Tuesday, May 06, 2014
We mainly think of CDs as being worthless and ugly things, a harsh and impersonal product of the digital age. In this era of downloads and streaming music they seem as clunky and obsolete as VHS. Vinyl records, however, have made a resurgence, and are a better, and many would argue, more aesthetically pleasing investment than the compact disc (the album cover art as well as the so-called 'warmer' sound). Vinyl records are usually worth more than their CD counterpart, but not always.
Many CDs are actually out of print and hard to find, and in some cases worth more than their vinyl equivalent. Examples of this include, say, Bob Dylan's 1973 album simply titled Dylan, which was released in CD only in Europe and in limited numbers; expect to pay about £40 for it on CD (and £4 for the vinyl). 1960s San Francisco band Moby Grape's CDs are similarly out of print; expect to pay up to £25 each (and a lot less for the vinyl).
Original West German pressed CDs from the 1980s are becoming increasingly valuable, mainly because older CDs aren't as loud and compressed, and many audiophiles believe they sound better than later pressings (compare the original 1986 CD pressing of Paul Simon's Graceland to the 2011 reissue, which has been over compressed, distorting the sound and far louder than the original pressing, taking out subtleties and distorting the sound).
Japan must be the geekiest country in the world when it comes to rare, limited edition, promotional, deleted and hard to find CDs. Whether they come in paper sleeves, obi's (disposable folded strips of paper that wrap around the spine of the CD, record or book) or only available in Japan, it's more likely that the most valuable CDs would have come from there.
1. Prince – My Name was Prince (1993)
Japan-only compilation. Worth $4500-$5000
2. Rolling Stones – Steel Wheels Japan Tour (Feb 1990)
Japan-only compilation. Worth $4400 - $4600.
3. Rolling Stones/Paul McCartney/Queen – The Greatest (1995)
Japan 3-CD box set. Worth £2,500.
4. Bob Dylan – 50th Anniversary Collection (2013)
4-CD set of outtakes, recorded 1962-63, released by Columbia Records in limited edition of 100. Sold in January 2013 for $2,625.
5. Bruce Springsteen – The Future of Rock and Roll (1988)
Japanese promo-only release. Double CD. Worth $1800-$2200.
6. Nirvana – Penny Royal Tea (1994)
UK. One track – alternative version of song from In Utero. Worth $1500-$2000.
7. Michael Jackson – Smile (1997)
Withdrawn Austrian single. Worth $1500.
8. Coldplay – The Safety EP (1998)
UK issue 3-track. 500 made to give to fans. Worth $1000-$1500.
9. Paris Hilton – Paris (2006)
Remixed by Dangermouse with artwork by Banksy. The street artist doctored the artwork of several hundred Paris Hilton CDs and put them in HMVs around the country. Worth up to £500; anything by Banksy is a worthwhile investment.
10. Now That's What I Call Music 4 (1984)
The first Now That's What I Call Music available on CD, very rare and sought after, regularly goes on eBay for anything from £200-£400. This is the only one on the list you may well come across in a charity shop.