Auction News

BBC rare records set for auction sale


6 copies of The Beatles first album Please Please Me with notes that are stored in the BBC's archives.
Image courtesy of Omega Auctions.

The BBC is set to auction off thousands of rare vinyl records, including gems from David Bowie, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and more. The auction will see over 400 lots go under the hammer over the next 18 months, starting on January 30.

While the records being sold are mainly duplicates already found in the BBC’s extensive archives, vinyl enthusiasts will still have the chance to get their hands on some highly sought-after and historic pressings.

Among the most notable items are original UK pressings of David Bowie’s self-titled 1969 album and 1970’s The Man Who Sold The World, complete with rare covers.

Maida Vale studios, the BBC recording facility that forges a direct link between the Corporation and many of the world’s most important recording artists. Image by Megalit/Wikimedia

Six LP copies of the Beatles’ ‘Please Please Me’ are also up for grabs and will certainly attract bidding competition.

Other highlights include original pressings from labels like Decca, Polydor, and Columbia, spanning genres from rock and pop to jazz, reggae and classical. Some non-vinyl lots are also listed, such as vintage BBC TVs, microphones and recording consoles.

“This does not constitute the entirety of the BBC’s vinyl archive which is very much still intact. This is largely the duplicate copies of LPs – so that collection can be moved and better stored for the future,” said the auctioneers.

With bids already exceeding the £100-£150 estimates on many lots, competition is likely to be fierce. The first auction starts on January 30 at 9am, with viewing already open.

There has been a boom in vinyl sales in recent years. Many music fans are reacting to digital streaming by demanding the biggest and most physical music format, very often in collectible special editions that add attraction to what some connoisseurs say is the best sound quality.

Original vinyl may be collectible, as many of these issues are.

As with every potentially collectible medium, errors (The Beatles famously withdrawn Yesterday and Today “Butcher Sleeve for example), autographed records (a Sgt Pepper album signed by all-four Beatles sold for £190,000 in 2013), or albums with a particular connection to an artist (like Ringo Starr’s own copy of the White Album that sold for $790,000 in 2015) may transcend their musical content in value and desirability.

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