Are you in possession of a Beatles album that you think could potentially be worth a fair amount of money? Are you otherwise simply interested in valuable Beatles albums, what they are, and what they are worth? Are you a materialist with dollar signs for pupils?
Then come one and all, as we explore some of the most valuable Beatles albums, getting down to the nitty gritty of what they are worth and why they have come to fetch such a steep price point.
1. Please Please Me
As valuable Beatles albums go, this was always going to be a heavy hitter, being the Beatles debut album and the first released under the now iconic and all encompassing brand name.
This album was recorded, produced, mixed, mastered, and released at a time when stereo recording was still only released in very limited quantities. Released in 1963, there were at least a few years to go before such technology would take the world by storm and become the norm.
Almost all of the copies of Please Please Me that were released in the UK were sent forth in mono, making the few copies that were released in stereo an extremely rare find. At the time, if anyone wanted one of these stereo recordings they would have to be specially ordered, and only if you had the right sound system, mind.
Needless to say, these stereo copies are now an extremely rare Beatles album indeed, especially since they sport the sought after black and gold label that singled these Parlophone recordings out from other Parlophone recordings at the time, such as those that would have been otherwise garbed with a label of black and yellow.
So, if you intend at all to sell your copy of Please Please Me, make sure you check whether it is mono or stereo first, for the latter will be worth about five times as much as the former.
2. The Beatles (White Album)
Allegedly the most collectible album in the UK, this record was the first album that the Beatles recorded and decided to release as a self titled, perhaps as a way of placing importance on looking at them in retrospect, comparing them to their prior selves.
If we do so, we can easily see how fractured this latter version of the band is. This is exhibited in the inner sleeve, where there is a picture of each of the Beatles separately, all brought together in a four panel collage.
This visual representation is highly representative of the state of the band, with each of the songs recorded with varying numbers of the band present and there often being individual Beatles in separate studios working on separate songs and often arriving at the studio in separate cars.
Still, this is one of the more valuable records you are going to find by the band, being the first they released on their own record label, the short lived Apple Records.
The first 10000 copies are especially sought after if they are in good enough condition, for they will include a poster, color prints, and black inner sleeves. There are, however, gradations to the amount that numbers within this bracket will go for.
- 1001 – 10000: around $1000
- 11 – 1000: around $1700
- 1 – 10: anywhere between $8500 – $11900
So, make sure you check what kind of pressing you are working with before you go listing it on your favorite vinyl marketplace and learn how to ship vinyl records.
3. ‘Love Me Do’ / ‘P. S. I Love You’
It did not take long for the Beatles’ music and self image to become a worldwide sensation, more of a worldwide sensation than any artist yet before them had ever been.
Something about them simply became a winning formula, the four British lads who were able to command attention wherever they went and play to ceaseless hordes of pubescent girls driven hormonally mad by the merchandise and propaganda.
Before all of that, the Beatles were just one amongst a whole roster of boy groups trying to hit the big time. They had a residency at the now famous Cavern Club in their home city of Liverpool, and it is thereabouts that they would have caught the attention of Capitol Records, after which they recorded their first album Please Please Me, from which the single ‘Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You’ comes.
The album was recorded in a single session, with one take for each song performed back to back more or less with one microphone trained on the entire band on a small sound stage.
It is certainly a miracle that the results still sound so good, though this was already a band that was well rehearsed to a fault. The rest is of course history, and this UK promotional copy of the Beatles’ first single now fetches an estimated value between $15,000 & $20,000, limited as it was to only 250 copies in a very limited run.
4. ‘Till There Was You’ / ‘Crying, Waiting, Hoping’
There exists a 10 inch acetate copy of this single which sold for an exemplary $207,600 in 2016, though it was only estimated to sell for $13000. What gives? How can a valuable record be an even more valuable record?
Well, funnily enough this first pressing was actually owned by Brian Epstein, none other than the keyboardist in Gerry and the Pacemakers, but more importantly, an entrepreneur who managed the Beatles from the early 60s until his death from an accidental barbiturate overdose in 1967, after the Beatles second album and beyond.
The UK album even featured alongside Paul McCartney and John Lennon singing the manager’s very own handwriting on the record labels, misspelling the title as ‘Hullo Little Girl’. This original single came well before the Beatles became the dominator of northern songs, credited as it was to ‘Paul McCartney and the Beatles, as though they were his backing band.
All this dollar was spent on a song that was not even written by the Beatles! It was actually written as a show tune by Meredith Wilson in 1950, recorded by Meredith and his orchestra alongside his wife and musical collaborator Eileen Wilson.
Fair enough, it was then called ‘Till I Met You’, so no doubt the new name would have thrown some people off the scent of plagiarism. Given the long and storied past of this release, any record collector or purveyor of collectible vinyl would be silly to turn such a release away.
5. Yesterday and Today
This record is going to fetch a considerable price in any form, though there have been some stereo versions that have been completely sealed and in mint condition since its release in 1966.
No matter the form it takes, however, this record will fetch a pretty penny at auction. And why, you might ask? Well, when this release was initially sent out into the world, the original cover stirred up quite a bit of controversy.
What is now referred to by fans as the infamous ‘butcher cover’ featured all four members f the band dressed in lab coats reminiscent of those worn by butchers, holding the heads of baby dolls, and all smeared with raw meat and ‘blood’.
So negative was the response to this album cover that they were all recalled, 750,000 of them being commercially destroyed. Of course, those that still remain would have been coveted by those who owned a copy at the time, for the backlash about the original album cover was widespread and virulent.
All this for something that was supposed to be a well meaning statement, allegedly about the violence of the contemporaneous Vietnam War. This was, however, all too far out for the listening public and was replaced with the now ubiquitous image of the four likely lads standing around a shipping trunk. They certainly knew how to clean vinyl records of their original intent.
6. ‘That’ll Be the Day’ / ‘In Spite of all the Danger’
This is about the only entry on this list that is not technically by the Beatles. Anyone who has expressed much of an interest in the Beatles up until this point, however, will know that before the very existence of the Beatles, some of the original members were in a slew of other bands.
One of the most prominent was the Quarrymen, a band that wrote and performed songs in the contemporaneously popular skiffle style of the period.
The original pressing of this disc is a 10 inch acetate owned by none other than Paul McCartney and it is very unlikely that he or his estate are going to give up this precious disc anytime soon.
There are, however, a couple of pressings that have reproduced the original, each consisting of 25 copies. Seeing as they were produced and pressed in 1981, they are now worth around $20000 each, with the original owned by Paul McCartney being valued at approximately $170,000!
Considering this single was recorded in the front room of a random person’s house in Liverpool for the scant price of 17 shillings and 6 pence, I would say that is pretty good going, wouldn’t you? This shakes out to about $1.46 in dollars at the time, which is equivalent to $14.97 today if adjusted for the inflation between then and now.
7. Magical Mystery Tour
Though it might not fetch as much as some of the other more extortionate offerings on this list, the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour is certainly worth a look if you have listened to Sgt Pepper too much but you are also after an album that still reeks of that same psychedelic spirit.
‘The U.S. version of the soundtrack for the Beatles’ ill-fated British television special embellished the six songs that were found on the British Magical Mystery Tour double EP with five other cuts from their 1967 singles.
The psychedelic sound is very much in the vein of Sgt. Pepper’s, and even spacier in parts (especially the sound collages of “I Am the Walrus”). Unlike Sgt. Pepper’s, there’s no vague overall conceptual/thematic unity to the material, which has made Magical Mystery Tour suffer slightly in comparison. Still, the music is mostly great.’
This US version of the album is also that which many future pressings are based on, including the pressing that I myself own. Yes, even the UK version of the album has now come to rely upon the US for its inherent structure, the former doing away with the double EP format in favor of the ever so slightly more sensical single album format.
This album was released at an experimental time overall, not to mention a time when the Beatles themselves were at the peak of their own self experiments, so it is no wonder that they would have wanted to try something new.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, your curiosity about the most valuable Beatles albums has been satiated somewhat, and, if you believed you were in possession of one of these albums, that your cry has been answered.
Perhaps you have, all along, been sat on a veritable gold mine that has been lurking in the dark, garbed in thick coats of dust and awaiting a sell out auction where the red carpet is well and truly rolled out.
Otherwise, if you were simply interested than I hope that you have got everything you desired from this here article.
FAQs Valuable Beatles Albums
If the Beatles album you own is a first pressing or thereabouts, then you can be pretty sure that it is at least worth something when sold off; if this first pressing or thereabouts is in good condition, then that will be even better for its eventual sale price – the better the condition, the higher the eventual price. If your Beatles record from yesteryear is an original pressing that is almost entirely unopened then you can be sure that you are sitting on a gold mine.
Rarity is a quality that essentially signifies how special or unique something is. The rarer something is, the less likely you are to find another of it. In thinking about rarity this way, then surely the rarest Beatles album is one that is inimitable and singular. Clearly the prize would go to the original pressing of the Beatles self titled album (otherwise known as the White Album). This was originally owned by Ringo Starr, though was eventually auctioned off for charity; it was expected to sell for around $60000 but ended up fetching around 3/4 of a million!