought a folder of posters by the design team called 23 Envelope; Vaughan Oliver and his longtime friend photographer Nigel Grierson. I still have it.

The cover of the 23 Envelope poster folder.

Thus started my collection of Vaughan Oliver’s art; primarily record covers from 4*A*D. Over the years up until 2013 I built up a collection that included most of the more desirable record covers and books. I had the original This Rimy River book — a catalogue (of sorts) of an exhibiiton at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles in 1994.

The original This Rimy River catalogue.

The limited edition of This Rimy River.

I invested in the deluxe limited edition, too. Mine is No. 65/400.

My collection of 4*A*D rarities included two copies of the Lilliput double CD album, the deluxe LP version of Lonely Is an Eyesore as well as the wooden box version, a limited edition of 100 boxes, intended for the artists on the 4*A*D label. Although fifty were on general sale when it was released in 1987.

I had sent my copy of Rick Pointer’s book Vaughan Oliver: Visceral Pleasures to Vaughan sometime in late summer of 2001 with a letter asking for a signature, but I hadn’t heard anything from him. I was going to London in November 2001 and I therefore planned a visit to v23’s studio in south west London. So I packed the lid from my Lonely Is an Eyesore box, my copy of limited edition of This Rimy River and a copy of the Lilliput CD album in the hope that he would sign them. I popped down to the studio one day but neither Vaughan nor Chris Bigg were there, so I left a business card. I returned mid morning on, I think, the 16th, and Vaughan welcomed me as the weird Swede, having seen my business card. We had a chat and I aasked him about my Visceral Pleasures book, which he immediately produced and signed.

Vaughan Oliver’s dedication in Visceral Pleasures.

I showed him the other stuff I had with me and he graciously signed everything! Then Chris Bigg reminded him they had a lunch meeting at 4*A*D to re-negociate their contract! So Vaughan suggest I pop to the local pub and grab some lunch and then have a look through v23’s poster archive to see if there were any posters I would like. I picked about 20 which Vaughan gave me when he and Chris returned from their meeting.

I sold most of my 4*A*D / Vaughan Oliver collection in 2013. probably the only part of my extensive record and poster collection that I today regret parting with. However, I have catalogued my complete record collection online and can view all the 4*A*D records and CDs I had had. And, of course, I can listen to them on Spotify.

Vaughan Oliver died in December 2019, a year after his magnum opus Vaughan Oliver: Archive – a two-volume resumé of his career was published. I’m ashamed to say, I only found out about it recently. It’s a limited edition and very difficult to find now.

So all I have left of my Vaughan Oliver collection are the 23 Envelope posters, Pieter Nooten’s LP Sleeps With the Fishes (that I consider the most beautiful v23 cover), the limited edition of This Rimy River and the little paperback Vaughan Oliver and v23 Poster Designs, published to celebrate 4*A*D’s 25th anniversary. I shall treasure them all.

Pieter Nooten & Michael Brook – “Sleeps With the Fishes” cover design by V23 with calligraphy by Chris Bigg.

Thank you Martin Aston for rekindling my interest in all things 4*A*D.

A Rare Addition to My Banksy Collection.

Fairytales usually start “once upon a time …”, so that’s probably how I’ll start this post. Once upon a time I got hold of a printers’ proof of Dirty Funker’s Let’s Get Dirty cover. As you all know, there are two versions of this cover — one with no artist or title on the cover, only the two Kate Moss portraits, the second, more common, cover has a “Dymo” band over Kate’s eyes on the front with the title and over her mouth on the rear cover.

The printers’ proof:

Printers proof of the Let’s Get Dirty cover.

No one know how many printers’ proofs are made. Probably only a handful. I’ve only ever seen one other Let’s Get Dirty proof before.

Last month, I saw an Ebay item that I couldn’t resist. A seller in Stockholm, literally just down the road from where I live (well. actually a bus ride or eight underground stops away) had advertised the original stampers for the Let’s Get Dirty single and I made a cheeky offer that (after a wee haggle) was almost instantly accepted! They came with documentation on their provenance, so I guess they’re genuine.

I think this combination of the printers’ proof cover art together with the original stampers and both pressings of the record must be pretty rare. They make a great addition to my collection. So, thanks Dan for selling me the stampers.

Collecting Record Cover Art — All or Nothing?

As Dave Haslam points out in his little book A Life in Thirty-five Boxes (subtitled How I Survived Selling my Record Collection), there are basically two classes of collector; the completist and the dilettante. The former strives to collect everything in his or her field of interest while the dilettante picks and chooses among items. A stamp collector might concentrate on collecting stamps with sports figures or butterflies and be happy with the most famous footballers or the prettiest butterflies. But being a completist in either of these fields would be nigh on impossible. The same, of course, applies to collectors of record cover art. The dilettante can pick and choose which record covers to collect. The completist wants every cover in a particular field of collecting.

My record collection started out as a library of popular music from the late fifties to today and grew to more than 5,000 records and CDs before I started to concentrate more on record cover design. The first designer I discovered and decided to collect was the late Vaughan Oliver and I collected a wonderful collection of his work before selling the majority of my collection almost ten years ago. I have now only one of the covers by his v23 design group — Pieter Nooten’s Sleeps With the Fishes, which is still one of my all-time favourite designs (by Chris Bigg).

When I sold the bulk of my collection, I kept my Andy Warhol, Peter Blake, Klaus Voormann and Damien Hirst covers. These artists have only produced relatively limited numbers of covers; Andy Warhol produced about 65 covers during his lifetime, though many more have used his art since. There are only about thirty covers designed by Peter Blake and around eighty by Klaus Voorman and currently about seventy by Damien Hirst. And the artist I started collecting most recently is David Shrigley. Shrigley has designed a frisbee with the message “I collect records — I am obsessed by them”. Shrigley is a record collector and sometime DJ but his art seems seldom influenced by music. However, he has used his qirky writings on several record, cassette and CD covers. Thus far, he is responsible for about seventy covers, many very limited editions produced to accompany exhibitions of his art.

Then there’s Banksy. I started collecting Banksy’s record cover art around 2005 and collected almost fifty covers quite quickly. This is where I recognised that I am a completist. I wanted to include every cover in my collection.

There were several temporary “highs” when I thought I had completed a collection of one of my artist’s production only to find myself disappointed when someone found a cover that I had missed. I am responsible for reporting three previously unrecognised Andy Warhol covers and I can say I have a “pretty complete” collection of Warhol covers — note: not complete, but “pretty complete”. The same applies to my David Shrigley, Peter Blake and Damien Hirst collections and my Klaus Voormann collection (though I do lack two Voormann covers, but I know what they are.)

However, I am now beginning to realise that my collection of Banksy covers will never be complete as new discoveries are being made almost daily and my initial list of around fifty covers has now grown to almost one hundred and fifty, and still more covers are being recognised. Amazingly, many of these new “discoveries” were produced prior to 2010, when I thought I had found ALL of Banksy’s covers.

Banksy’s art is now so attractive to collectors and his early record covers, particularly his vinyl covers, have become prohibitively expensive. Most of the new “discoveries” are on CDs produced by relatively obscure bands, commonly punk or hiphop, in very limited numbers and are becoming impossible to find at reasonably prices as collectors compete for each available copy. There are a few nice vinyl covers, too and some more unscrupulous people are producing limíted edition vinyl 12-inchers with Banksy art covers simply to lure collectors. There are three recent releases in this category; two by a band called Boys in Blue — one using Banksy’s Rude Copper and one using his Strawberry Donut images, and another by Apes on Control that uses his Choose Your Weapon design. Unfortunately, I was taken in by the first Boys in Blue scam but have resisted the the others.

Street Art on Record Sleeves — A Good Investment.

My collection of record sleeves with art by the artist klnown as Banksy needs no instroduction here.

There are two covers that Banksy handsprayed. The first was for John Stapleton’s Blowpop Records in 1999. Banksy sprayed 100 coovers for a promotional 12″ single by the Capoeira Twins.

And the second was for Röyksopp’s debut album Melody A.M. in 2002.

The Capoeira Twins 12″ costs around GBP 5,000 – 6,000 while the Melody A.M. double LP goes for araound GBP 8,000 – 10,000. Both are limited editions of 100 copies (only the Melody A.M. covers are numbered.)

Robert del Naja (a k a 3D) is closely related to Banksy — and a major early influence. Del Naja started as a streeet artist in Bristol in the early eighties. He stopped after being arrested one time too many and concentrated on music, though he still produces art both as paintings and limited edition prints that command high prices. He also designs record covers for his band Massive Attack and for other groups. His limited editon record covers for Massive Attack have increased in value. I have four covers by Del Naja/3D.

Prices of these covers have sky rocketed recently. The limited edtion 12″ Eps Splitting the Atom and Atlas Air can cost upwards of GBP 300.

I have tried not to wander off and collect other street artists covers, but somehow some manage to creep into my collection. The latest is by the anonymous Swedish street artist Hellström, who handsprayed a cover for Håkan Hellström’s 2018 Illusioner album.

Hellströms limited edition prints cost around SEK 40,000 – 60,000 (aprox €4,000 – 6,000) and are highly collectible. He made the cover to the Illusioner LP in an edition of 40 (mine is No. 36), considerably fewer than one of his print editions.

One of the most expensive street art record covers is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s cover for Rammelzee vs. K-Rob Beat Bop 12″ single originally released in 1983 (500 copies) and reissued several times. An original copy might sell for around USD 10,000. Even some reissues can be quite expensive. However, even the price of an original is far less than a Basquiat limited edition print.

Mr Brainwash designed the cover for Madonna’s 2009 Celebration four LP compilation and copies now can cost USD 1,000!

Shepard Fairey has designed several record covers, both as art works that do not contain records and as bona fide record sleeves. He knows his history of record cover design and produced a limited edition series of covers that I felt I had to reproduce for my collection.

This cover design harks back to Alex Steinweiss’ first picture cover ffor the Smash Hits by Rodgers and Hart 78 rpm album from 1940. As I have that album, I had yo make a reproduction of the Shepard Fairey cover. Once again, a Shepard Fairey record cover will cost far less that one of his limited edition prints.

These are the street artists I have in my collection. I hope that each will continue to increase in value.

It seems that record covers by estsablished “fine” artists are also considerably cheaper (or perhaps that should be “considerably less expensive”) that the artists’ limited edition prints. A current example is David Shrigley, a vinyl-lover and part-time DJ, who has produced many record sleeves in very limited editions. These are now quite expensive, but nowhere near the cost of his limited edition prints. Early covers by Andy Warhol are expensive — perhaps up to USD 2,000 – 3,000, while his limited edition prints cost one hundred times the cost of his record covers.

Anniversary Reissues — an Expensive Experience.

There’s obviously a new generation of music fans who are buying vinyl records and weren’t around when some historic albums were origianllly released. And a there’s a large group of old fogies like me who were around but have worn out their original copies (or, again, like me, sold much of their original vinyl) and record companies have not beeb slow in realising these markets and producing anniversary reissues of old favourites — and in many cases reissuing albums that weren’t greatly appreciated when originally released but have become cult items. Many of the reissues are released on variously coloured vinyl, so collectors might have to buy several clopies.

I don’t know when the anniversary reissues forst arrrived. I suppose you could say it was when CDs arrived in the early eighties and vinyl albums were tranferred to the digital format. I remember the posters advertising the release of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band CD in 1987 used the “It was 20 years ago today” byeline. Could that have been one of the first “anniversary” reissues?

But 25th, 40th, 45th, 50th anniversary issues now appear with shocking regularity and are often in the form of expanded editions in box sets. Viz. The Velvet Underground & Nico‘s 45th anniversary 6CD box (one of th efirst I fell for) and the 2017 Sgt. Pepper release on single LP, double LP and four CD box set (I fell for these as well.) Lavish boxed sets of each of the Led Zeppelin albums (which tempted me, but I was strong) and many others.

But there’s a newer phenomenon; 10th and 15th anniversary reissues. I’ve just fallen for the 15th anniversary reissues of Malcolm Middleton’s A Brighter Beat album with its David Shrigley covers. I already have the origianal both on vinyl and CD (two different covers) and signed up for the promised 15th anniversary issues when they were announced in the autumn of 2021. Release was, however delayed until May. The “standard” reissue was a limited edition of 1000 copies on clear vinyl and then there is a “Dinked” edition of 500 copies on silver vinyl with a differend Shrigley cover (the same design as was used on the original CD.)

And now I’ve just “invested” in a 20th anniversary reissue of The Promise’s Believer LP, originally pressed on clear vinyl (100 copies) or red vinyl (900 copies) and now repressed on purple vinyl (200 copies). This 2002 album featured a very early reworking of Banksy’s I Fought the Law artwork on its cover and has become a collector’s item because of its cover.

Many, if not the majority, of these anniversary reissues are limited editions and have become collectible in their own right. I realise that it is great that out of print albums are being rereleased so that a new group of listeners can hear them on pristine vinyl, but I can’t decide if it is just a marketing jippo tat has sucked me in.

Record sleeve art by artists I collect