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    

Rare Lp - Phase 7 Playtime Modern Soul Boogie Broad Records Original Sealed !!Sonic Youth "goo" 4 X Lp Vinyl Boxed Set Sealed Nirvana Pavement Dinosaur JrJade Stone & Luv Mosaics Pieces Of Stone Sealed Original Private PsychMeet The Beatles~ Rare Factory Sealed Original 64` Mono LpKiss - Alive 35 Donington 2008 On Vinyl!! Rare!!! 2 Lp Set New & SealedGil Melle "andromeda Strain Ost" Electronic Psych Lp Kapp SealedPhish Rift Magnaball Limited Edition Lp Sealed Blue Vinyl W/ David Welker PrintPearl Jam Vs Vitalogy Deluxe Box Set Sealed Ten Club Vedder Soundgarden BradRare Lp - Hunt's Determination Get Your Act Together! Funk Soul Sealed !!Morrissey Gold Vinyl - Viva Hate - Very Rare Hmv 12" Lp, New + Sealed, 1 Of 500Morrissey Gold Vinyl - Vauxhall And I - Rare Hmv 12" Lp, New + Sealed, 1 Of 500Phish Rift Vinyl Limited Edition David Welker Print/poster Sealed Low #00224Pink Floyd - Meddle 1987 Mfsl Mobile Fidelity Lp No. 182!!! – Rare & Sealed!Eddie Vedder Ukelele Songs Us Lp Sealed Original Pearl Jam SoundgardenMetallica -and Justice For All -2lp-ultralimited Edition On White Vinyl -sealed!Mad Season Above Record Store Day Us 2lp Sealed Pearl Jam SoundgardenMad Season River Of Deceit Us 10" #'d Red Vinyl Sealed Pearl Jam SoundgardenMetallica-self-titled Black Album Sealed Vinyl 12" First PressHal Blaine Psychedelic Percussion Sealed Mono Psych Jazz Rock Wrecking CrewGhost - Meliora 2015 Hot Topic Exclusive - Smoke Grey Vinyl - Sealed!Babyshambles - Down In Albion - 12" Vinyl Lp Sealed The Libertines Pete DohertyNine Inch Nails - The Fragile - Triple Lp - Vinyl 1999 - New Unopened And SealedPhish Lawn Boy 180-gram Vinyl 2xlp Sealed Rsd 2013 Numbered Etched D-sideFunkadelic Maggot Brain Westbound Unipac Original Still Sealed LpPearl Jam Live On Ten Legs Us 2lp Sealed Vedder Ten Club SoundgardenThe Beatles Beatles 65 Original Lp Still SealedPearl Jam No Code Us Lp Sealed Original Pressing Vedder Ten Club SoundgardenQueen Made In Heaven Lp/cream Vinyl 1995 Limited Edition Rare Sealed/mintThe Beatles~magical Mystery Tour Factory Sealed Original 67` Gatefold Lp!Freddy Fender Canta Lp Crazy Cajun Latin Rare Original Tex Mex Salsa SealedLouis Smith: Here Comes Louis Smith Blue Note Lp / Mono Ua? Factory SealedDef Leppard - Hysteria - Rare New Sealed 1987 Mercury Records "12 Lp Hard RockSealed - Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever -sealed Crc Record Club Edition Mca-6253 LpTame Impala Tame Impala Ep 2013 Rsd Exclusive Red Colored Vinyl New & SealedRyan Adams Live At Carnegie Hall Vinyl 6xlp Box Set Sealed NewStill Sealed:the Awakening-hear, Sense And Feel.1972 Black Jazz Records Bjqd/9. New Sealed 12" Lp The Beatles Yesterday And Today Butcher Cover Colored Vinyl Bob Marley And The Wailers Legend 30th Anniversary Vinyl 2xlp Tri Color SealedNeil Young: Dead Man Soundtrack, Vapor, Germa, Factory Sealed, Beautiful, LpSealed '77 Avant Garde Spiritual Jazz Killer Lp Dizzy Reece Possession ExorcismIron Maiden "maiden England 88" Limited Double Lp Picture Disc SealedSmashing Pumpkins Pisces Iscariot Vinyl 2xlp 180 Gram Remastered Sealed NewThe Geto Boys - Self Titled - Rare Original Rap 1st Pressing Sealed 1990 LpBad Religion 30th Anniversary Box Set Box Open Records SealedLed Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy [super Deluxe Edition Cd&vinyl] - New + SealedMonster Magnet "dopes To Infinity" Double Lp SealedLost And Found Everybodys' Here Sealed Original PsychFinchley Boys Everlasting Tributes Golden Throat Private Original Sealed LpGodspeed You! Black Emperor "asunder, Sweet & Other Distress" Lp+poster SealedPhish - Junta - Deluxe Lp Edition - 3 Lps 180 Gram Vinyl - Sealed - Jemp RecordsId Where Are We Going Aura 1976 Private Psych Prog Still Sealed LpGothic Horizon The Jason Lodge Poetry Book Sealed Folk PsychPearl Jam Vitalogy Vinyl Lp Sealed NewAmigo Stepping Stones Vj Private Psych Still Sealed LpPhish - Rift - Magnaball Edition - 2 Lps 180 Gram Vinyl - Sealed - Jemp RecordsPaul Mccartney "driving Rain" Still Sealed France Import Capitol/parlophoneSkinny Puppy- Remission- 1984 Canada Sealed RecordMuddy Waters Folk Singer Mfsl SealedThe Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers Vinyl 2xlp Sealed New 180 Gram Zipper CoverKaty Perry Teenage Dream White Vinyl Lp Sealed New 2xlp