The 10 most valuable vinyl records

Whether it be limited releases, rare first pressings, or releases shrouded in mystery; Here are some of the rarest and most expensive vinyl records that have fetched huge sums of money in the past.

Skiddle Staff

Date published: 17th Apr 2024

Vinyl is a collectors game and on the more extreme scale, it can be an incredibly expensive hobby. People are always looking for the rarest finds and that always results in a huge price being paid. We've put together a list of some of the most exclusive vinyl that you can find and pretty much all of these are first pressings which make the price climb even higher. There are a few intriguing stories around them too.



Wu-Tang Clan - Once Upon A Time In Shaolin

Sold for: $2,000,000

The most expensive vinyl of all time, this one is full of controversy. It was purchased for this outrageous sum by pharmaceutical CEO and massive waste of oxygen Martin Shkreli, whose company deliberately inflated the price of an anti-HIV drug. This is the only copy of the album in existence and it comes with the condition that owner cannot make money from it for 100 years but can release it for free.

This means that no one has ever heard these Wu-Tang Clan songs apart from the owner but Shkreli won't be able to listen as he's now in prison with the album being seized by the police. Who knows what will happen to it next? But it's almost guaranteed to continue to be one of the most expensive vinyls.



The Beatles - The Beatles (The White Album)

Sold for: £620,000

The White Album is one of The Beatles' best ever records, which is saying something when you consider the sheer scale of their discography. The vinyl is highly sought after and there have been multiple batches released that have sold out quickly. The rarest ones will catch thousands of pounds but no edition cost more than Ringo Starr's personal vinyl.

With it being the first one ever pressed, the drummer put it up for sale at an auction in 2015 and he received a massive £620,000.



Röyksopp - Melody AM (Banksy Edition)

Sold for: $10,465

This special release of the classic electronic album from Norwegian duo Röyksopp only had 100 ever released, and for good reason. The iconic stencil street artist Banksy did some special covers that have a sprayed-on stencil design in green.

Fetching prices up to 10 grand, whilst this might not be the most expensive on this list (it's a fair whack though), it is arguably one of the coolest records to own given who's created it. 



Prince - The Black Album

Sold for: $27,500

Fun fact: Prince hates this album. Originally titled The Funk Bible, it was due for release at the end of 1987. Yet Prince turned around at the last minute and scrapped the release labelling it "evil" and calling for all copies to be destroyed. However some copies were out for promotional purposes and so you can find a lucky few that actually exist and you can expect to fork out about $27,500.



Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen

Sold for: $15,060.24

God Save The Queen will always be remembered for its long-lasting cultural impact. An anthem that rallied against the monarchy and shocked Britain, the ultimate renegades were at the forefront of the punk music movement. For a first pressing of this one you'll be lucky to find it and be paying a fortune in the process.



Rammellzee and K-Rob - "Beat Bop"

Sold for: $126,000

A holy grail of hip-hop record collection, this first pressing of the single Beat Bop by Rammellzee and K-Rob is unique and rare for one special reason, and that is due to who designed the cover, with it being none other than Jean-Michel Basquiat. Rammellzee himself was a well-known graffiti artist too, and this record even with some mild cosmetic wear went for $8,000 on eBay. But a sealed, mint-condition copy was sold for a humongous $126,000 at an auction in 2020. 



Aphex Twin- Caustic Window

Sold for: $46,500

This was released in 1996 and was released under the alias Caustic Window by Richard David James who is better known as Aphex Twin. Some of his earliest work, the test pressing for this record was bought by Notch the creator of Minecraft for a huge sum and he can now proudly claim to own a test pressing of this rarity. 



The Beatles- Yesterday and Today

Sold for: $125,000

The Beatles could probably fill out their own list of most expensive vinyl records such is the adoration for one of the all-time great bands. The scramble for rarities leads to huge prices and the story behind this one is the cover. Nicknamed 'The Butcher' it showed the band holding dismembered dolls and chunks of meat far removed from how they had been represented before.

It caused such outcry that they changed the cover but the editions that were sold with the original cover fetch huge amounts now.



David Bowie- David Bowie (Space Oddity)

Sold for: $7,227.71

The second album from the iconic songwriter that saw him tackling space themes for the first time, the record sold for big money in 2016 and that's hardly a surprise given the reputation and influence of David Bowie. Another artist whose rarest finds typically fetch big money.



The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (signed by all four Beatles)

Sold for: $290,000

When we talk about the most expensive vinyls, this copy of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was signed by all four Beatles, always comes into the conversation. Selling for $290,000 at auction, with a buyer in the Midwest winning, we think its fair to see why the record went for the amount it did. 




Record shops are so important to our local communities. They help us support local artists, discover new music, appreciate a beautiful, timeless art form, and let us experience the ultimate joy of finding a rare record to add to the collection.

As Record Store Day approaches on 20th April, it’s definitely worth checking out which shops are participating and heading down on the day. Record Store Day is taking place up and down the UK, so get down to see your local record shops in BirminghamCardiffSheffieldLiverpoolLondonBristolManchester, Glasgow, and beyond. But even if a shop isn’t participating, it’ll probably be worth checking out anyway.



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