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    

Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion 2 Lp Geffen 90s Metal Rock Sealed Original!Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion 1 Lp Geffen 90s Metal Rock Sealed Original!Iron Maiden 2 X Lp..brave New World..hmv Exlusive.limited 500 Copies Only.sealedPrince Rare Lotusflow3r Vinyl Sealed First Edition Limited 2lp Lotus Flower 2009The Beatles Yesterday And Today Butcher Cover Mono Lp New Sealed Mint ReissueDavid Bowie Starman Uk 40th Anniversary Rsd 7" Picture Disc New/sealedOasis"don't Believe The Truth".new/sealed 2005 Vinyl Lp+gatefold Cover.unplayed!The Jam Paul Weller Sound Affects Tesco Ltd Pink Vinyl Lp SealedCeltic Frost Tragic Serenades 1986 Combat Mx 8107 Mega Rare Still SealedRadiohead A Moon Shaped Pool 2lp White Vinyl New/sealed Burn The Witch Pearl JamPearl Jam Yield Factory Sealed Us Lp Rare 1998 1st Pressing ~ Free Pj Patch!Dead Boys - Young Loud And Snotty Lp - Sire SealedMuddy Waters Folk Singer Mfsl Lp Sealed GatefoldDavid Bowie A Reality Tour Ltd Edition Blue Vinyl Box Set New Sealed No ReserveBlink 182 Greatest Hits Vinyl 2xlp Sealed New Clear Black White SplatterIron Maiden Brave New World New & Sealed Double Album Vinyl Hmv ExclusiveNew Sealed Blink 182 Purple Vinyl Record California + Download Mark Hoppus Trav The Beatles ~ Abbey Road ~ Factory Sealed Limited Edition Picture DiscCaptain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica 2xlp - Warner Bros SealedQueen - Greatest Hits Lp - Elektra SealedPearl Jam Twenty Vinyl Soundtrack. New, Mint Condition And Factory Sealed. Sealed 1970 Orig ~ Pugsley Munion ~ Just Like You Hard Raw Cream Psych Blues JamGrateful Dead - Steal Your Face 2xlp - Grateful Dead SealedBig Star Number # 1 Record *factory Sealed* Alex Chilton 1972 Original *notched*Iron Maiden 2 X Lp Brave New World Hmv Exclusive Limited Copies Only SealedAlice In Chains By Alice In Chains Featuring Grind Vinyl Factory Sealed NewKate Bush Hounds Of Love Ltd Edition Coloured Vinyl SealedBlur - Thinktank - Remastered Sealed VinylPublic Image Limited - Metal Box 3 Lp Rare Sealed No Rust 1979 Sex PistolsBoogie Funk 12" Sweet Fat Back & Dicks Hat Band-in Your Ear Chancy - Sealed Mp3Your Exotic Prince - Speak Up - Rare Private Sealed Funk Spiritual Jazz LpDeftones Covers Lp New Sealed Mint Limited Edition! ScarceMy Morning Jacket It Still Moves Deluxe 4 Lp Set! New Sealed Mint ScarceJohn Lennon Frank Zappa ~ Some Time In New York City ~ Factory Sealed 1st PressMichael Stearns Planetary Unfolding Private Space Ambient Synth Prog SealedTony Rojas Introducing Latin Lp Rico Original Rare Mono SealedBaroness - Blue Record 2xlp - Relapse SealedGary Numan - Telekon(uk 2015 Sealed Double Red Vinyl Album!!!!!)Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True Lp - Mfsl SealedMonkees, The The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees Sealed Pop Psych OriginalQueens Of The Stone Age Feel Good Hit Of The Summer Rated R Lp New Sealed Mint Concert For Bangla Desh 3xlp Still Factory Sealed 1971 Orig Beatles Bob DylanDavid Bowie - Heroes Lp - Rca Victor SealedThe Jam,in The City,red Vinyl L.p,sealed,12" Disc,picture Sleeve.weller Sound.R.e.m Monster Us Lp Sealed Original Wilco My Morning Jacket Pearl JamTubeway Army(gary Numan) - Replicas(uk 2015 Sealed Orange Vinyl Album!!!)White Stripes - Elephant 2xlp - Third Man SealedMarie Antoinette Soundtrack Double Lp Factory Sealed The Cure Bow Wow Wow Dissection - Reinkaos Lp - Lim. White Vinyl (sealed) - Melodic Black Death MetalIron Maiden, Brave New World, Double Black Vinyl, Hmv Exclusive, Factory SealedAwol - S/t Super Rare Private East Coast Heavy Metal Lp Sealed! Sealed Old Stock 60’s Andrew Hill Blue Note 84159 JudgementBadfinger - Magic Christian Music Lp - Apple SealedLightning Hopkins - The Blues Lp - Mainstream SealedVaughan Brothers Family Style Epic Lp Sealed Van Halen! "balance"! Mint Sealed On Warner Bros!The Beatles ~ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ~ Rare Sealed Picture DiscLed Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy [super Deluxe Edition Cd&vinyl] - New + SealedMadonna 1990 The Immaculate Collection Double Lp Rare Item, Sealed In Wrapping. Paul Mccartney - Memory Almost Full Lp - Hear Music Sealed