Original Pressings Info
DON'T GET CAUGHT OUT! Learn Your Vinyl Originals...
Record Info & Contract Press pages: Original research, photos of our records & text ©2004-2014 by select45rpm.
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Beware Of Fakes, Repros & Fantasy Items of Money Items.
Buying Vinyl today, or anything that makes more money than most similar items, you really do need to be sure you are actually buying the Original if you are paying a price that the Original would command. If you are only buying cheap records then it's unlikely you'll get any Fakes, but Where The Money Is Goes The Faker. The amount of genuine reissues on different labels and numbers is also mixed with a large amount of "repros" that are now over 30 years old looking very similar to the real item, which are unlicensed bootlegs. Also the amount of new Bootleg copies of rare 45s available seems to grow every week & the copyright owners aren't doing anything about it, so more are to come from varied sources. Some Official Licensed reissues may confuse too, so look for text on the label to show they are. Only Comparing to known Real Ones will teach you. To the experienced buyer these stand out obviously as "repros" but you have to learn to spot real from repro without wasting money when other bids may hint at an item being more than it is, and the Sheep Effect gains more bidders who think if others bid it must be right. Those other bidders may not really exist however. One seller of obvious (to us) Fake Beatles Demos relists them for the third time in late Nov 2013 after getting lots of bids on the previous outings, enough to trap the unwary & be sure one will sell as an Xmas Gift to an unwary buyer. Only proves ebay don't care, so only you can safeguard your money from these parasites with fake items.
The record companies have no interest in reissuing these items to such a small market, as in under 1000 copies, so the bootleggers take over and as long as buyers know what they are, there should be no problem. Been going on since the late 1960s as Record Collecting grew & even decades before as some tried to take sales away from new product with odd bootlegs of chart items in early 1950s USA. Ebay sellers who from their feedback are clearly not dealers are getting £20-70+ for these early 70s R&B and Rock & Roll bootlegs from buyers unaware of what they are really buying. Of course, some reissues do make a collectors price and are known as such and openly sold as re-issues, repros, 2nd issues or whatever term to describe unofficial product that is not "the real deal". Read on & learn how not to be a sucker like others sadly get caught.
Items that get Faked in any collectable scene are items that the Originals are worth over £100 or are items there is a demand for, some of the 1960s Beat repros were under £100 on originals, but scrarce enough to be wanted.
The Only Way To Learn Is By Comparison
See & handle a lot of real original records. Records aren't as around 'on the street' as much as they used to be, the easiest place is likely a car boot sale just to find some junk 45s to learn from. A typical rare item, eg a £300 50s London was issued amid Pat Boone records or a Major Lance Columbia was amid Ken Dodd 45s, so buy a cheap handful of those & see what they are like. But you're not going to find many pre 1956 Sun 45s to compare your Elvis too & confusingly each one looks different & had variations in pressing! 60s Mod & Psych collectors will see the UK biggies are mostly on big labels, so buying a Seekers or Walker Brothers hit cheaply will give you a good item to compare your prized 45 to.
Use Our Record Listings Pages
as a Reliable Reference to see what Original Records look like. We photo all our Stock out of the sleeve. Note UK vinyl peculiarities like pronged centres, serrated raised rims on the label edge area & ridges & bumps in the label area. There are very few sellers who photo out of sleeves & our photo technique gives a good 3D idea of what the vinyl looks like, especially on the darker labels.
The problem for buyers is those new "repros" & similar...
They were and are still usually openly sold as repros when new to those who are into the music styles. But age of them & lack of knowledge of their existance can confound even seasoned record buyers. The early repros from the early 70s of Rock & Roll & Doowop may now be aged looking as nearly 40 years old when the original is just 50 years old. But a repro is worth a fiver unless there is demand for it & it's an early one. Big profits too: costs under £1 each to press a few hundred copies with no royalties to pay. You as the buyer will likely get stung by buying a repro at some time, especially the Northern Soul scene where 95% of copies of Gloria Jones 'Tainted Love' (origs are on styrene with black labels & a Delta number) and also Coasters 'Crazy Baby' (origs always have the AT notation on the vinyl & can be either thick vinyl or styrene). But if you are happy with a repro, and most are of good sound quality, then don't just avoid them because they are unofficial. The LP market is similar, but as card covers are involved, the cheaper quality & lack of age smell on a supposed 30+ year old LP gives them away. There is even a strange USA-looking repro of a UK London Skyliners track, which must be from 1979 when Art Garfunkel had a hit with 'Since I Don't Have You'. Other odd USA-looking repros of UK items are the Davy Jones & King Bees Vocalion & oddly the Southlanders on Decca.
"Replica" and Fake Records
This is getting a bit too much now. One "Top Rated Seller" on ebay makes up Fake Demo Labels & sticks them on the Original Vinyl. £12+ for a 10p print out & a 25p scratchy record! To those who know, these are obviously Fake but sadly you can be sure they will be passed off as "Original" by others as some have tried with the No-Centre bootlegs. Odds are a person buying one of these now or later will never be a collector but want a "Rarity" on the cheap and never research what they are buying. All we can say is read this page carefully & look at our Record Sales Pictures simply as an idea of what the Original Vintage Vinyl looks like. Why would anybody want these things? They are Rubbish. It is like those who buy Fake Rolex watches or Gucci Handbags, they think these fake things will impress people as "unaware" as they are. You can hear people in the Future saying "It has a serrated edge & the stamper numbers like the regular issue, it's worth a fortune!" But naturally only those unaware of a proper Demo label, as these are Fakes are basically copying one, will not realise the Original Demo Labels were Pressed Into The Vinyl, not stuck on. Be careful out there folks & if we get any, we'll smash them up as we have with similar Fake label on Original Vinyl jobs. There are even Fake Beatles Polydor Demos that use a Demo label from 1965 on 1962-64. Now we had a genuine Polydor demo of 'Ain't She Sweet' & another 1963 Polydor demo, so we know what they should look like. Nothing like the fakes. Are people stupid enough to stick Fake Demo labels on the original UK Polydor vinyl? Seems unlikely. It leads sadly to Fakes being offered as Genuine to more casual buyers after a Historical Collectable, not real record collectors. They'll be conned...
Fake Scanned Rare Labels on Real but Common Records
We saw some very obvious ones on ebay from a seller in 2013. Beatles Abbey Road Export LP & a few Beatles Demos. All Fake scanned labels stuck onto common original vinyl. UK EMI labels are pressed with the vinyl, not glued on! The Abbey Road was hand cut & easy to spot it was fake, but sadly bidders only "see a bargain" and some gullible fool paid £500+ for it! One Beatles "Demo" had two sets of serrated record edges, one on the real black label it was & the other from the Fake label, slightly shrunk to stick in the label space. EMI Demos usually have bigger labels that go beyond the serrated edge. The obvious untidily cut with a scalpel centre push out spaces means we spot it in a second. Yet if they were real they'd make high prices. Sadly the fakes "sold" for £275 to £500. All hidden under Private listings which usually means fake bids to give it an air of authenticity. They had a Fake Stones Come On Demo too & got £250+ for it. Ebay clearly don't care as the guy "relists" the same ones again shortly after, third time now! So why bother reporting the fakes? If you have £100s to spend on Beatles Demos, do yourself a favour & have a good look at all our label photos of other EMI Demos to see what a real one looks like. Another Fake with bids over £100 was Beatles 'From Me To You' typical UK vinyl with a Fake 'Dick James Music' demo label on. How exiting! How FAKE! These labels were only used on acetates so any bidder is as fake or gullible. It's annoying perhaps, but unlikely there are any real bidders (we hope). One seller of Billy Fury items had a batch of perfectly genuine Demos & Acetates, but we spotted one faked up Demo amid the real items. It sold...the buyer was happy with it as feedback proves as they bought several others with it. Oh well. Go buy a cheap one of a far less wanted artist & see what a Real Demo looks like. Beyond that, you are really on your own... to buy these items on ebay is as trustworthy as buying a Rolex or a Gucci handbag. Well faked up.
Fantasy Records Of Major Artists
We saw with Coins years ago that High Value items were being recreated & sold as Replicas. It's just how any market is & be sure many unaware buyers have bought non-Original items. Fantasy Items means an item that never existed but is faked up to appear Original amid other items. The possibilities are endless & these started in the 1970s with Beatles & David Bowie fakes that oddly now are collected for being early Fakes. But to the collector, they know exactly what they are.
Style of Matrix Numbers...
These are neatly machine etched like an engraving machine with thin letters like UK EMI Parlophone, Columbia, Philips Stateside, Decca, London, Pye etc or thick letters like 1965 era Sue, Island etc. USA vinyl is similar. Some are stamped like Philips, Fontana etc. There is usually a style that is typical to the era, eg Island started with Stamped numbers in 1962, they were thick machine etched in 1964, the 1966-68 white reggae series were thin machine etched & the pink 1967 era onwards were machine stamped. The number in the run out area usually relates to a matrix number on the vinyl. But to understand this, buy a box of cheap 50s & 60s vinyl and learn what there is. Some matrix numbers show in our Record Sales photos as we photo out of the sleeve. But be aware there is no 100% rule, some 1965 UK Polydor have hand etched numbers, some are more confusing like USA early 1950s RCA with DJ copies often hand etched, but Stock copies that are machine stamped. Many post 1970 UK records are handwritten, eg Pye changed from machine etched to handwritten in the early 1970s. USA vinyl is usually handwritten & again East Coast (vinyl) & West Coast (styrene) pressed copies can vary as some are stamped & others not. Only by seeing original vinyl of 'worthless' artists on a similar era label will you be able to tell all the signs an item is real or not. If you are buying Demos of name artists as artifacts, be sure 9/10 Beatles Demos on ebay in 2013 are fake, though no-one will fake a Ken Dodd demo, so buy one to see what it looks like.
We know UK & USA vinyl exceedingly well
and can spot reissues & later pressings with ease. We collected USA vinyl in several genres at one time so are aware of those that got reissued or bootlegged. You can be sure we can tell it's an Original!
Some records issued in the 1950s-1960s were still on catalog until the early 1990s!
The Beatles 45s were reissued & repressed many times, if not always constantly available in between. These records were repressed with the style of label etc that was the standard at the time of repress. A 4th pressing of an LP is often sold as an Original, just like in books certain 1940s Annuals with ISBN codes are sold as originals, but ISBN codes only began in 1966. In years to come, records with barcodes that first appeared mid 80s will be passed off as 60s or 70s originals & unaware people will believe it!
Also, any seller raving about "First Pressing" of a record that had no other different pressing or even says "Rare Deleted" is playing the ebay BS game. Not even the Beatles singles can be bought on 7" vinyl today from a record shop, they were last issued in the early 90s. Therefore any record is Deleted as you cannot find it in it's original format with the same catalog number. You may find a CD or MP3 download of it.
HINTS TO HELP SPOT REISSUES REPROS & BOOTLEGS
like any sweeping statements there will be exceptions, but this will help weed out fake 45s & even LPs. A fake or repro 45 of any track is worth £6-10 unless that repro itself has got established as a collectable in it's own right, ie the "issued 1973" dated Mariano 1950s R&R and R&B USA 45s & plenty of Northern Soul. Only you can decide what a non genuine item is worth. No Bootleg or 'Repro' is worth more than £6-8 unless there is a known collector demand for the Repro. Azie Lawrence new bootleg for £30 is an insult! Some late 1960s-early 1970s bootlegs of Soul & Rockabilly are now collected in their own right, especially if the original is unfindable & usually highly priced.
The biggest problem with this is the fact "1st pressing" is used at random
to describe any record some amateur has: eg 1954 London Slim Whitman on round centre with a silver top could be a 6th pressing, yet it'll still be called a "rare 1st pressing". Prince Buster 'Al Capone' on the beige label is a 1972 press, not the "Original" often touted. Most issues are on dark blue, but with it being a 1965 record belatedly becoming a chart hit in 1967, only an expert can pick out the 1st 1965 press from the 1967 one! Similar with The Skatalites 'Guns Of Navarone'.
The LP market is much worse, such apparently meaningless minutae like EMI box on certain LPs means treasure or tenner. Books, littered with inaccuracies, are being accepted as the truth & making a vibrant market into a confused one. To see what should be the first press is easy with 45s as the label can easily be seen, but with LPs, you maybe only see the cover, glared out with a bad flash photo. Compare & Contrast is the key.
Fake Demo Labels Stuck On Original Vinyl!
There was a batch of these done by one person in the late 1990s & now others are selling these on ebay which we find unacceptable. They got original common vinyl by big Names, ie Beatles, Stones, Billy Fury etc and scanned up real demo labels from other less valuable records. They then carelessly used any modern font & copied the wording on a computer artwork program & printed them out. They then stuck them onto the original vinyl & used a scalpel to cut out the push out centre area & centre hole. This is the big giveaway: know the Font used, know UK Demos generally have labels pressed with the vinyl & know the dodgy cut-out of the centre holes. If we ever get any we smash them up so they are gone, but sadly these are still around & one creep on ebay got some idiot to pay £100 for a fake Beatles PPM "demo". Buyers of these items want an artifact & know sod all about vinyl & sadly are the victims of their own lack of knowledge. We knew one guy who bought some from this seller when it was just starting & his scam was to price a £100 demo for £30, so the gullible-greedy buyer would jump at such a big bargain & not bother to check what the item really was. Naturally only inexperienced buyers would fall for it & this person is still active on ebay. If a UK Demo has an official "Not For Sale" white label with the Label name it will be pressed with the vinyl always. The only exception were UK MGM who done odd Demos with basic details printed on the White demo label & then had Pink MGM demo labels glued over. As these often come loose, look under & you'll see the basic one.
The likelihood of EMI using a Microgroove Test Record label as a Demo, a 1950s design first used as early as 1952, is highly unlikely, though we've had a genuine 1968 one, it was pressed with the vinyl & a very minor artist too, a £5 record as-was. These labels are Handwritten, it's a test pressing & would be for EMI in-house use, so they are always handwritten. The B sides were left blank making creating a fake one easy. One dubious 'major artist' one, highly tempting to some buyers, but with unfeasible perfectly typed details we saw making £400+ is a worry. From the photo, it's glued on for sure, so no chance in a million it's real, though the vinyl is going to be. They could see if it was genuine the GRAMOPHLTD code would be 'G' or 'JR' but no doubt it's much later. You can also hold it up to the light & maybe see the 4 pronged centre shining through. We used to try to help in the days when you could contact easier on ebay, but if buyer & seller are happy, sadly as with any obvious fakes to those more knowledgeable, there is little point telling a seller about to get a tidy sum & the buyer getting what they see as a unique item. Until other fakes turn up or they show it to someone who knows the deal.
The fact the label is Typewriiten or Handwritten is no clue at all to tell if a Test Press or Acetate is genuine. Faked Demo labels we've seen with Typewritten labels, but think how easy it is to buy a Typewriter, there are tons of them around.
Also, we've had 1967-72 Polydor vinyl records with Emidisc labels on to use the paper as a Test Press-Demo, but are 100% genuine. The reggae label 'Fab' in about 1971 is found with similar type labels stuck over the dark blue labels. There are no 100% rules. It takes an expert to be able to spot every fake & we've seen some that are questionable simply as what we see could easily be faked & would find it hard to convince a buyer, eg those odd Apple Demos of certain Beatles 45s that we won't describe further as they are a bit too easy. The real ones even look very dodgy, but again experience will pick the real from the fake. Fakes are only on Money items though, remember that rule. UK vinyl to us is easy to spot a fake, USA vinyl for the huge variations in even the 5 Elvis 'Sun' 45s is a lot harder.
were never used before 1983 on records. Fax numbers were new in the 1980s & website names in the later 1990s.
Modern 1970s-90s Jamaican pressings
of classic Studio One tracks look aged as they are poorly pressed on old equipment. The 'noise' on these repressings is actually from using the corroded copper plates raw, rather than preparing them first. The vinyl itself is not the noisy part, the noise is gaps in the record surface the verdigris (green copper rust) that the humidity creates on the copper.
The amount of later Reggae Jamaican pressings being stated to be original is alarming! A crisp yellow label pressing with no printed record number of a 1966 track, despite looking old & having a song on the B side, not just a 'Version', is actually a mid-late 1970s press. Nearly any pre 1970 record with 'Version' or 'Dub' on the B side will not be a 1960s original, these started in 1969 with Studio One. Early 'Versions' as found on 1970-71 UK issues are usually titled longer names to hide their 'Version' status, or instrumental mix as they are to non-reggaeites. 1960s Studio One originals are nicely pressed items with varied label colours, there are plenty of repressings from the early 1970s onward that look older. Having said that, we found a mint 'Skaravan' Top Deck with a 70s JA ink Shop Rubber Stamp on it amid a batch of 70s reissues, but it was actually a £400 original! He Who Knows It Feels It.
Old Reissues & Bootlegs
This is a Minefield too. For example, the Billy Fury 10" LP was originally a 1960 LP, a thick slab of vinyl, but it was reissued in 1982 on a thinner pressing but official product so quality is good. Many will think their 31 years old one if not so new looking is real. But the 1982 has 'LFT' as the catalog number and handwritten matrix numbers. The original has 'LF' and is machine stamped. Then Elvis 10" LPs were repressed in France as sort of bootlegs too: the Janis & Elvis one you see forever relisted at a high price on ebay is one of these, there is a HMV Best Of Elvis too. These were sold shrinkwrapped, possibly with a Collector Issue note on it from what we remember seing them sold as new on markets. Then there are more modern nasty fakes of Beatles Gold Please Please Me that will trap the unwary. Again, only Money items are faked. Buying on ebay is not safe for the Artifact Buyer who doesn't know enough about Vinyl. Be sure, unless you buy from a dealer who has plenty of Old Vinyl, that your £100-£500 "Bargain" when they are £1000 from others is a Fake. There are Fakes in any area of Collecting where Money Items are involved. Even in Hifi, you'd think no-one would Fake an Amplifier, but there are Official Collector's Editions of Quad, Marantz & McIntosh as well as others possibly, but these are prestige items, but still the buyer may think they are getting a Vintage 1960s one. Learn your Subject.
Stamped Matrix Numbers
To say all USA records with them are original is wrong, as is saying all ZTSP with handwritten ones are fake. Early 50s RCA promos had handwritten matrixes whist the issues had stamped ones. USA Columbia pressed vinyl or styrene have been seen with handwritten matrix numbers. 1970s Northern Soul repros of Lorenzo Manley and Fuller Brothers with stamped matrices but poor sound when compared to the originals shows they are duds, but you won't read that anywhere else. The Lorenzo one cut lower & much duller sounding is always passed off as an original!
Er, what is a Matrix Number?
All well us saying these things, but what is a Matrix Number? It is a number-letter code on the vinyl in the gap between the end of the music grooves & the label edge. The term used for this space that has a spiral groove to activate an autochanger is 'Dead Wax' from the days of early 78s, or 'Run Out Area' for other folks. Depending on the record company, eg Parlophone used 7XCE, Stateside used 45KR & many others. The Matrix number is noted on the label too, eg Parlophone R5200 which is Beatles 'I Feel Fine' has the Catalog number "R 5200" on the right of the label and "7XCE 18171" on the left. The number stamped in the vinyl is "7XCE 18171-1N". Looking at the record, assuming the matrix number is at the bottom, to the left at 9 o'clock position is "KT" and a number, to the right at the 3 o'clock position will be a code from the GRAMOPHLTD letters relating to a number 1-9 & 0, eg R is 2. Depending on how many copies sold & how late your pressing is. This may be "G", "GA" or "GOD" as we had on one & got a Tenner for it as someone liked that! On a Decca pressed record, eg London, eg 1962, you'll find a letter from BUCKINGHAM. If a Decca pressing has "BH" in one line it is the 18th one, if it has "B" with "H" below, ignore the H and it's the 1st. Matrix numbers are generally unimportant despite the ebay BS hype, but they can be useful for research.
Serrated Edge to the Label
Similarly the presence of this doesn't always mean the same either! This serrated 'grip' edge began on UK vinyl in early 1957 because popular & cheap record players at the time until the mid 80s were autochangers where you stacked up records & played up to 8 records in one go, like a jukebox. From Dansettes to flimsy BSR turntables, the autochanger was rife. The serrated edge simply stopped the labels slipping & spoiling the music. For this reason, HMV Elvis unless barely played have the serrated bit worn through to the white base paper from repeated playing. To confuse the issue, you find some USA records with serrated edges, not many, but look at USA Capitol pressings from 1968-70s & they have this & so do a few originally USA-only Northern Soul repros pressed in the UK in the 70s, eg the Tommy Navarro one. Several other countries adopted the serrated edge, from Singapore and Holland to India. Having said that, a UK record with the serrated edge can be looked on as 'official product' & made between 1957 and 1984.
Made In Great Britain
The presence of this or not is no clue to originality as many UK pressings are only recognisable as UK pressings by other features as often no country is stated. Non UK pressed repros can still copy this text making confusion.
is more for LP and EP buyers. Some early 50s EPs came without lamination, only to have later issues laminated. Lamination is a thin layer of plastic film attached permanently to usually only the front of a record sleeve to protect it. As years age the earliest ones, the glue has gone hard & the lamination starts to crack & peel. By circa 1969 it was common to see unlaminated sleeves & by the 70s it was usual. See all the paper tears top right corner from careless sticker removal! Some earlier unlaminated UK ones had an odd varnish type covering, meaning if you remove dry tape marks with meths, off comes the printing too! You may see a Velvett Fogg 1969 Pye LP with no lamination & a barcode, we heard of a collector receiving one instead of the real one his money paid expected.
This one relates to LPs mainly. Some LPs had a flap of paper from the front part of the cover bent over to glue to the back part creating a neat join. These are called flipback sleeves. The Decca pressed ones to about 1961 had a curved section cut out, to accomadate the shape of the vinyl put in the cover. After that it was just a plain strip. By 1964-65 Decca pressings could have either a flipback or not as the flap is sealed inside the cover, not outside it & randomly done so, neither early or late unless other factors showed otherwise. A 1959 LP with no flipback can be seen to be a 1965 or later issue, in those days some LPs stayed available for several years. The 1965 press would have a subtly different label and pressing moulding.
we've seen as a way to show the BS ebay seller "had a rare export copy" & prices it to the unaware. Again look at a large amount of UK vinyl covering 50s to 70s, and you'll see many EMI & Decca pressed records often showing these letters. All it means is the record "could" be exported to eg Holland & be official product, based on specific copyright terms. The fact it was sold in the UK means it's not a proper Export, only those with alternate catalog numbers or different B sides are proper exports. Cliff's "Gee Whizz It's You" was an export issue, as the catalog number shows, but it was also sold in the UK as it made the Top 10, despite not being an official UK release.
Push out or solid centres
All UK 45s from 1953 to 1980s have either with small LP-size centre holes, obvious exceptions are 1953 EMI, 1967-73 Polydor & early 50s Decca exports, or those 1967 on that have been 'dinked' for a jukebox, as they were made with a solid centre: either roughly by a hand tool or by a machine. UK record centres: Decca used a triangle centre from 1954 to 1960. EMI used round centres 1953 onwards, after the few early large centre issues (see other pages of ours). All other labels used a 3-prong or 4-prong round centre that could be removed for jukeboxes or the early USA record players. There are also the "jigsaw" removable-replaceable centres too, see another page of ours - '50s Odd Centres'. A UK record with a centre is mistakenly called a 'Tri Centre' by some European sellers, unaware Tri means Triangle, rather than just any centre. A restuck centre, often found with Tri Centres is only worth the same as a NO CENTRE record (or less if it was messily glued), ie 25%-75% of the with-centre copy. Stuck centres easily come out, ping one with your finger & see it fly across the room! Then put an adaptor in instead.
USA record with a solid centre
maybe viewed with suspicion, as the general style of centre is the large jukebox middle. Not so, USA Columbia introduced a failed attempt to compete with RCA's 45rpm with their 33rpm 7", see the Tri Centres page for photos. Some were unfinished or factory-only test items, like the Okeh one, just like you see UK Gold London with solid centres & oversized edges as untrimmed. You still see UK sellers saying a USA record is a NOC or 'no original centre', clearly unaware of the history of the 45. The 33rpm Jukebox single from the early 60s with or without the thick card & mini cover slicks is another example. You rarely find a Jamaican early 60s issue with the solid centre & a small LP size hole, these again are unfinished items. Slade on 1970s Polydor are found as USA pressings with UK numbers & solid centres. In the 1973-74 era with all the problems, contract pressings & imported contract pressings are numerous, to the point some hits on the first press are USA import only, like David Bowie with Rebel Rebel, see elsewhere on our site.
3 or 4 prong centres
The presence of a proper one that is "real", not just a printed part of the label design, means it is a genuine item, though it may be a much later pressing. Cutting out the area to make the centre a push-out one appears to be very expensive, so bootleggers don't bother. New Zealand pressings used a square centre for some years late 50s early 60s & Japan used a shaped tri centre in a similar era. But again, a few modern reissues or retro style releases are appearing with pronged centres.
of a proper released record will be of some hifi quality. If it is boomy with little crispness like USA bootlegs of 50s music in the 70s taken from 78s, that's a big giveaway. Today vinyl repros get the noise digitally reduced. Having heard some, as always the amateur has gone too far with the noise reduction settings & lost the ambience from the music, making the music sound very unnatural. Mastering records listening through 6" speakers is a fool's game. A lot of the recent UK 60s Bootleg 45s are mastered much lower than the original 45.
Delta matrix numbers
eg ^56778 on USA vinyl continued into the 70s, so if your 50s/60s music record has one over approx ^90000 then it's a 70s repro. Some originals were pressed at Monarch in the USA in the 60s & the repro/bootlegs were made there too years later. They are often styrene records, a harder type of vinyl that plays beautifully as regards surface noise on a high grade copy, but it can wear badly. Early Delta numbers turn up on records 1954-55 and on vinyl. Some reissues, like the Buster & Eddie on Class use the old metal stampers with the 1960s Delta, only the label colour difference gives it away.
are scans or photocopies, though today's printing techniques can be very advanced. Some recreate the typeface in a modern similar font and others add numbers or wording to the original scanned design which helps show the reissue from the real.
The Colour of the Paper used
can be a good clue too, as can the texture. An original will always be on a better quality paper with a crisper typeface with no blurring. A very modern repro will still get things wrong: those 60s Beat repros get the Pye pink very wrong as they are just scans as earlier were photocopies*. Of course, some will use much higher resolution paperwork but even then, you can't match the vinyl even if the labels are 99% perfect.* It appears we must add that the image of the original is scanned or photocopied then printed on typical paper & ink. Photocopy paper is dust that is heat bonded and is never used raw. Only the source image is derived from a photo, scan or photocopy.
Label Pressed with the Vinyl or Stuck on After?
The usual way for a UK 45 to have it's label applied is having it pressed into the vinyl when made. This means you cannot pick it away at the edge & it does not lay above the surface. Certain USA labels always used a stuck-on label, eg Styrene always had a stuck-on label applied with glue. Later Styrene pressings had ink printed directly onto the blank label are with no paper. A basic rule is a Vinyl pressed record (ignoring acetates) will have a pressed-on label. Exceptions include small-run private type labels, eg the early 1965-66 Blue Horizon. Any Decca sporting a stuck-on Demo label is highly likely to be fake, although again some exceptions regarding test pressings allowed these fakes to get accepted. Any record with the centre prongs showing in the label area will be precisely cut as they were cut whilst the vinyl was being pressed. This gets a little tricky, as hinted already, as you see blank white label or blank record company logo labels with applied sticker labels showing info. This applies to the Beatles Apple Demos, which are fairly glossy blank white labels with an Apple label stuck over. You can find standard stock copies of a wide range of labels with added Emidisc or similar labels, these are genuine, but the ease of adding such should not make them hugely valuable, more like a nice issue defaced! Another exception as mentioned already, is MGM by 1967 it became independently pressed in the UK (by EMI still, in plain white sleeves), the Demos here are plain white with basic details printed on the labels, but oddly a more typical pink MGM demo label stuck over! Confusing is the word.
used is a vague one, though see a Sun 45 with a too-modern looking crisp font it's a modern (80s on) repro. Modern Soul repros make little attempt to copy the original label. Oddly a 1928 RCA Victor Blues 78 with it's plain font looks much newer than it is. Overall, experience is what gets you picking original from repro.
Beware Fake Factory Sample "Demo" Stickers
added to ordinary records, or even old ones added to repro ones! Even old ones soaked from cheapo 45s to add onto a Beatles makes a £5 record a £40 one, what a bargain. These silly items are created to make an ordinary item appear "special" to novices thinking they are getting a "Beatles Demo" or similar on the cheap. Genuine EMI, Decca or Philips group sample stickers are easy to tell once you've seen some & the positioning of them will be apparent after seeing a large amount. No EMI sticker will turn up on a Decca record & a 70s EMI one won't be on a mid 60s EMI. EMI ones were of one sort & then a later sort appeared. Does it matter? No. Is it Worth More? Not in The Real World. It's a gummed label like a stamp. It can be used to cover a tear or writing explaining the odd positions you see them "put" in. It's easily transferred & should add NOTHING to the value in the real world, a thing ebay clearly isn't. Pay £??? for a Beatles Factory Sample and then try to sell it yourself. A Factory Sample Sticker is WORTHLESS!
A Sample sticker or Stamp is NOT a proper Demo
It's a Factory Test Sample or a cheap way of doing a Promo. Only a clearly different label design maybe in White with a big A and a Release Date denotes a proper Demo. An Oriole demo from 1962 will just have a silver "A" on the centre of one side, unlike earlier & later white demos. A UK Sue 45 with a Black rectangle is NOT a Demo, all the rectangle does is cover "Sue Records USA" on 45s 'licensed' from other labels. If you still think it is, then no-one will mind charging you extra! Some records only exist as Stock Copies with Factory Samples ie TMG 525 is not on a R&W Demo, adding a sticker does not make £100 into £200, unless you are gullible. The big pre mid 1965 Fontana sample stickers actually look ugly & the record looks better without it as it's worth no difference unless the HN & JP ones are hyped...
fake '60s' acetates, faked items using old blank labels from 1940s 78 acetates stuck onto a Beatles record & some fool pays £150 for it. Computer printed "demo" labels stuck onto regular issues and badly cut out around the centre pushout. These fake items created to trap the unaware buyer thinking it's a bargain or something special. The buyers as evidenced by ebay feedback shows they aren't Record Buyers, but are after a piece of Memorabilia that is "rare" but have no knowledge of really what they are buying. The rule here is it's not worth anything more than a standard copy if it basically looks like a standard copy. Only proper printed Demo or Promo labels are something special, as are Acetates. An oddity is with some Australian promos: the added-on Demo sticker is stuck on the label BEFORE pressing. Removal or falling-off results in a dip in the vinyl as the sticker was originally level with the rest of the label, rather than raised as a later added one would be.
Heavily Cut Record Grooves
is another one to look out for. Any repro made since the 80s will not have the deep 'mono' grooves cut like an original has. 70s repros still used older machinery so other signs must be checked.
Condition of the Vinyl
is not too helpful, those unplayed 50s Savoy stock look too new but are real early pressings, as do unplayed boxes of UK Blue Beat Wynonie Harris EPs. Similarly a scuffy or scratched disc with a worn label may easily be a repro aged up, but for it to 'sell' only big ££ items would be aged up.
Stereo added to a label
of older music often means a 70s press especially if the music is playing in Mono, look at your yellow Epic copy of Vibrations 'Cause You're Mine' with Stereo added & then you'll see it's an early 70s press, not the 1969 one which had narrower & smaller typeface! Stereo 45s do exist from 1958, but will be easily proved originals from other factors.
Thickness of Vinyl
is of no use to decide if real or not, ignore those tedious ebay BS dealers saying 'original thick vinyl'. A 1949 USA RCA 45 is on thin vinyl as is a 1956 one. A UK 1957 RCA is on thicker vinyl. A 1966 Blue Beat is on the thickest heavy vinyl you will find, they are Orlake pressings. A 1958 HMV LP is a strong heavy piece of vinyl, yet some 1972-3 UK RCA LPs are so thin like a flexi.
A thick heavy record with a silvery bit seen through the centre is an Acetate & can be genuine factory items with rare tracks, or especially in the early days of the Northern Soul scene, just a privately cut track for DJ use & of no real value as a genuine studio acetate can have. Be aware a 60s track with felt tip pen writing is not an old one! Handwritten biro, or ink on the earlier ones are likely to be genuine. There are Fake Acetates of Rare Tracks we see occasionally on ebay. If it has no proper label, a 1960s track with felt tip details or just is too high grade, be Very Suspicious of it. Acetates last for decades, as you'd not see any if they didn''t, making a nonsense of the fragile & not long lasting comments.
Unless you have ones still in the original master bag, they are usually in low grade, the majority of acetates even if looked after better will not be above EX, G to VG is common though they will still play good enough. There are certain textures to certain acetates that only an experienced dealer can pick out, eg an acetate with a purple edge showing is not a 1960s one. CBS ones have a liney texture across the surface & the shape of the edge. Numbers stamped onto the backs mean absolutely nothing beyond the maker's batch number. Occasionally an acetate could be reused as the back was blank, one 1969 reggae track had an unissued Northern Soul track on the back we got a hefty price for. Most acetates are of no real musical interest ranging from Granny at the Piano to weak 70s pop.
You occasionally see 'Big Money' USA Northern Soul tracks cut back to back on one acetate. These are items a DJ made himself in the 1970s just to be able to play it and as it's 100% unofficial as well as the sound quality usually being awful, they are not worth more than £10 as curios. Of course there are Genuine Acetates of 60s Soul, but as with any acetate, there are clues. Read more on our 'Acetates' page...
Smell of Vinyl
For the risk of getting silly, it can be a clue, but be aware how many smokers there were until recent years. A smoky smelling record may not be that old, but to tell if Sleeves are old, if they smell musty that is a clue of age, but not a sure one. If the vinyl has an obvious new plastic smell or a repro sleeve lacks crispness in the printing but gives you a paper cut it is likely a modern one. Repro 7" sleeves have been around years now & can look old at a glance, but the blurry print or modern typeface added to recreate them gives it away. They often come apart as the seams are poorly glued.
One funny one we saw on typing this
was a UK Billy Fury "Export" EP, the 'Play It Cool' one. The catalog number of both as RC shows is identical, yet the cover is the clear steep difference in value. Now a seller had a "repro" cover and offered the standard record inside it. The sleeve remember was a repro & of no collector value. Yet excited (foolish) ebayers paid £50 for it? Eh? Duh more like. £10 the record & £40 for a repro sleeve. Keeps us in the know smiling!
More Silly Ebayers
Special AKA Gangsters was a huge hit & rightly so. The majority are on paper labels & worth no more than £6, the only rarity is the handstamped sleeve, which has been repro'd and also the silver ink later 1980 press label for completists. The RC TT1-3 being rare is nonsense, the majority have this, so a £6 record in reality. The first pressings are by Rough Trade via CBS and you'll find EMI & Pye contract pressings too as demand was high. Now here's the thing: Pye vinyl was black in normal light, but from 1972-1980ish some held up to a light it shines varied shades of red. Hold it up to the light & black vinyl becomes red. BFD. So the silly seller who backlit his to make the pic look fully red will have a buyer expecting it to look red in daylight, as red vinyl suggests. In reality, the Pye contract is more common than the EMI & one seller tried a similar game for months to get £20 for his to no avail.
How to spot Fake MP3 Downloads
OK, we're having a laugh here apparently, all MP3s can be faked to oblivion as can any home made MP3 from the original vinyl. A MP3 looks like nothing, as nothing it is, it is virtual & if your hard drive, iPod or dongle with the track on dies, so does the download! How silly you were not to keep 25 backups! But there really are fake MP3 downloads hiding as zip files with nasty .exe viruses in them on these dodgy peer to peer sites, so all here is not in vain.
An area of Collectiong where FAKE is Exceedingly likely to the point of "Guaranteed Fake". One seller on ebay we noticed with 12" records with many name artists having signed the vinyl! Bullshit! No way would the owner carry round 12" records genuinely to a gig & then get the artist or group to sign the item so steadily! Bullshit 2! Those Silver pens are only good for a short time before the point clogs & take a while to start if at all. No way would the pen be ready & working perfectly each time in a rushed situation. Look at their "ended" items. 60+ items all signed very similarly. It would take years in reality, or 20 minutes to fake... There are so many gullible buyers thinking at a bargain price "it'll do". You've been conned! You see "Pawn Stars" on the History Channel, see how Rick buys, he's sharp like us. They either pay no extra for the "signature" or need full COA & proof. The experts they pull in have much knowledge & will have pictures of original signatures & take more than 20 seconds screen time to confirm. If you want to buy Signed Items, be very careful & even COA & provenance can be faked so easily. Ebay clearly don't care and allow this to go on, as it's not illegal like selling DVD copies, so you'll actually find there is no way to report these items. Buyer beware.
Here is a very advanced case of spotting the Repro from the Real one.
One was issued in 1952 and is the Original. One is a repro from the early 1970s. Both at first glance look exactly the same. But look closer: the typeface on one is crisper than the other, even in this old pic of ours from 2003 when we had both copies. The typeface used on the 12110 number is the most distinctly different, the rest is very very similar. One has a dull label, the other a semi-glossy one. On playing one is is louder cut but lacking a certain hifi quality, so therefore the other is cut quieter with a cleaner sound but sounds about as 'surface noisy' as the other. One has 'CS' added after it's matrix number of 'Federal 12110' whereas the other has something like 45-F128-1 only.
So which one is the real one? Side by side both 45s on a desk, you can tell the left one has the original look and the right one is a very good copy. 'CS' on the right one means 'Collectors Series', they weren't out to deceive, but who knows what CS means 30+ years on? The left one with the 45-F128-1 heavily etched matches similar Federal-King product. Buy some cheap pop items to see what real ones look like, nobody made repros of dull pop 45s. The sharper label is the repro, it is of good quality & well typeset. Many repros are photocopies* or scans of the original labels and of old photocopy* quality we saw before computers took off in the late 1990s.
Those UK 60s Mod Beat Psych repros..
are everywhere and "they" are constantly repressing them, now in better vinyl quality & occasionally adding more titles, the latest batch are Hot USA R&B 45s from around 1958. The Reggae ones were first around over 12 years ago in the London Collector shops. Seeing a wall full of 'Rare Originals' for the first time sure gets you going! Most are openly sold as repros for £6-8 so no problem really for buyers. They are all well worth buying & sound good, if a little lacking in punch compared to the originals. We've had the lot to keep the music digitally from the vinyl if we'd not had the original copy. The UK pressed ones lack the serrated edge, some have large or small centres, but the matrix numbers are at least obvious with the song titles or catalog number etched, not the machine stamped matrix number of old.
But some sellers are sneakily adding a record centre & put in an old sleeve and quietly list them on ebay
with the old cliche about being given some records & not knowing much about them, but without actually saying they are 'new' or 'repro' as they apparently don't know. But sadlty the Inexperienced buyer sees the Dollar signs (that was originated in a Tom & Jerry 1940s cartoon) and believing they are getting a huge bargain keep bidding. Or more likely the seller is fake-bidding up their own items... The more bidders the item gets, the 'sheep' effect comes in, ie they think it's right so it must be! Ending up paying £30 or more for the repro is the outcome. It's up to the buyer to understand what they are buying & watch out.
These repros were purposely pressed with large centres to avoid this and the lack of UK serrated label edge grip for autochangers gives it away. UK pressed vinyl from 1956-57 until the mid 1980s had this label grip as the cheap autochanger where you stacked a pile of records to play in one go, mechanics willing of course. They also all have scratched matrix details & titles scratched in the matrix are to make it appear more obvious it's a repro. The side effect of this is buyers now sadly doubt the originals to be originals, even with proper centres if not too well photoed. These buyers need to wise up and learn their subject, these repros should make the originals wider known & more wanted. We try our best with big clear 2 side photos and with these photos you can tell it's a real one as our records are photoed out of sleeve.
As a footnote, there is a seller on ebay selling made-up Gold discs of the popular artists from then to now. You buy them and frame them to put on the wall & be amazed and lost in a awestruck trance at their fake tacky beauty. At £25+ a pop he's raking it in! But the labels he uses are awful, wrong types, wrong everything. It does show non-Collectors want records as Memorabilia and this is a cheap way to buy a Gold Disc we suppose. To us, they are Crap.
"If It Looks Too Good To Be True: It Is Very Likely To Be A Fake"