Rare records and CDs for sale

Rare and collectable vinyl records, LPs, CDs, tapes and music memorabilia


record label designs

Record collectors will almost always pay a very substantial premium for a first press copy of a record, so being able to date the pressing accurately is vital when assessing its value. Whilst a rare early pressing may sometimes have a value of hundreds if not thousands of pounds, a later pressing of what can seem to the novice to be exactly the same record may be worth only pennies.

The most common mistake made when trying to date the pressing of a vinyl record is to look at the date on the record label. This is the date the recorded work was first produced, the 'production date', not the date of the actual pressing. The production date will be same on every release of the record, over a period that may span 50 years or more.
HMV ASD series white/gold Decca SXL series wide band Columbia SAX series blue/silver
RCA Victrola series pink HMV Angel series yellow/black Philips AL/ABL series maroon
The only certain way to date the pressing of a record with any reasonable accuracy is by studying the design of the record label itself. All the major record companies changed their label designs periodically and many of the major changes, together with dates where known are shown on the following pages. It is also worth noting that an additional guide to the dates of EMI (Columbia, HMV, Parlophone, Mercury, MGM etc), Decca (Coral, London, RCA etc), Philips and Polydor pressings can be the 'Purchase Tax Code'. This is usually a one or two letter code (KT, ET etc) either embossed on the record near the spindle hole, printed on the record labels, or stamped in the dead wax area. Decca labels often show this as K/T, E/T etc

Within each record label series there can also be many smaller variations in design that can also radically affect the value of a record to a collector. Record label design in general really warrants its own web site and there are many collectors out there specialising in specific labels. Notable amongst these is our friend Yuri Grishin for his excellent work on the Island, Harvest, Vertigo and Charisma labels. Although the Island and Harvest ones are now out of print, Yuri's beautifully produced books are still well worth searching out if you can find them.

Our guide to many of the most collectable labels shows the often subtle differences that should enable you to date the pressing of a record. We're always adding new variations and labels so if you can add or correct any information please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Popular LPs
  • Mono
    • Island ILP series
    • Parlophone PMC series
    • Columbia (33)SX series
  • Stereo/Quadraphonic
    • Island ILPS series
    • Harvest
    • Charisma
    • Vertigo
    • Parlophone PCS series
    • Columbia SCX series
Classical LPs
Pop 45s and EPs
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Buying and selling vinyl LPs, 45s, EPs, CDs, tapes, music memorabilia, and other rare and collectable vinyl records.