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    

Andrew Wartts "there Is A God Somewhere" Rare Gospel Soul Funk Lp Champ SealedNirvana Sealed Mfsl 1-258 Audiophile 1/2 Speed Master 200g Lp Nevermind Grunge  Pink Floyd~omay Yad~factory Sealed Live/studio Lp~trade Mark Of Quality TmoqThe Beatles Lot Of 60 Lps 45 Cd Pic Disc Milk Imagine Sealed Veejay P/s T-shirtOasis Don't Believe The Truth Limited Edition Vinyl Lp. Still SealedFallen Angels, The Self-titled Sealed Psych Original In StereoPink Floyd ~ Meddle Mfsl Lp ~ Factory Sealed!Gary Higgins Red Hash ~ Original 1973 Private Folk Psych Lp Factory Sealed!Beck Sea Change Lp Mfsl Rsd Pink Vinyl Sealed Rare OopSuede Singles Box Set Sealed 24 X 7" Vinyl Dog Man Star Oasis BlurRare Sealed Metallica Kill Em All Lp Original 1983 Megaforce Records MintJade Stone & Luv Mosaics Pieces Of Stone Sealed Original Private PsychIron Maiden -the X Factor- 2lp- Ultralimited Edition On Red Vinyl- Sealed!!Pink Floyd Echoes 2002 4-lp Box Set Factory Sealed!Sealed Meet The Beatles Lp Original Record 1st Us Pressing T 2047 Capitol MonoBrand New Deja Entendu Vinyl 2xlp Sealed 180 GramFrank Sinatra ~ Sinatra At The Sands Mfsl ~ Factory Sealed!Nirvana - Nevermind Mfsl Mofi Press Number 29 Factory Sealed! Jurassic Park Lp Mondo Soundtrack Dino Dna Splatter Sold Out Vinyl SealedVinyl Films Records 10" Box Set Pearl Jam Sun Kil Moon Sealed Record Mccready Pink Floyd ~ Atom Heart Mother Mfsl #551 ~ Factory Sealed!Talking Heads Speaking In Tongues Lp Picture Disc Sealed Robert RauschenbergBeck - Sea Change Mfsl Black Vinyl Press 4060 Still Sealed!U2 Songs Of Innocence 2x Lp Record Store Day New/sealed Ltd #3676/5000The Beatles The White Album Vinyl 2xlp Sealed New 180 Gram Mono 2014Paloma Faith ‎– A Perfect Contradiction Vinyl Double Lp Mint Still SealedSealed The Beatles Let It Be Lp Ar 34001 Original 1st Us Pressing Apple RecordsKiss 1974 Debut Sealed Lp 1974 Original Casablanca Records Wolf Alice My Love Is Cool - Ltd 2x 12" Gold Vinyl Lp Sealed Signed Promo PhotoTeenage Fanclub Grand Prix Sealed Original Limited Edition With 7" Extra TracksBeatles Lot Of 3 Sealed Lps Anthology 1 Anthology 2 Live At The Bbc Import Mono Buster Williams "pinnacle" Jazz Funk Lp Muse SealedKim Fowley Outrageous Sealed Crazed Garage Psych OriginalSalem's Wych 'betrayer Of Kings' Original 1986 Private Metal Sealed Lp! Godspeed You! Black Emperor "asunder, Sweet & Other Distress" Lp+poster SealedPink Floyd ~ Dark Side Of The Moon Mfsl ~ Factory Sealed!Panic! At The Disco A Fever You Can't Sweat Out Vinyl Record Lp SealedPink Floyd Atom Heart Mother Mfsl Mofi Press 32 Still Sealed!Sealed The Beatles For Sale Lp 1964 Stereo 1st Uk Parlophone Press Pcs 3062 MeetMetallica -justice For All Tour, Japan 1989- 3lp-ultralimited Edition- Sealed!!Rare Sealed Metallica Whiplash Lp Original 1983 Megaforce Records Mrs-04 MintCrosses Signed 2xlp Rare All 3 ††† Rsd 2014 Colored Vinyl Sealed Ep Lot DeftonesTexas Chainsaw Massacre Death Waltz Originals Colored 2x Vinyl Lp Rare! Sealed!Blink 182 Greatest Hits Splatter Colored Vinyl SealedAc/dc -pavillon De Paris 1979-1lp -ultralimited Edition- Blue Vinyl-sealed!!Run The Jewels Gold Colored Vinyl Lp Killer Mike Debut Album Reissue New SealedTaylor Swift Red Vinyl 2xlp Sealed NewDave Mathews Band Dmb Live Trax Vol 3 180g 4x Green Vinyl 8-27-2000 Rsd SealedPeter Gabriel Lot Of 10 Lps 3 Sealed Melt Face Mask Genesis Awed Promo Us TakrlRare Sealed Kiss Killers Lp 1st Press German Pressing 1982 Casablanca Alive IiExit, The Sealed 1970 Private Various Folk 2 Psych Tracks By "better Daze"Sealed Pink Floyd The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn Lp Italy Pressing Record WallAlabama Shakes Sound And Color Vinyl 2xlp Clear Sealed NewElvis Presley Tiger Man On Tour Lp Factory SealedGorillaz Demon Days Uk 2lp Sealed Original Parlaphone Blur Oasis New Order MobyKiss - You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best!! Double Lp Still Sealed Comp 1996Rammstein -sehnsucht -1lp -ultralimited Edition- Sealed!!Sunset - Forgotten Kingdom Mega Rare Private West Coast Metal Lp Sealed! Nirvana Bleach Vinyl Lp Sealed NewSealed Rush 2112 Lp 1976 Original Srm-1-1079 S/t Record Gatefold Crc