Vinyl Collector Reveals 3 Popular Rock Records Worth Thousands Now

A record shop owner shares the details that distinguish these valuable editions.

Ordinary '60s vinyl collection or unidentified treasure? According to a video posted to TikTok, some versions of common albums by popular artists like the Rolling Stones could be worth shocking amounts of cash to those in the know. Rob DiMartino, the owner of Summerville, South Carolina's Black Circle Records, goes by @blackcirclerecordssc on the social media platform and shared the knowledge with his followers.

But to identify the most valuable versions of these records, you'll need to get adept at examining vinyl closely, including the dead wax or unused area of the vinyl after the last track before it meets the label, where inscriptions differentiating the valuable versions can often be found. Read below for three popular vintage albums DiMartino says are now worth more than $1,000 and the key details distinguishing high-value collector's items from unremarkable copies.

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1
Hot Rocks 1964-1971 by The Rolling Stones (1971)

Hot Rocks 1964-1971 by The Rolling Stones cover art
London

Released at the peak of the Rolling Stones's success, the 1971 double album retrospective Hot Rocks 1964-1971 sold more than 12 million copies and was on the charts for more than five years. In the decades since its release, it has also become a collector's item—particularly the so-called "Shelley album," named for the Long Island, New York Shelley Products Ltd. plant that accidentally included alternate takes of two songs. That rare first pressing includes versions of "Wild Horses" and "Brown Sugar" not found on other pressings.

If the dead wax on side four reads "11-18-71," you've likely got the rare version, according to DiMartino, who says an edition in very good-plus ("VG+") condition can fetch more than $200.

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2
Led Zeppelin II by Led Zeppelin (1969)

Led Zeppelin II cover art
Atlantic Records

According to the legend behind Led Zeppelin's second studio album Led Zeppelin II, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun gifted a copy of the album, engineered by legendary mastering engineer Bob Ludwig, to his brother to give to his daughter. When Ertegun's niece played it on her children's record player, the "loud cut" caused the needle to jump around. As a result, the label panicked and reissued a new, less dynamic version.

The original versions became coveted by fans and known among dealers as the "Hot Mix." According to DiMartino, if your copy's dead wax reads "RL/SS" (short for Robert Ludwig/Sterling Sound), it's the legendary Hot Mix version. Hot Mix editions in VG+ condition could be worth "north of a thousand dollars," he says in his TikTok.

3
Yesterday and Today by The Beatles (1966)

Yesterday and Today by The Beatles cover art
Capitol

The Beatles's 1966 album Yesterday and Today was a fairly unremarkable collection of songs from recent Beatles LPs that hadn't yet made it to North American audiences, with one exception: its cover. Shot by photographer Robert Whitaker, it featured the Fab Four dressed in white coats amid a macabre scene of decapitated baby dolls and raw meat. According to Rolling Stone's look back at the original cover, Whitaker intended to illustrate "that the Beatles were in danger of being dismembered—both physically and psychically—by their celebrity." Meanwhile, Paul McCartney said it was the band's comment on the Vietnam War.

Unsurprisingly, the dark cover didn't go over too well with the delicate sensibilities of the time and many record dealers refused to sell it in their stores. Capitol Records quickly recalled the original versions of the album and substituted the cover for a different shot by Whitaker—this time of the band members posing around an old-fashioned steamer trunk—sometimes literally pasting the new cover over the original.

Fans have been seeking the forbidden version of this record for decades. DiMartino said the easiest way to tell if your copy is a collector's item is to look for a vague black triangle on the right side of the cover under the title. DiMartino says he's sold one in VG+ condition for more than $1200.

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The Beatles album he says is "like hitting the lotto."

Introducing The Beatles cover art
Vee-Jay

In another video posted this month, DiMartino revealed an extra-special record you'll want to keep an eye out for in your hunt: The Beatles's 1964 debut Introducing… The Beatles, which he described as "one of the most highly counterfeited records out there." The original release has the name "THE BEATLES" above the spindle hole on the record. That more common mono version of this record is already highly valuable, but if it also has "Stereo" at the top of the record label, that means it's an ultra-rare Stereophonic edition that DiMartino says goes for $10,000 to as much as $40,000.

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Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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