After reading Piers' recent article about the CBC artifacts being sold off, I found myself questioning whether these types of markings actually do make a record more collectable or even desirable. For Piers, who has a keen interest in the history of the Canadian music scene as a whole, they represent an important part of history. They are an artifact of a bygone analog age, and therefore, museum worthy and worth preserving. For a person like myself, who's primary interest is t racking down the most pristine of copies for my collection, it's not such a big deal.
So just when does an alteration or embellishment add or detract from an object's value on the collecting market? It's my opinion that it can be broken down into four different categories.
A: An embellishment or alteration that in no doubt, would make the item more desirable to the majority of collectors.
B: An embellishment or alteration that neither enhances, nor reduces the desirability of the item to the majority of collectors.
C: An embellishment or alteration that in no doubt would make the item less desirable to the majority of collectors.
D: An embellishment or alteration that makes the item more desirable solely on personal preference.
Going through my collection, I tried to find items from each of these four categories.
Here are some items that I feel would fall into category A.
Here is a copy of the 1982 release of the 10" "Savage Young Beatles" disc. This item, even sealed, is not a highly prized item among collectors. The addition of signatures by Pete Best and Roy Young, musicians who actually played on the record, make this a very desirable item.
John Lennon's 1972 release "Sometime in New York City" is a fairly easy to find LP, and not worth a lot, but how many do you see autographed by John Sinclair over the lyrics of the song John wrote about him?
A final vinyl copy of the classic Canadian LP "Long Tall Sally" on the 80's retro rainbow label is hard enough to find, but try finding one signed by its Canadian producer, Paul White!
Category B usually involves point of purchase alterations, such as price tags or store promo stickers on LP shrink wrap or 45 sleeves that have been there since the item was newly purchased. Here are a few samples of these. Of particular interest to me, are the price stickers from Canadian store chains like Sayvette and Woolco.
As for category C, I think we can all agree that personal writing or stickers on labels, sleeves, jackets are a sure fire detriment to an item's value and desirability. These kinds of alterations usually make a collector cringe. Here are a few sorry examples. Particularly annoying are the markings on the extremely hard to find "Four By The Beatles" EP and the otherwise pristine 1967 "And I Lover Her" reissue. Arrrghhh!!
Category D involves alterations that make an item interesting and desirable in the eyes of the beholder. It is purely subjective. This is where I would place the CBC artifacts that Piers wrote about, and here are a few examples from my collection that I feel would also fit this category.
The first example is an item that I consider one of my most prized possessions. It is a very early copy of T-6054 that is missing the Parr's logo on the front slick. It is signed and personalized to me by Paul White. I would never consider parting with it, but if I were to, it would probably only appeal to someone named Fred!
Also shown are two early Canadian Beatles 45's purchased from their original owner, who was then a smitten young female fan. She had adorned the sleeves of her newly purchased copies of "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" with hand written messages about them performing these songs on the February 9, 1964 Ed Sullivan appearance. To a vinyl historian like myself, there is valuable information here that makes these records very important.
For 72125, we can instantly tell that some early copies of this single were sold in the glossy black Capitol stock sleeve. Looking at the matrix numbers on the 45, the A side has a dash 2 at the end. This indicates that sometime between mid-September of 1963 and the first week of February 1964 that something happened to the original side A stamper. It is my experience that copies with the dash 2 on side A are quite common. Copies without the suffix on side A are few and far between.
For 5112, the first conclusion we can draw, is that early copies were distributed with the U.S. east coast straight cut picture sleeve. This was the first Canadian Beatles single to actually feature a picture sleeve. Looking at the label we see that initial copies had Walter Hofer as the B side publisher.
It's examples like these that enable us to extract certain details relating to the history of a particular record, and more importantly, make the hobby fun!
Carry on collecting!