When it comes to collecting 1960s vinyl records there is a wealth of choice. After all, the period started with the likes of Anthony Newley topping the charts and ended with the likes of the Rolling Stones, soul, reggae and progressive rock and all kinds of pop and rock music in between. The first question to ask is where to start, what bands, what artists will be most collectable.
Despite the fact that the Beatles split up more than 40 years ago they are still the most collectable group in the world. Although they sold millions of records between the first single Love Me Do in 1963 and their final album Let It Be in 1970, there are records that are worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds. The condition of the record is everything – Beatles records were played to death by their fans, so if you have one that is in mint condition, meaning it has never been played, you are in luck, as collectors around the world will pay a King’s ransom for it. One of the Beatles’ most sought after albums is is a rare copy of their debut album ‘Please Please Me’ in stereo with gold and black labels. Parlophone, the recording company, changed the labels to black and yellow after the initial pressing., that is the reason why gold and black label copies change hands for around £2,500.
There are other collectable Beatles singles and you should look out for ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ issued in 1967 with the first bespoke sleeve for a 7-inch single. Collectors will pay around £50 for this record in mint condition. You don’t have to be rich to collect Beatles records, you can pick up singles not in mint condition from as little as £1 for singles and £4-£12 for albums. There are other English bands from the 1960s that are very collectable, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who and The Small Faces, among others.
The 1960s saw the emergence of soul music and, if you would like to collect this, there are many sub genres ranging from the high priced Northern Soul to a variety of particular labels. One of the most collectable soul labels is obviously Tamla Motown. Motown records were first issued in 1963 on the Oriole label and then on the Stateside label in 1963/64, before Tamla Motown moved to EMI. The early singles are really collectable now and if you can find The Valadiers’ I Found A Girl/You’ll Be Sorry Someday (CBS1809 1963) you could expect to get about £900 for it. Millions of Motown records were sold and you can build up a great collection, you might also look at the Stax and Atlantic labels.
You should also look at psychedelic records, where the prices have been rising recently, especially online. Apart from Pink Floyd and Jimmy Hendrix, there were a large number of bands that only released one or two singles that did not do very well at the time but are now sought after by collectors. Look out for the likes of Mike Stuart Span, Shy Limbs, The Fox, Australian Playboys or One in a Million, they could be worth quite a bit of money.
If you are into reggae you will know that one of the most collectable labels from the 1960s is Island records founded by Chris Blackwell and every single from this label is worth money and you should also look at labels like Coxsone and Blue Beat. Reggae albums sell for good money as there were fewer issued and they did not sell well at the time. Names to look out for are Prince Buster, Laurel Aitken, Jackie Mittoo, The Maytals, Lee Perry, Hugh Roy, Millie Small and early Bob Marley.
If you want to become a collector and only have a small budget collecting 1960s vinyl records is for you. You can get very good copies of classic Dave Clark Five, Animal and Beach Boy singles for £3-£5. A good tip for collectors is to look out for different pressings of the same record. Up until the mid 1960s all records were issued in mono, but then stereo arrived and everything changed. Just like the move from vinyl to CD or video to DVD, there was a transition period and records would be issued in mono and stereo. There can be a great difference in the prices of mono and stereo- a gatefold copy of Jimmy Hendrix’s Axis Bold as Love from 1967 is worth £250 in mono and £100 in stereo.
Collecting 1960s vinyl records is great fun and the prices are affordable. If you are interested you might want to invest in an old fashioned record player so that you can actually enjoy playing them.