We Love Rare Vinyl, and These are the 11 Rarest in the World

Just take those old records off the shelf, I’ll sit and listen to ’em by myself. Today’s music ain’t got the same soul– as a recording on a 78 vinyl record! We are in the middle of a vinyl renaissance. Records have made a real comeback, with many insisting music simply sounds better when it’s played on a turntable (and there is real proof that it does).

While it may be easy to get this year’s Grammy nominees on vinyl from a big box store, some older records are difficult to come by– and by difficult, we mean darn near impossible. Some were created as a limited release, while others are discontinued misprints, and still, others are just plain old. You may be lucky enough to stumble upon a truly valuable record at a thrift store, but most of our list can only be found at auction. Below are some of the rarest records in the world.

David Bowie: Space Oddity/Wild Eyed Boy

Ground control to Major Tom: we found your next big payday. David Bowie might be a ubiquitous source of inspiration to many musicians, but this version of his vinyl has only inspired a few select people. As far as we know, there are only two or three copies of the unreleased picture sleeve version of the Space Oddity/Wild Eyed Boy single in existence. Expect to pay around $4000 for this piece of Ziggy Stardust history, and don’t let them see the madness in your eyes when you go looking for it.

John’s Children: Midsummer Night’s Scene/Sara Crazy Child

In the mood for some groovy mod music? Owning this vinyl record is pretty much a midsummer night’s dream. Prepare to pay $5500 for this far-out single. For unknown reasons, John’s Children never released this vinyl recorded in 1967, making it extremely rare. Don’t expect to find it easily, as most who got their hands on it don’t plan to part with their copy.

Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody/I’m In Love With My Car

Sure, you can find Queen pretty easily on vinyl. But we can pretty safely bet it won’t be this super special variant created for a SWAG bag in 1978. If you ever run across a copy, you’ll be whispering “is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”–  and then you’ll shell out at least $7000 for the chance to add this rare vinyl to your collection.

The Rolling Stones: Street Fighting Man / No Expectations

This album cover feels like it was here and then it’s gone. As far as we know, only 10-20 copies exist of the U.S. picture sleeve version because the powers that be deemed the cover “too controversial.” You just can’t get no satisfaction without paying between $7,000 and $17,500 for this scarce and contentious vinyl.

U2: All I Want Is You

Any fan could get their little hands on U2’s single, “All I Want Is You.” However, Australia made a little mistake in production. They misprinted a version of this record, and only 3-5 copies are known to exist of this rare vinyl. But despite all the promises we make, from the cradle to the grave, when all you want is this rare vinyl, expect to pay between $2,500-$10,000 to add it to your collection!

The Sex Pistols: God Save The Queen

It doesn’t get any more rock n’ roll than getting kicked off your label after six short days! Only nine copies of God Save The Queen with the original sleeve by A&M records still exist. All other copies were destroyed before they saw the light of day. Don’t be told what you want, don’t be told what you need, but if you choose to own this rare vinyl you’ll have to pay somewhere between $10,000-$20,000.

Five Sharps: Stormy Weather / Sleepy Cowboy

Doo-wop you want one? Vinyl records may be expensive, but we bet you wouldn’t object to stumbling across this exceedingly rare vinyl. Released in 1952, only three known copies are said to exist. You can expect to pay $10,000-$20,000 to add it to your collection, too. Since we can’t get our hands on this vinyl, it feels like it’s rainin’ all the time.

Bob Dylan: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Don’t think twice, it’s alright– if you haven’t heard of this rare vinyl. Before he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Bob Dylan released a little known US-only version of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Not only is this record rare, it contains even more rare versions of four songs. So, how many roads must a man walk down, before he can afford this rare vinyl? The answer my friend is $35,000.

Elvis Presley: My Happiness

We want to say “thank you, thank you very much” to rock star Jack White for buying this Sun Studios recording in 2015. Thanks to him we know what this incredibly rare vinyl is worth. Money can’t buy us happiness, but apparently it can buy you a copy of My Happiness! White spent $300,000 for this uber rare recording of the King before he became an international superstar.

The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album)

You won’t find this rare vinyl in a field of grass. This truly is a unique, one of a kind, exclusive, and singular album if there ever was one: the White Album serial number 0000001. Original owner Ringo Starr sold the record for an astounding $790,000 in 2015. Our jealousy for the new owner knows no bounds.

Wu-Tang Clan: Once Upon a Time In Shaolin

This rare vinyl is the holy grail of rare collector’s items. The Wu-Tang Clan decided to make a literal one-of-a-kind record. They only produced one copy, and they will only ever produce one copy. It was placed inside a nickel and silver box and sold at auction to the highest bidder. The clan was trying to make a bit of extra money in an industry where many music lovers aren’t investing like they used to. However, the plan backfired. Martin Shkreli (aka the Pharma Bro who just went to prison for 7 years) bought the album for $2,000,000 — the highest paid price EVER for a vinyl.

Shkreli attempted to sell the record on eBay during his trial (but it is uncertain if he succeeded) and from his own words, he never listened to it closely (this hurts our souls). What will happen to the one-of-a-kind vinyl now? Well, the courts want to seize and maybe sell it as part of the damages he owes. It is possible someone will finally have the chance to truly appreciate this incredibly rare vinyl – and we hope it’s us!

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Written by Gemr
Gemr is the leading platform for collectors to discover, display, discuss, and buy & sell collectibles. Sometimes our team gets chummy and decides to write a blog together. Or maybe someone wants to keep their identity a secret. Pick which option you like best and we'll just say that's correct.