Many of us have heard that it costs more to print a cent than it’s worth, but when it comes to some hard-to-find pennies, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. From some relatively common pennies worth more than $15,000 to a rare $1.7 million penny, these coins can bring in some serious cash. Many of the pennies on this list have several features in common, so pay close attention and learn what to look for every time you get change back at the store.
1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny: $373,750
If you get your hands on the 1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny you have a coin worth $373,750 in your possession. The high collector’s value of this penny is the fault of bad minting practices, which happened at all three mints.
The coin was supposed to be cast in a bronze alloy comprised of 95 percent copper and 5 percent tin. Instead, all three mints accidentally used zinc-plated steel planchets to start the coining process. It’s not a one-of-a-kind coin but still rare enough to fetch almost $400,000.
1943-S Lincoln Cent: $282,000
The 1943-S Lincoln Cent is yet another example of a mint gone wrong. The penny was ordered to be struck with a zinc-plated steel planchet but was accidentally cast in bronze.
The penny pictured was produced by the San Francisco Mint and has been rated as the “second-finest certified 1943-S bronze cent.” The coin’s value was certified when it was sold at Heritage Auctions in February 2016 for a very impressive $282,000.
1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny: $204,000
The 1943 Bronze Lincoln penny was the first to be accidentally printed in bronze, forcing the U.S. Mint to admit there was a mistake made during the creation process of this coin.
The coin shown above was discovered by a teen in 1947 and is believed to be one of nearly 15 pennies known to exist from this lot. A copper-red color version of this coin was also sold at auction in 2013.
1856 Flying Eagle Penny: $172,500
The 1856 Flying Eagle penny marked the first time the American penny was reduced to its current size. Originally, pennies were 19mm in diameter, nearly the size of our current day nickel.
The coin was reduced in size after it became more expensive to create a penny than it was actually worth. The new size came with this design which was only printed from 1856 through 1858. Only 2,000 of the pennies were printed in 1856. The $172,500 price tag is based on a successful auction of a "mint condition" version of the penny.
1872 Indian Head Penny: $126,500
We’ve talked about coins with minting errors but the 1872 Indian Head is pricey for the exact opposite reason. Four million Indian Head pennies were minted but they were prone to pressing errors which were plentiful.
In August 2007 the team at Heritage Auctions sold this penny for $126,500. The penny in question was listed in "excellent condition" and was the result of being struck on a new set of coin dies.
1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny: $1 Million
A simple mistake has made the 1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny worth a cool $1 million. Sold in a private sale in 2018, the penny was accidentally minted in bronze.
Other pennies were minted in bronze at the Philadelphia Mint but this penny was the only coin to be certified as a "red" penny during the given year. There is no mint mark on this penny because Philadelphia’s mint didn’t take part in that practice.
1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny: $336,000
It’s pretty easy to understand why the 1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny is worth a — well, pretty penny! The coin was accidentally printed with an error that shows up on President Abraham Lincoln’s face because of a process called ‘double die"
A "doubled die" coin occurs when an image appears to have been "doubled" during the pressing process. If you look closely at this errored-out coin you’ll notice a doubling of wording on the face of the coin. With only three of these coins known to exist the $336,000 price tag doesn’t seem too off base.
1944-D Lincoln Penny: $115,000
We’re sure you’ve noticed that mistakes tend to be the most valuable part of collecting pennies and the 1944-D Lincoln is no exception. Like many of the pennies on our list, this penny was struck on a zinc-coated steel planchet that was first used in 1943.
In 1944, the U.S. mint was once again using copper planchets but incorrect mints were created in both Philadelphia and Denver. The penny print in Denver is believed to have produced no more than 10 pennies, including one that sold for $115,000.
1914-S Lincoln Penny: $105,800
This 1914-S Lincoln penny was not in short supply. The San Francisco Mint produced over four million of these pennies. Almost the entire production run was placed into circulation but this particular $105,800 penny appeared to have been preserved immediately after the print was completed.
The bright copper-red color of the penny attracted a buy, who in August 2006, offered the six-figure sum to grab ownership of the mint condition collector’s item.
1864 Indian Head Penny With ‘L’ on the Ribbon: $161,000
The Indian Head penny from 1864 was part of a penny series that started in 1859. The coin was produced using a bronze alloy after a severe shortage of copper and nickel forced the U.S. Mint to find an alternative.
There were 5 million of these coins produced but that hasn’t stopped the coin from obtaining a value of $161,000. It doesn’t hurt that halfway through the 1864 production run "L" was added to the tail of the ribbon on Lady Liberty’s war bonnet.
1969-S Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Obverse: $126,500
From 1959 through 1982 the pennies produced in the United States were made from 100% copper instead of a standard alloy. Among those coins were several that were cast improperly, leading to a double image.
Some of the original coins were destroyed by the United States government, however, some made their way to market and one sold for $126,500 at an auction in Orlando, Florida in 2008. Another mistake that has been worth a pretty penny.
1914-D Lincoln Penny: $158,625
The trick to landing a 1914-D Lincoln penny worth $158,625 is to find one in mint condition, much like the version shown here. The U.S. Mint created just over one million of these pennies, a very low number for any run.
So why is this particular penny worth so much? Almost all of the coins were placed in heavy circulation, making it almost impossible to find a mint version of the coin. Even if you find a penny is less than perfect condition it could still fetch you about $125.
1873 Doubled “Closed 3” Indian Head Penny: $12,650
The 1873 Indian Head penny increased in value when you find a specimen minted with the doubling effect. You can see the doubling effect this time on the word “Liberty.”
Approximately one million of these coins were minted with the “closed 3” variation and 11 million were minted with the “open 3” variation. It was a red/brown variation of this particular penny that sold for $12,650 at an auction in 2011.
1877 Indian Head Penny: $149,500
In 2007 the team at Heritage Auctions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin sold an 1877 Indian Head penny for $149,500. The penny was in mint condition which helped the final sale price.
The Indian Head penny started its print run in 1874 but an economic slump in the United States limited how many pennies were printed. When all was said and done only 852,500 of these pennies were placed into circulation, most of which are nowhere to be seen these days.
1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse & Weak Obverse Wheat Penny: $48,000
The 1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse & Weak Obverse Wheat penny is worth $48,000 according to a Heritage Auction sale in March 2018.
Much like several other 1922 Lincoln pennies, this coin is missing the mint mark on the back of the coin. If you look at the penny you’ll also observe that the reverse image is not as sharp on this coin. One man’s mistake is another man’s treasure.
1926-S Lincoln Penny: $149,500
Another penny with the $149,500 price tag is the 1926-S Lincoln. The penny that sold for this price tag was picked up by a collector in January 2006. The penny was marked as being in "excellent condition" which led to the current price.
If you find one of these pennies in less than the perfect condition you’re still in luck. Only nine other wheat pennies have ever been produced and they were also released in limited numbers.
1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2: $63,000
For $63,000 you might be able to get your hands on a 1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2. This coin was the result of a damaged die at the Denver Mint. The damage caused by the mistake was compounded by the fact that Denver was the only mint printing pennies in 1922.
Before the mistake was caught approximately 20,000 of these improperly minted pennies found their way through production. If you look at the coin you’ll notice that the image on the reverse is sharper than that on the penny’s face.
1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny: $19,950
This penny produced in 1793 is worth $19,950 mainly because it’s nearly impossible to find. This larger penny with its Liberty Cap style was the third version of the Flowing Hair coin that was first introduced in 1793 and produced until 1796.
The $19,950 price tag on this penny wasn’t from a prestigious auction house but rather an eBay auction that successfully ended in January 2019.
1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny: $1.7 Million
The 1943 Lincoln-D penny is worth $1.7 million and that hefty sum is directly related to the rarity of this penny. Only one known mint of this specimen from Denver is known to exist.
The penny was struck in bronze instead of zinc-plated steel since bronze and copper were being used for manufacturing purposes during World War II. While it’s rare, 20 examples may have been struck in bronze alloy at the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mints. The $1.7 million price tag was the result of a private sale that took place in 2010.
1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln Penny: $258,500
The 1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln penny wasn’t printed in error but it did draw controversy when it debuted. The coin’s designer printed their initials, “V.D.B.” on the bottom of the coins and many people thought the initials were too prominent.
The initials were eventually removed after approximately half a million pennies were printed. This penny is worth a small fortune because it’s one of only 1,194 that used a matte-proof die and included the V.D.B. moniker. This coin sold in 2014 for $258,500.
The Flowing Hair Dollar Is Part Of U.S. History
The most expensive coin in the world is the Flowing Hair dollar. This was the first dollar coin that was issued by the United States government and was minted in 1794. Only a few years before the Flowing Hair dollar was released, Alexander Hamilton urged Congress to pass a joint resolution for the establishment of a national mint.
According to USA Coin Book, one of these coins was auctioned for $10,016,875 in 2013. Only 1,758 of the Flowing Hair dollars were created and it’s unknown how many are still out there.
Very Few 1933 Double Eagles Were Rescued
The last batch of double eagle coins was created in 1933, the same year that President Franklin D. Roosevelt stopped the coinage of gold and even made it illegal to own gold. Wealthy Gorilla states that while 445,500 of them were minted, they never went into circulation and all but two were ordered to be melted.
Now, those two coins have become extremely valuable. It’s also believed that several more were rescued before they were melted. The most recent auction of a 1933 double eagle coin brought in $7.59 million. It is scheduled to be auctioned again in June of 2021.
The Eagle Had Several Designs
The gold coin in the photo is called an eagle and it had a denomination of $10 per coin. The United States minted it from 1792 to 1933. “Eagles” were used as a unit for coin circulation and other units are called the mill, cent, dime, and dollar.
According to Professional Coin Grading Services, a $10 Proof Eagle was sold at auction for an estimated $5,280,000 in January 2021. There have been several designs of the eagle coin, but the most valuable is the Turban Head with the eagle on the reverse.
The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel Is Super Rare
One of the rarest coins ever produced is the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. Only five of them are still in existence. According to Coin Resource, the Liberty Head design was the last to appear on the nickel before the Buffalo version was created in February 1913.
A 1913 Liberty Head nickel sold for $3,428,950 in 2013. Coin Trackers estimates that one in certified mint state (MS+) would be worth about $4,408,650, but could be upwards of five million dollars.
The 1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar Wasn’t Made In 1804
Although this coin goes by the name 1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar, it wasn’t made in 1804. The coin was actually minted starting at least in the 1830s.
The coin comes in three separate classes, with the first class being worth about $4,140,000. There are numerous ways to tell the classes apart such as their designs and the spacing of the letters. According to USA Coin Book, only eight of these coins are still in existence today.
The 1884 Trade Dollar Was Only A Proof Coin
According to USA Coin Book, 1884 Trade Silver Dollars were only used as proof coins to prepare for the 1885 coin of the same name. It was reported that there are only 10 of these in the world today.
Barrons states that a rare 1884 Proof Trade dollar is now worth up to two million dollars. The front of the coin features a left-facing seated Lady Liberty who is extending her hand with an olive branch and a bald eagle is on the reverse side.
Wow! A Gold Canadian Maple Leaf Worth A Million Dollars
The $1 million Gold Maple Leaf coin is one of the most expensive coins in the world. First coined in 2007, it was meant to promote the Royal Canadian Mint’s new line of 99.999% pure one Troy ounce Gold Maple leaf bullion coins.
To date, only five of these have been purchased by coin collectors, with the most expensive one fetching $4,020,000 in June 2010. It was sold by Dorotheum Auction House in Vienna, Austria.
The Edward III Florin Coin Is Extremely Old
This coin goes by many names including double florin, double leopard, and Edward III florin. It dates back to 1344 when King Edward III wanted to produce Europe’s first gold coin.
Since this is one of the oldest coins in history, it comes with a hefty price. According to Wealthy Gorilla, one Edward III florin is valued at a little under seven million dollars. It’s estimated that there are only three surviving coins left., further increasing their value.
A Laguna Beach Man Bought The Brasher Doubloon For Millions
One of the hardest coins to find is the 1787 Brasher Doubloon. The backstory of this coin began when a goldsmith and silversmith named Ephraim Brasher submitted a petition to the State of New York to make copper coins.
When the petition was denied, he decided to make his own. Wealthy Gorilla states that most of the coins were made in copper, but a special few were made with gold. One of the unique gold Brasher Doubloons was sold to collector Steven L. Contursi, who then sold it to an undisclosed Wall Street investment firm for nearly $7.4 million.
A Silver Barber Dime Was Found In A Strange Location
According to USA Coin Book, the 1894 Silver Barber dime is one of the rarest and most highly prized coins for collectors in the United States. Only 24 of the proof coins were made during that year and now there are just nine left.
In 1957, someone found one of the nine Silver Barber dimes in an old box at Gimbels Department Store and bought it for a measly $2.40. Now, someone looking to buy one of the coins would have to pay at least $1 million, probably much more.
Thomas Jefferson And Alexander Hamilton Had A Spat Over The Silver Center Cent
The Silver center cent was minted in 1792 and there are only 12 originals left. It’s worth noting that the coin was one of the first American coins to use more than one metal.
U.S. Patterns states that Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton argued about the materials coins should be made from, but the U.S. Mint’s chief coiner, Henry Voigt, came up with a solution of copper planchet. The highest the Silver center cent went for was $1.15 million at a 2012 auction.
The Umayyad Gold Dinar Coin Fetched More Than $6 Million
It would be tough for anyone to get their hands on an Umayyad gold dinar. These Islamic medieval gold coins date back to between 696 and 697 CE.
According to Coin World, this coin was struck from gold mined at a source owned by a caliph and the text roughly translates to “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful.” It’s also the earliest Islamic coin to mention a location in modern-day Saudi Arabia. The coin was last auctioned in April of 2011 for a high price of $6,029,400.
The Decadrachm Holds A Few Records
One factor that many coin enthusiasts look for when collecting is the coin’s age. The decadrachm is an ancient Greek silver coin that dates back to between 409 and 406 BC.
Coin World states that the silver decadrachm of Agrigentum hails from a seaside city in Sicily. It also happens to hold a few records. This coin is the most valuable non-U.S. coin, Greek coin, and Greek silver coin. It was last sold in October 2012 for $2,918,000.
Fans Of James Bond Will Want This Coin
In March of 2020, a Royal Mint designer named Laura Clancy designed a James Bond coin to celebrate the franchise’s 25th film release. The coin set a record for being the largest, with the highest face value, to be produced in the Royal Mint’s 1,100-year history.
The coin weighs about 15.4 pounds and is worth a little under two thousand dollars. There are three separate designs including the Aston Martin DB5, the classic Bond car, and one featuring the “Wet Nellie” futuristic submarine car.
Jacob’s Redeemer Is The Most Expensive German Coin
The Jakobsloeser, or Jacob’s Redeemer, gold coin hails from Germany and is almost 400-years-old. Friedrich Ulrich, Duke of Braunschweig and Lüneburg, had it minted from pure gold that came from the mines in the Harz Mountains.
The design of the coin includes a man standing in flowers under the sun called St. James the Elder. He is wearing a hat and carrying a pilgrim’s staff and a book. According to London Coin Galleries, the Jakobsloeser was auctioned off in London in 2015 for approximately $1.2 million.
The 1822 Half Eagle Will Be Up For Auction Soon
One coin that attracted all eyes at Sotheby’s auction house in 2015 was the 1822 Half Eagle, also known as the Five Dollar Gold Piece. USA Coin Book states that 17,796 of them were originally produced, but only three survived.
It’s estimated that the 1822 Half Eagle coin is worth around five million dollars. Art Daily reported that it will be up for auction in March 2021 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 1703 Queen Anne Coin Was A Product Of Jubilation
There’s a lot of history behind the 1703 Queen Anne gold 5-guinea coin. According to Coin World, the War of Spanish Succession broke out around the time Anne assumed the throne.
As the war ended, the English discovered that Spanish ships were carrying treasures from the New World. In order to celebrate their win, the Royal Mint created the 1703 Queen Anne gold-5 guinea coin with the gold that was captured from Vigo Bay. One of the coins brought in approximately $1,080,000 in 2019.
1870-S Seated Liberty Dollar Went Off The Record
The 1870-S Seated Liberty dollar was the last silver coin to be produced before the Coinage Act of 1873. This banned the use of pure silver for coins made under the Mint of the United States.
USA Coin Book says that only 15 of them are still in existence and it was one of the few cases where the U.S. Mint had no official record of ever producing it. If someone has an 1870-S Seated Liberty dollar in uncirculated (MS+) mint condition, it could be worth more than $2 million.
A Buffalo Nickel With Two Dates Is Valuable
Buffalo nickels, which are copper-nickel five-cent pieces, were produced from 1913 to 1938 before being replaced by the Jefferson nickel.
The 1918 Buffalo Nickel is a rare and valuable coin due to a minting error. The Denver Mint stamped the 1918 date right over the 1917 date, a mistake that’s very easy to notice. USA Coin Book states that one of these coins in uncirculated (MS+) mint condition could be worth $37,880 to $62,837.
The Kansas State Quarter Has An Amusing Error
Every state in America has its own design on the back of quarters. Although the individual quarters aren’t that rare, there are some that are worth more than 25 cents.
In 2005, there was a grease spill during the minting of the Kansas state quarter. Instead of “In God We Trust,” the inscription read “In God We Rust.” Little Things says most of these quarters usually go for a small amount that’s around five dollars, but they can go as high as $100.
Quarrymen’s 1958 In Spite Of All The Danger/That’ll Be The Day
Before The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison played together as the Quarrymen. They recorded two tracks in this 10-inch record In Spite of All the Danger. Initially, only one original copy existed, until McCartney bought it and released 50 more albums.
McCartney gave these vinyls to family and friends for Christmas. Since 1981, these records have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. One copy can bring in anywhere from $13,000 to $260,000.
Elvis’ My Happiness Sun Records Copy
In 1953, Elvis Presley recorded his first ever song at just 18-years-old. He sang a cover of the 1948 song “My Happiness,” and printed it onto a vinyl of the same name through Sun Records. The King gave it to his friend, Ed Leek, who cherished it for years before handing it off.
In 2015, collector and artist Jack White bought the copy for $300,000. His own record label, Third Man Records, reproduced the vinyl as a limited edition store release. While it won’t get you as much as the original, it still may sell for a decent amount.
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan Special Tracks From 1963
Just before Bob Dylan released his second album in 1963, he made some changes to the tracks. Originally, Dylan replaced four tracks with newly recorded songs. Later on, the record switched back to the regular version. Only a handful of records with these four misplaced tracks were sold.
One surviving stereo copy sold for $35,000. To tell if your copy is original, look for matrix numbers ending in 1A on both sides. It must play the songs Rocks and Gravel, Let Me Die in My Footsteps, Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand, and Talkin’ John Birch Blues.
Blue Note 1568, Actually Released In 1957
In 1957, jazz musician Hank Mobley released anywhere between 300 and 1,000 copies of this vinyl. But some records have one small difference that makes them worth tens of thousands of dollars. The Vinyl Factory claims that Blue Note ran out of labels halfway through producing the album.
Most covers for this vinyl state the label 47 West 63rd NYC, but the initial, more valuable label states 47 West 63rd New York 23. Both versions can get you a lot of money–a copy with the regular stamp sold for $10,000 on eBay–but the rarer label is worth more.
The Who Sell Out, 1967 Butterfly Poster
The Who’s third studio album, The Who Sell Out, acts like a 1960s British "pirate radio" broadcast. The record features fake commercials and mock service announcements along with songs. The first 1,000 pressings from the U.K. Track Label included a "psychedelic poster" of a butterfly, which is where the money lies.
If you find this album with the butterfly poster inside, it’ll sell for at least $1,000. The hilarious cover of The Who bathing in beans is just a bonus.
"The Velvet Underground & Nico" Banana Sticker Cover
In 2002, Canadian record collector Warren Hill paid 75 cents for this vinyl at a flea market. At the time, Hill had no idea what he had found. The record is the debut album of the rock band the Velvet Underground, but this copy is highly regarded for its rare banana peal cover by Andy Warhol.
Hill’s rare version of this vinyl includes early versions of songs that differ from the standard album. It’s so rare that only the band’s drummer, Moe Tucker, owns another copy. Hill auctioned it off on eBay for $25,200.
The Black Album 1987 12-inch
In 1987, Warner Bros. Records released The Black Album, with no title or artist on the front. Prince recorded this album in response to being criticized as "too pop-oriented," and aimed to regain his black audience. But for some reason, Prince became convinced that the album was cursed, and persuaded Warner Bros. to recall the 500,000 copies.
At that point, though, promo copies sold to several people, who often called it The Funk Bible. Eventually, Prince released the album on CD in 1994, but the original vinyl can sell for anywhere between $27,500 to $42,000.
Last American Hero From Asbury Park N.J. 1978 Japanese Version
Before Bruce Springsteen released his fourth album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, he created a promo L.P. to advertise it. The record, Last American Hero From Asbury Park N.J., contained ten tracks and only appeared in Japan.
Less than 100 copies were pressed, and each sells for about $4,200. Each track is ordered from A1 through A5, to B1 through B5. Strangely, instead of featuring new songs, the L.P. only plays songs from his first three albums.
Aphex Twin’s Unreleased Record, Caustic Window, 1994
Before Richard James became the Aphex Twin, he recorded some of his early EDM music under the alias Caustic Window. He created a single self-titled album, which he planned to release in 1994. Eventually, he abandoned the project, leaving only four known copies on vinyl.
Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of the game Minecraft, pounced on a copy of the white vinyl when it popped up on eBay in 2014. He paid $46,300 for the test pressing.
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) Demo Copy
In 1965, soul singer Frank Wilson recorded his single, “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)” as a demo for the Motown subsidiary label Soul. About 250 demos came out, but for some reason, most of them were destroyed.
Explanations vary, including the boss Berry Gordy not liking it, to Wilson moving on to producing. Either way, only five copies of this single have surfaced so far. In May 2009, a copy sold at an auction for $32,500.
The Beatles (White Album) Originals From 1968
The Beatles released their self-titled album, later called the White Album, in 1968. But members of the band and studio executives were given copies stamped with serial numbers beginning in A00000, and then a number. For instance, an original copy may show the number A0000018.
In 2013, Clifford Yamasaki of Let It Be Records sold the very first copy of the White Album for $35,000. A year later, copy A0000023 auctioned for $13,750. Very few of these original albums still exist today.
Waltzes By Johann Strauss, Jr. 1956 Andy Warhol Cover
Before Andy Warhol designed album covers for Rolling Stones, he specialized in jazz and classical vinyl covers. One of these includes a 7-inch sleeve for the 1956 release of Waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr. by the Century Symphony Orchestra.
According to rumor, only seven copies of this E.P. exist around the world, one of which sits in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Another copy sold on eBay for $5,500 in 2012.
The Caine Mutiny Movie Soundtrack, 1954
The Caine Mutiny came out in 1954, starring Robert Francis and Humphrey Bogart. To accompany the movie, a vinyl came out. One side played composer Max Steiner’s score, while the other featured dialogue from the movie’s courtroom scene.
The author of the original book, Herman Wouk, found the vinyl to be an infringement of intellectual property and asked Columbia Pictures to stop producing it. As a result, only a couple dozen copies came out, each of which sells for around $6,700.
Street Fighting Man/No Expectations Original Cover, 1968
In 1968, the Rolling Stones released a vinyl with their single, “Street Fighting Man.” The original front cover pictured heavy-handed police tactics from demonstration riots earlier that year. However, that same month, the Chicago Democratic National Convention erupted into violent riots.
The record company hesitated and ordered that all copies of the sleeve be destroyed. Before that happened, though, at least eighteen copies leaked into the world. In 2011, Bonhams auction sold one for $17,000.
Led Zeppelin (Led Zeppelin)
As of 2018, the band Led Zeppelin was in the lead for the trading site Discogs’ most expensive record releases. The vinyl in question was the 2006 Classic Records compilation titled Led Zeppelin. It ended up selling for just over $4,800.
There were 750 copies of the limited-edition 45rpm produced, and they came in road cases. This rare find initially retailed for $750 but clearly fetch a much higher price these days.
Xanadu Picture Album, Olivia Newton-John
If you own Olivia Newton-John’s picture disk Xanadu you better take good care of it. The original Xanadu soundtrack album hit No. 17 in the world.
According to Yahoo Finance, this picture album is worth an incredible $8,850. That’s because there only 31 copies in the world. The picture disks were created for promotional use, but once Newton-John saw them, she asked that they stop being made… because she hated the picture so much!
Music For The Masses, 1987 Original Sleeve Color
Mut Records released Depeche Mode’s sixth studio album, Music for the Masses, in 1987. The original U.K. cover sleeve sported an orange and white megaphone, although the band withdrew the cover last minute.
By then, fans had already bought at least a dozen copies. A few years later, the studio accidentally shipped more copies to stores. A couple of these rarities have popped up on eBay, and former band member Alan Wilder auctioned his copy off for $4,600.
The First Pressing Of Please Please Me, 1963
In March 1963, the Parlophone label released the Beatles’ album Please Please Me in a hurry. Although plenty of these records sold in 1963, collectors hunt down a specific copy. The first pressing includes gold lettering on a black label. This small change could earn you thousands of dollars.
The mono version of Please Please Me in mint can get someone a couple hundred bucks, while the stereo version claims about $4,200. If you find the first pressing, you could gain tens of thousands of dollars from one record.
Bleach, 1989 Red And White Vinyl
If you have a copy of Nirvana’s 1989 debut album Bleach, double-check the vinyl. Owning a certain color vinyl of this album can earn you up to three thousand bucks. Sub Pop released 500 copies of this album on red-and-white marbled vinyl, which sells for at least $1,100 in cherry condition.
Originally, the company printed the record on white vinyl. This’ll grant you a hefty sum of around $2,500. White versions are easier to find, as 1,000 have been pressed.
Tommy Johnson’s Alcohol And Jake Blues
Blues artist Tommy Johnson was known for his guitar skills and for singing in a strange falsetto voice. Paramount released his album Alcohol and Jake Blues in 1930, and when the label shut down five years later all of its masters were destroyed. This means that the album is extremely rare.
In fact, Alcohol and Jake Blues is such a rare find that a collector shelled out more than $37,000 for it in 2013. The winning bidder already owned a copy of the record but said it wasn’t in as good condition as his new acquisition, so felt that his money was well spent for the upgrade.
Spirit In The Night, 1973
Spirit in the Night was one of Bruce Springsteen’s first singles and was from his 1973 debut album with Columbia Records. This one has a pretty unassuming look with a red and orange label, while the sleeve is a plain grey with a white "Columbia" printed on it.
Better hope you have this one in your collection because the 45 will fetch you at least $5,000 if you have one in mint condition.
Till There Was You Demo, 1963
A 10" acetate of one of The Beatles’ earliest demos has been called "the record that launched" the band. It featured two songs, "Til There Was You" and the B-side "Hello Little Girl" which was misspelled as "Hullo" on the record.
A former keyboard player for Gerry and the Pacemakers found a copy in his collection and in 2016, sold it to a collector for £77,500 — approximately $98,000 in USD. Wow.
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan
This certainly isn’t one you can expect to find in your collection, but it’s worth a mention as it’s the most expensive individual album ever sold, with a really strange backstory. The hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan pressed only ONE copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin in 2014.
The album was auctioned off the following year, and the winning bidder was convicted felon and former pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli. He paid an astonishing $2 million for the rare recording. Before the 2016 presidential elections, he tweeted that he’d release the album for a free download if Trump won but would destroy it if Hillary Clinton did. After Trump’s victory, Shkreli released just the intro and one song, before reselling the album on eBay for just over a thousand bucks.
Love Me Do Single, Unedited Cut
The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do,” was recorded on a one-sided acetate record in 1962. The song was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and the Beatles considered its release as the start of their career. There’s one lone unedited copy of it in existence. As you might suspect, it’s worth a whole lot of cash.
The recording, which can be identified by an audible count-in at the beginning, was reportedly sold for more than $100,000.
Original Stack O’Lee Blues, Long Cleve Reed And Little Harvey Hill
The beautiful vocal harmonies and the fact that there’s only one known copy of Original Stack O’Lee Blues 78 rpm in existence make it a pretty valuable find. The single was recorded by Long Cleve Reed & Little Harvey Hill in 1927.
A famed record collector named Joe Brussard was said to have been offered $70,000 for the album. He declined, as he didn’t want to part with it. If you happen to find another copy of it, you’re in great luck!
Music For Supermarkets, 1983
Jean-Michel Jarre is a French musician and record producer, known for his groundbreaking work in the new-age and ambient genres.
Music for Supermarkets (French title: Musique pour Supermarché) was produced for an art exhibition and Jarre later auctioned off just one vinyl copy in 1983. It fetched around $70,000, which Jarre felt was a “silly industrialization of music” and led to him destroying the original recordings. He later salvaged part of the album and used them in other works.
Lafayette Blues, 1988
The 45 of “Lafayette Blues,” which was only the White Stripes’ second single, was released by Italy Records in 1998. Unfortunately, the record covers weren’t completed before the duo’s big release show, so Jack White and the head of the recording company hand-painted some in order to sell them.
At the show, the records sold for $6. Then in 2004, a copy sold for $2,700! Jack White said, “It’s funny stuff – thinking no-one’s gonna buy them for 6 dollars, now they’re going for 2700!” Little did he know then that another copy would sell for a whopping $18,000 in 2010.
The Pink Floyd Lucy Leave And I’m A King Bee
Although the double-sided record says “The Pink Floyd,” its two songs were actually recorded back when the band was called The Tea Set. “I’m a King Bee” was written by the blues musician Slim Harpo. The A-side song, “Lucy Leave,” was written by Syd Barrett.
The band roster is listed on the cover: Barrett, Bob Klose, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason. This limited edition run produced only 100 copies and today is valued around $30,000.