We all dream of finding that “holy grail” record in a charity shop, whether it’s the Gold Label Parlophone stereo “Please Please Me” debut by The Beatles, the withdrawn “Freewheelin” by Bob Dylan or The Sex Pistols “God Save The Queen” pressed on A&M records, the truth is it’s unlikely to even see one, let alone afford one. So when you see the “Vinyl Chalice” gleaming at you on eBay, don’t forget the PT Barnum mantra “There’s a sucker, born every minute.”
First of all let me be clear about what a fake/counterfeit record is. It’s not a “bootleg” record; these are generally unreleased, alternate or live material, one of the early examples being Dylan’s “Great White Wonder” which was Dylan’s versions of his songs released by other artists. These generally came with a rubber stamped sleeve, hence the homage artwork for the Who’s “Live At Leeds”. I also have a private pressing of Graham Gouldman’s first solo album, this was sold as a private pressing and in no way even tries to look like the rare original, the intention of this release was to provide a vinyl release of this rare LP, whereas a counterfeiter is trying to swindle you out of your hard earned cash.
Fake records are nothing new, Introducing The Beatles LP on Vee Jay, originally pressed in the US in 1964 has been counterfeited so much that there are now more fakes than originals. With the growing popularity of vinyl records over the past five years, fakes are turning up more and more.
Daily Express – Sept 2013
A warning was issued to buyers in a report yesterday after thousands of disc copies featuring performers including Led Zeppelin, the Clash and David Bowie were seized in raids.
Around 1,500 counterfeit vinyl records that, if genuine would be worth up to £20,000, were seized by investigators at a house in Borehamwood, Herts.
Crooks mainly target collectors in search of singles and LPs typically more than 20 years old. However, some current artists are now also issuing limited edition vinyl records.
In another raid, more than 4,000 allegedly original discs by Eminem, Michael Jackson, and Madonna were seized in Birmingham.
They had been advertised as “rare” at prices up to £99.
The good old “rare” standard on eBay, it’s a word worn smooth by a million keyboards. The good news is there are online resources to check what you are handing your money over for is kosher. For instance, if you are looking at getting an original Brunswick copy of The Who’s My Generation, there are some details and comparisons on the wonderful White Fang site here http://www.thewho.info/MyGeneration3.htm
However, just because someone puts up pictures of the genuine article that doesn’t guarantee that’s what you will receive in the post. Check who you are buying from and what feedback they have received. If you are buying in a shop take a close look at the cover, is it good quality printing or a photocopy. Check the record itself, bearing in mind the time it was supposedly manufactured is it consistent with the time period, is the disc label good quality of a cheap knock off.
This is becoming a larger problem of (which I’ve barelyscratched the surface of) that’s doesn’t just catch out fresh faced collectors, a few months ago I heard about a dealer who thought they had got their hands on a sealed album manufactured in 1975, paid $80 for it and had failed to notice it had a bar code on it.
Here are some useful resources web resources for finding out more information about your vinyl desires.
Discogs - http://www.discogs.com
Steve Hoffman Forums http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/forums/ebay-watch/
Keep ‘em peeled folks.