Rare Sgt Pepper Fetches Big Price at Auction

Remember this very rare and collectable copy of the Beatles Sgt Pepper which came up for auction?

Well, it sold earlier today for US$24,375, plus a buyers premium of $8,125, bringing the total to $32,500:Sgt Pepper CoverSgt Pepper rear coverSgt Pepper discThe reason it is so rare is that the cover features the faces of some forty Capitol Records executives rather than the original collage of celebrities. It’s believed only 40-50 copies were ever produced to be distributed at a Capitol Records conference, essentially one for each of the executives pictured. This particular copy belonged to Marvin Beisel, Capitol’s National Sales Director at the time, and one of the executives pictured on the cover.

You can visit the auction house website (Heritage Auctions in Texas) for more.

Another Very Limited Edition Sgt Pepper Up for Auction

You might have heard recently about the signed copy of Sgt Pepper which sold at auction for US$290,500. It made headlines around the world because it shattered the previous record for such an item.

The album was purchased by an unnamed buyer from the Midwest USA. An anonymous seller parted with the album through the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which ahead of the bidding estimated the album would sell for $30,000.

The album was a U.K. Parlophone copy with a high gloss cover and gatefold:


Now comes news of another perhaps even rarer copy of Sgt Pepper that will be auctioned by the same auction house.

I got an email last week from a guy named Tony Gillespie alerting Beatlesblogger to this one. Its a copy of Pepper on the Capital label – but the cover has a major difference to what you are used to. Many of the faces on the famous shot have been superimposed with the faces of Capitol Records sales executives from the day. I first came across talk of this unusual item this back in 2009. Its estimated that only 40-50 copies were ever made for internal company distribution. Now, one is coming onto the market. Tony Gillespie is helping the owners of this extremely rare LP to publicise the auction – and so I asked him to provide me with some more details. His response is printed below:

Here’s a quick history of the “Doctored” Sgt Pepper’s cover:

Earlier this year, I received a message from a friend of mine named Chad, a prominent local buyer and seller of collectibles and antiques. He purchased a set of Beatles records, and since records aren’t his forte, he contacted me, Tony Gillespie, owner of Gillespie Records, because he knew of my extensive Beatles record collection, which has been called one of Indiana’s finest. (www.facebook.com/gillespierecords) He mentioned a “weird Sgt Pepper’s cover with different faces on it.” I asked him to send a photo of that record first.

I recalled reading an article that was generated from a story in Record Collector magazine (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/the-beatles-album-artwork-worth-70000-276691) about a “doctored” Sgt Pepper’s cover. I found the article and waited for the photo. When I opened the attachment, my knees buckled. There it was, the Holy Grail! The article estimates the cover to be worth 70,000 pounds (equvalant to $100,000+ US dollars, roughly).


I called the owner (Chad) and his wife (Kimberly), and told them to sit down. I revealed what the article said, and the roller coaster ride began. The three of us formed a partnership, with them owning the record, and me acting as their representative and got to work on finding the best home for the record. We contacted Perry Cox, the leading authority on all things Beatles, and he agreed to have us to his home (we flew from Indiana to Arizona) to personally authenticate the record. It was the first time he had ever held the “doctored” cover in his hands.perry cox

Perry estimated there were only 40-50 copies of the record produced (a claim mirrored by Bruce Spizer in his book, “The Beatles Story on Capitol Records, Part 2) for a Sales Executive meeting held in late 1967 in Florida. One cover is thought to have been made for each of the executives featured on the cover, but only 3-5 are known to still exist, and NONE have ever been sold on the open market, making the true value of this cover unknown. We were able to successfully tie the record to an executive on the cover, which Perry says could double the value!!

Perry also gave me this quote for promotional purposes…he has given his permission to me to print it:

“Among the rarest and most interesting artifacts produced during the original era of the Beatles classic Sgt. Pepper’s LHCB”, was an extremely rare U.S. stereo album cover version prepared exclusively for a Capitol Records party in honor of the landmark album in late 1967. The front cover of the album featured photos of noted Capitol Records employees amongst the many noted famous images we’ve now become so familiar with. Today, this has become one of the most sought after albums by collectors and fans all over the world. With only about 40+ examples made, I rank it one of the top 10 all time collectible albums by the Beatles in the world.”———Perry Cox, April, 2013.

We settled on Heritage Auctions of Texas to handle the first public sale of the “Doctored” Sgt Pepper’s cover, which will be held on August 10. They gave an auction estimate of $25,000-$30,000 but admitted the estimate in this case was hard to pinpoint due to the record’s obscurity. Chad, Kimberly and I have set up a Facebook page dedicated to the record www.facebook.com/rarestbeatlesrecord , a Twitter account @Beatlesrarist and a website www.rarestbeatlesrecord.com.  We also made a You Tube video to detail the story a bit better here:



Label Variations Part Seven – Help!

Our last post was about the 1965 US Capitol Records edition of the Bealtes “Help!”

Here are some label variations of that album (both LPs and CDs), including the versions released in Australia and the UK.  Some are from my collection, augmented by images of variations from around the world. You can click on the labels to see larger versions and hover your mouse over to get the country of origin:

And one final vinyl – thanks to Paul in France for this image of an exclusive French edition from 1978 on orange vinyl:

There are also a few CD’s:

(Click on labels to see larger versions. Hover mouse over to get country of origin)

And of course the DVD (which came out in 2007 in both Deluxe and standard edition sets). Here’s the standard edition box and DVD:

To publicise the DVD, Capitol issued a promotional disc – a seven song “Sampler” from the film:

For more Label Variations you can see Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six plus the Beatles “Love” variations here and here. There’s also a comprehensive post on all the extensive variations of the McCartney/FiremanElectric Arguments” release, the Twin Freaks LP and singles, and McCartney‘s recent “Kisses On The Bottom” CD’s and LP. There is also a post on some George HarrisonAll Things Must Pass” label variations.

Latest Addition to the Collection – The Beatles “Help!” US LP

After many a year I’ve finally got myself a copy of the US vinyl version of the Beatles “Help!”.

Last week I visited a newly-opened record store called Pacific Records. It’s located in the Sydney suburb of Mona Vale and sells new and used LPs, singles, CDs, music books, posters and t-shirts. The guy running it also has an Ebay store.

I’ve already got a few different versions of “Help!”, but have never had an LP copy of the US Capitol Records pressing – which varies in a number of ways to the LP released in Australia and elsewhere. The one I got last week is on the orange Capitol label:

The LP is of interest because the US edition has seven songs from the film interspersed with instrumentals, a different running order, and a very different cover to that issued in places like the UK, Europe and Australia:

Also, it has a really cool gatefold with lots of additional photos inside (whereas in other countries “Help!” comes in just a single LP sleeve):

In Australia (and in the UK) we’re used to this “Help!” LP cover image:

As I said there are some songs in common, but the running order is different and Bruce Spizer explains why in his liner notes for the booklet that comes with “The Beatles Capitol Albums, Vol. 2”:

“In England, Parlophone repeated its practice of issuing an album with songs from the film on one side and additional new recordings by the group on side two. (Three of those songs had previously appeared [in the US] on “Beatles VI”.) Capitol issued an album with the seven Beatles songs from the film augmented with “Exclusive Instrumental Music From the Picture’s Soundtrack.” Ken Thorne’s score for the film consisted of a mix of Thorne originals, classical music and orchestrated Beatles tunes, often with an Indian flavour. Capitol’s “Help!” LP was issued with a deluxe gatefold cover on August 13, 1965″.

The copy I got also has a nice original paper inner sleeve, with advertisements for other Capitol LPs, including a couple by the Beatles:

Next time a post on some “Help!” label variations from around the world.

All Things Must Pass – Label Variations Update

At the “All Things Must Pass” Label Variations post, and the “All Things Must Pass” Record Store Day edition page there’s been a bit of conversation about a strange example of this now classic George Harrison release. Reader Paul writes:

“The box set pressing I have with….labels that say ‘mfd in the UK 1970′ comes in a USA box with orange inner, with a USA poster and USA inner sleeves. The strange thing is that sides 1,2,3 & 4 have the uncut, full Apple label like the Australian release instead of the cut Apple on sides 2 & 4. My guess is that the UK LPs were shipped over to America and packaged there using the USA box and inners? I can’t come up with an answer as to why the 4 orange Apple labels show the uncut Apple on all sides? Any ideas?”

Anyone with any more information on this one is welcome to contribute to the discussion.

This reminded me of a further variation that came into my collection that’s not detailed in either of the posts above. It is a rare Capitol Records label re-issue of “All Things Must Pass”, with records One and Two on the purple Capitol label:

And record Three – the “Apple Jam” disc – on the Orange Capitol label:

This set comes in the usual box with the hinged lid, lined in orange on the inside, the three different coloured inner-bags (which are light paper), and it has the the big George Harrison poster. All printed in the USA.

Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records

For a leading tax attorney Bruce Spizer sure knows a lot about the Beatles.

He is something of a legend amongst Beatles collectors. His books about the record labels the band’s output has been released on are much sought-after and comprehensive. Now, there’s a new one. The New Orleans-based Spizer has just released “Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records”:

In a cheeky collector-driven move the book is available in two different versions. You can order it with the Stereo version of “The Beatles For Sale” album on the cover, or you can get the Mono image. The contents of both books are the same inside though:

Here’s the rear cover:

When asked to compare this book to his previous titles, Spizer said, “This is by far the most comprehensive book I have ever done because it covers all of the songs released by the Beatles in the sixties. The U.K. singles, albums and EPs, all in one 444-page book. Like my other books, it is full of hundreds of images in either color or original black & white. It contains rarely seen British ads and promotional posters. Frank Daniels and I were able to track down tons of label variations that will please and frustrate the hard-core collectors.”

Surprisingly (according to Wikipedia), Bruce Spizer didn’t start collecting seriously until 1997 when he earned a large fee from the settlement of a lawsuit and decided to use some of the money to replace his childhood collection of Beatles LPs with a set of first edition albums. From that moment he was drawn into the world of collecting and has since written and self-published eight great books on the subject of the Beatles, their records and record labels.

In case you think you’ve never heard of him, you may already have some of his work in your collection if you own this CD box set:

Bruce wrote the essay contained in the booklet which came with “The Beatles Capitol Albums Volume 2”. The four-CD box set contains stereo and mono versions of the Beatles albums released by Capitol in 1965.  Spizer also served as a consultant to Capitol Records for both Volumes 1 and 2 in the series.

Bruce Spizer’s website is beatle.net and there is a lot more about all his books there.