Earlier in 2017, Mark Satlof got his 15 minutes of fame when it was revealed that he had collected 800 copies of The Velvet Underground & Nico’s self-titled debut album. Apparently his collection (as everyone else’s) started with a single copy, but his was signed by Lou Reed. I wonder if he actually NEEDS all 800 copies.
Then there is Rutherford Chang who collects The Beatles’ White Album. He boasts that when the article was published he had 1,845 copies of the numbered first edition which he has exhibited in Liverpool. He still buys copies in any condition and will pay up to USD 20 for each.
So, that is one kind of cover collecting madness. There are others; like the chap who was prepared to fork out USD 790,000 for Ringo Starr’s personal copy of The Beatles (the White album) with number 0000001. This was named the most expensive record of all time but it obviously ain’t. In 2017 Martin Shkreli’s purchase of The Wu Tang Clan’s “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” double CD (Okay, I’ll grant that this was a CD not a RECORD”) but only a single copy was pressed (with an embargo that it could not be released commercially until 2103). Shkreli has since sold it on Ebay for USD 1,025,100 after 343 bids. I suppose he can get a tax allowance on his nearly USD 750,000 loss!
But there are good reasons for owning several copies of the same record. Some collectors might want both the stereo and mono releases, others may collect a record that has different covers–such as the six variations of the cover of Led Zeppelin’s “In Through the Out Door”, while others might want various coloured vinyl releases. In some cases a record is reissued at various times in remastered form or in a different cover and these may also be collectible.
My personal madness has extended to the various releases of The Velvet Underground & Nico–an album I first bought in 1967, unfortunately even then with the airbrushed rear cover photo. Despite its poor initial sales–said to have totalled 30,000 copies in its first five years of existence–the album has seemingly never been out of print, and has had various cover designs and several varieties of coloured vinyl. I haven’t yet got anywhere near 800 copies, but have sixteen at the last count, ranging from my own 1967 original copy, a torso cover, and the cover with the black sticker covering the torso as well as various later editions, including two picture discs and three versions of the Scepter Studios acetate recording. I bought both the 45th and 50th anniversary reissues (both the black and the pink vinyl versions of the latter). But, I still don’t have a mono copy on vinyl.
Another album I have many copies of is a recent release by Henrik Berggren. His debut solo album “Wolf’s Heart” was released on both CD and vinyl with six colour vinyl versions in addition to the standard black vinyl. Obviously I HAD to have all seven versions and so I managed to find them all. I thought they might be a good investment, but it transpires that one can still find all the various coloured vinyls.
I have four copies of The Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” and “Love You Live” albums. There are different zips on the U.K. and German versions of “Sticky Fingers”and the U.S. version has the title placed differently from the European versions. I am lucky to have copies of both albums autographed by Andy Warhol, too.
Now I have at least three copies each of Miguel Bosé’s “Made in Spain” (two Spanish and a Mexican) and “Milano-Madrid” albums. I’ll be returning to the “Made in Spain album in a future post.
Finally, an admission. Sometimes I have bought a record I thought I needed and when I got it home realised I already had it! That’s because I don’t carry complete lists of wanted items with me everywhere, not a sign of impending senility.