For many music fans, there’s no feeling like ripping the shrink-wrap off a freshly pressed album and setting the turntable needle down on virgin vinyl for the very first time. Yet some of the most exceptional records are factory- or still-sealed albums, those precious few copies whose original plastic packaging was never removed.

Prior to the 1960s, records were generally sold without plastic packaging, and during the transition years leading up to widespread wrapping, albums were sealed in various ways. Some individual discs were enclosed in plastic, but had no wrapping around the album cover, while others were shipped in a loose plastic baggie.

Since the mid-60s, record companies have consistently sealed new albums in clear plastic to protect the cardboard jacket and verify that the disc inside is unused. The earliest shrink-wrap was often made of cellophane that became stiff and brittle over time. That material was replaced by thinner plastics during the 1970s, similar to the wrapping used on new albums today.

Factory-sealed records cause much debate among collectors: The value of an album often depends on its playability, which is impossible to determine if you cannot look at the condition of the disc itself, much less play it. It is also difficult to identify a specific album pressing without breaking its seal to view the record, which sometimes holds critical clues to its provenance.

Besides, even a record that's still enclosed in its original factory-seal might not necessarily be in perfect condition. Beyond unseen problems with the record surface such as ring wear, some unscrupulous dealers have their own shrink-wrapping devices, which can be used to protect a previously used record or to falsify the condition of an album that's actually been opened. But sealing a record does not hide everything about its condition. For example, if a wrapped album has a notch in it, indicted that it was given away to radio stations and industry insiders as a promo, that defect can be easily spotted. And sometimes the seal can actually be a sign of authenticity, as in sealed albums with stickers on their exterior shrink-wrapping showing the album's price or included tracks, both of which can be used to determine whether the packaging is original.

Despite these issues, there are specific albums that continue to fetch very high prices when in factory-sealed condition, such as the "Butcher" cover version of The Beatles’ “Yesterday and Today” from 1966 that sold for more than $26,000 in 2011. However, high-profile sales like this are almost always held by auction houses, whose vinyl experts are willing to guarantee the authenticity of a sealed album.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Gaston - S/t Lp - Chocolate Cholly's - Rare Modern Soul Boogie Sealed The Beatles "the Beatles In Mono" 180 Gm Sealed Vinyl 14 Lp + Box Set, Book NewU2 : How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb : Vinyl Record (2004) : Sealed : Mint Beck - Sea Change - Mfsl - 180 Gram - Oop New / Sealed Vinyl Record - MofiPink Floyd Lot Of 38 Lps 45 Cd Blue Vinyl Division Sealed Promos Japan AtomTogether - Ii Lp - Albradella - Private Modern Soul SealedTom Petty~rare Sealed Lp~into The Great Wide Open~1991 Usa 1st Press~out/printSealed Org. 4-vinyl Box - Drukqs By Aphex Twin, 2001, WarpCat Stevens "tea For The Tillerman" Mfsl Uhqr Lp Box Sealed Mfqr-1-035Joe Acosta The Power Of Love Lp Salsa Cha Cha Vinyl 70's Ghetto Rare!!! Sealed!!Parliament - Osmium - Original Press Invictus 7302 Sealed Lp - Their 1st Lp.The Beatles,white Album,apple,label White Vinyl,factory Sealed LpSleep Holy Mountain Lp Sealed Kreation Record Not DopesmokerSealed = Alice Cooper ~ Pretties For You ~ Flipped Acid PsychPearl Jam - Ten (uk 1991 Vinyl Lp - Still Sealed!! - Promo Stickered!!!!!!) RarePaul Mccartney~very Rare Sealed Lp~ram~1971 Apple Usa 1stpress~out/print~not180gRare Sealed Rock Lp/ Pink Floyd "dark Side Of The Moon" ~ Orig Stereo HarvestKusini Sealed Ost Lp ~ Manu Dibango Private Afro-funk Orig. 1975 Edition Mint SsThe Smiths Complete Super Deluxe Vinyl Cd Dvd Box Set Sealed RarePhish A Picture Of Nectar Deluxe Vinyl 2 Lps 180 Gram Limited 7500 New SealedSealed - The Kinks / Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)Beatles - White Album - White Vinyl - Uk Press - Still Sealed - MintRolling Stones~rare Sealed Lp~through The Past Darkly~1969 Usa 1st PressPink Floyd A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Rare Sealed 1987 Vinyl Lp +hype StickerVaughan Mason & Butch Dayo - Feel My Love Lp - Salsoul SealedProg Rock/ Pink Floyd - Delicate Sound Of Thunder (lp) SealedLed Zeppelin Lot Of 37 Lps 45 Japan Import Zep 2 Song Mono Yardbirds SealedTom Petty~very Rare Sealed Lp~full Moon Fever~1988 Usa 1st Press~out Of PrintLed Zeppelin~rare Sealed Lp~in Through The Out Door~1979 Usa 1st Press~out/printThe Beatles,yesterday And Today,early Stereo Lp,factory Sealed LpElton John~rare Sealed Lp~honky Chateau~1972 1st Press~uni Records Original LpThe Beatles / Revolver / Lp Vinyl / Mono 180 Gram Reissue Sealed LennonBeatles~very Rare Sealed Lp~a Hard Days Night~1964 Usa 1st Press?~uas 6366~oopCoheed And Cambria In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth Peach Vinyl Record SealedUhqr Sealed Crime Of The Century Audiophile Lp Mobile Fidelity Mfsl Mfqr 1-005The Damned Motorhead Motordamn 3 X 7" Ltd Ed 7" Vinyl Sealed & Mint PromoThe Beatles "white Album" 2-lp Mobile Fidelity Mfsl 2-072 Sealed My Chemical Romance Conventional Weapons Sealed 5x7" Box W/poster! Out Of Print!Face To Face - Big Choice Vinyl Lp - Sealed! Rare!The Beatles The Early Beatles Still Sealed Near MintLee Perry 4 Trojan Box Sets (all Of Them Mint Sealed Unopened)Third Man Records - Vault Package #16 / White Stripes / Elephant / SealedAnberlin - Never Take Friendship Personal Sealed 12" Vinyl Lp Tooth & Nail AndPurple [lp] By Stone Temple Pilots (vinyl, Jun-1994, Atlantic Usa) Still SealedFlamenco Fever "live Direct To Disc" M&k Lp Sealed!! AudiophileAllman Brothers~very Rare Sealed 2lp~eat A Peach~1972 Usa 1st Press~out Of PrintRolling Stones~rare Sealed Lp~some Girls~1978 Usa 1st Press~banned Lucy Cover My Chemical Romance "three Cheers For Sweet Revenge" Sealed Red Vinyl Lp RepriseLed Zeppelin~very Rare Sealed Lp~1st Album~1977 Usa Press~out Of Print AlbumDeep Purple~rare Sealed Lp~machine Head~no Cutouts Or Barcode~out Of Print AlbumSealed 1974 Orig! Alice Cooper ~ Muscle Of Love ~ Last Orig Group Lp Hard Psych The Beatles / Help! / Lp Vinyl / Mono 180 Gram Reissue Sealed LennonU2 All That You Can't Leave Behind Vinyl Lp Eu Pressing Still SealedKool & The Gang 1st Lp Orig De-lite Lp Funk Samples Still SealedU2 Super Rare Original Vinyl Lp How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb Still Sealed!Neil Young - Box Set - Archive Official Release Series - New/sealed Vinyl Blue Oyster Cult~rare Sealed Lp~1st Album~promotional Lp W/sticker & Promo InfoKiss Creatures Of The Night Lp Sealed Gatefold Picture DiscSonic Youth Goo Lp Vinyl Still Sealed! Not A Reissue. OriginalThe Beatles,let It Be,applelabel Stereo Lp,factory Sealed Lp