Record collectors are accustomed to dishing out the dough for coveted vinyl. When not digging in the discount bins, maybe you splurge regularly on new releases to keep your collection up-to-date. Perhaps you’ve paid a pretty penny for that one holy grail.
But have you ever dropped a cool $40,000?
Since 2018, one record has reigned as the most expensive item ever sold on Discogs: Prince’s Black Album. However, the Purple One has been dethroned. At the very end of 2020, Discogs witnessed a sale that surpassed the Black Album‘s price tag. By a lot.
Below is a ranking of the 100 most expensive records ever sold on Discogs, including our new No. 1: Choose Your Weapon by Scaramanga Silk.
This list features vinyl (LPs, EPs, 7-inches, 12-inches, full-lengths, and vinyl-only box sets) that were sold and paid for on Discogs. All prices have been converted to USD (United States Dollar) based on the exchange rate at the time of sale. You will notice duplicates of certain records; that’s because some of these rarities have consistently sold for small fortunes.
We’ve also highlighted the top three most expensive records. It’s important to note that two of them are promotional copies. Oftentimes, before an album or song hits the market for fans to gobble up, various folks — think radio DJs back in the day or online music critics now — may receive a promo to listen to the music ahead of everyone else. This marketing ploy helps generate buzz and boost album sales. In the vinyl resale market, promos are viewed as extremely valuable due to their limited availability. There are very few copies of these expensive records in existence. In fact, there are few copies of the records that rank in the top 100.
Words used to describe Scaramanga Silk include “enigmatic” and “cloaked behind layers.” What we do know about this British DJ is that he has been dropping singles and EPs since 2008 and his first full-length, Designer Scribble, arrived on the Micro Spiral label in 2016. The release in the spotlight, Choose Your Weapon, is a promo gatefold self-released in 2008 with a 12-inch vinyl and a CD-Rom, both of which contain the title track, as well as “an art print by Immyart and a poem on an acetate,” according to the Database. Only 20 numbered copies exist.
“In order to best portray the overall message, it was delivered across the mediums of music, art, and poetry. By having these three channels, the aim was to allow each of the separate elements to operate independently but also as a collective whole,” Scaramanga Silk tells Discogs.
By several accounts, the release drew attention from collectors shortly after it dropped when it sold on eBay for $654. How that price tag sky-rocketed to over $40,000 remains a mystery. Not much information is listed in the Database; only five Discogs users want it and three have it. This wallet-emptying sale is the only time it has passed hands through our Marketplace. According to the specific item information, it was listed as a “mega-rare collectible. Unplayed, Mint Condition. Numbered 02 / 20. Contains info sheet, signed record, signed art print [plus CD].”
“The individual who made the purchase must have had some kind of special connection to the work too. There was a buzz around the record in 2008,” Scaramanga Silk explains. “It means a lot that Choose Your Weapon is so special to somebody.”
For a deeper dive into Choose Your Weapon and a chat with the artist, head here. If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of his work, Designer Scribble currently goes for a much more reasonable price.
The Black Album has a pretty cool backstory and one that makes the high price tags attached to this work a little easer to understand. The album, originally referred to as The Funk Bible, was slated for release in late 1987. The initial marketing and design were intentionally elusive — no title, no credits, nothing.
However, right before the drop, Prince demanded that the record be pulled and destroyed. He was convinced it was “evil.” Some of the promotional copies were already in circulation, though, which is why these promos are so wildly coveted. Another promo copy from the United States sold for $15,000, which rests at No. 6 on our most-expensive list. However, someone paid nearly double the price for this uncirculated, sealed LP part of the otherwise-destroyed Canadian production run that was saved by a pressing plant employee at the last minute.
This Canadian copy of The Black Album took the top spot as the most expensive item on Discogs and stayed there for over two years until Choose Your Weapon came along. Prince released the album in 1999 — for real this time — so you can get your hands on a non-exorbitant version.
“Love Me Do” was the debut single of the Beatles. But this isn’t just any old 7-inch. It’s a promotional copy of the release from the United Kingdom — likely the first time the song was pressed on vinyl. However, the actual tune had existed in some way or another since the late-1950s. According to band lore, it was written by Paul McCartney and tweaked by John Lennon, so it’s among the first Lennon-McCartney credits.
Take a closer look at the label on both sides of the record and you’ll notice a serious misspelling: Lennon-McArtney.
Like unique vinyl colors or exclusive album art, misprints are also sought-after by hardcore collectors due to their limited nature. We know a lot more about the value of Love Me Do because this promo copy has exchanged hands on Discogs a few times. The release originally sold for about $1,300 in 2015 and most recently for $9,700. The price has fluctuated a bit, but the highest it’s reached is $15,000.