5. John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy
Double Fantasy is a 1980 album released by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and no doubt one of the most well-known releases by the two. It is the seventh and final studio album released by Lennon during his lifetime, although the album was initially poorly received by their fanbase. Unfortunately the release came out only 3 weeks prior to Lennon’s murder and it quickly became a worldwide commercial success and went on to win the 1981 Album of the Year award at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards. A copy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy, sold in 1999 for an incredible $150,000 (approx. £118,000), the macabre detail that rendered it so valuable was the fact that it had been signed by Lennon himself just hours before his death on December 8th, 1980. It’s also allegedly the last record Lennon signed prior to his death.
4. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the English rock band the Beatles that was released on 26 May 1967 in the United Kingdom. The hit release spent twenty seven weeks at number one on the UK Albums Charts and fifteen weeks at number one in the US. Any original copy of the 1967 pressing of Sgt. Pepper will rack up a decent price at any auction, particularly if its the mono version with the black Parlophone label. A copy consisting of 4 signed records sold at auction in 2013 to a buyer from the midwest in America for an incredible $290,000, nearly 10 times that amount it was estimated originally (only $30,000). The sale ended up breaking the record for a copy of their 1967 album.
3. Elvis Presley: My Happiness
A man called Jack White, previously of White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather is reportedly one of the busiest men in the music industry but what a lot of people don’t know is that he’s also a very dedicated vintage gear and vinyl collector. Alongside his collecting, Jack White also owns a studio and label that specialise in unusual and rare vinyl.
One of the coolest things about Jack White’s collection is the fact that he owns one of the three most expensive records in the world, the test pressing of Elvis Presley’s first ever recording that was sold at auction in December 2015.
2. The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album)
The Beatles, also known as “The White Album”, is the ninth album in total by the Beatles and was released on 22 November 1968. The album was a double album and was entirely showcased its plain white sleeve that featured no graphics or text, other than the band’s name embossed on the front. Although no singles were issued from The Beatles in Britain and the United States, the songs “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” originally came from the same recording sessions created during the album and were later issued on a single in 1968.
Beatles drummer Ringo Starr was reportedly known to own the very first copy of the band’s self-titled double album from 1968, since the records were printed with serial numbers in sequence and Starr’s copy bears the number ‘0000001’. He eventually sold his copy at Julien’s auction in the U.S. for $790,000 (approx. £620,000) in December 2015. Who exactly bought the rare vinyl is still to this day unknown.
1. Wu-Tang Clan: Once Upon a Time in Shaolin
Price: $2 million
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a double album by the Wu-Tang Clan that was limited to a single copy sold in 2015. The album is reportedly the most expensive single album sold in history. Part of what makes this album in particular so special is that one double-CD of the album, which was recorded in secret over six years, was pressed in 2014 and stored in a secured vault at the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco. The album ranked in a lot of success and curiosity by fans and collectors alike and was finally auctioned off to the highest bidder through auction house Paddle8 in 2015, later the winner of the auction was revealed to have the winning bid of $2 million and was placed by Martin Shkreli, who is most known as the controversial Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO.
The record also came with a contract which stipulates that the buyer may not attempt to sell or make money from the record for 100 years, although the owner may release the album for free should they wish to. In saying that, Shkreli refused to do so, although has in the past released small clips of it on stream on the popular broadcasting network, YouTube.