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    

The White Stripes Icky Thump Mono 2x Lp 180grm Third Man Records Vault #1 SealedU2 Songs Of Innocence Lp Test Press Vinyl New Sealed Very Limited Ready To Ship!U2 Songs Of Innocence 12" Lp Test Press Vinyl New SealedBeck Sea Change Lp Mfsl Rsd Pink Vinyl Sealed Rare OopSealed Blink 182 Enema Of The State 12" Splatter Vinyl Lp Fall Out Boy Green DayU2 Songs Of Innocence Lp Test Press Vinyl New Sealed Very Limited Ready To Ship!Pearl Jam Record - Vault 3 Vinyl - Constitution Hall Lp-sealed In Original Box!!Morrissey Rare Original 1997 Pressing Maladjusted Sealed Us Vinyl Lp The SmithsLoveship Self Titled Cash Ear Lp Sealed Private Modern Soul Boogie Sealed Rare Free Jazz Holy Grail Brother To Brother Lp Joe Mcphee 1971 SpiritualAfi Sing The Sorrow 2xlp Vinyl Red. Rare Oop Limited Sealed Nofx Misfits Grateful Dead Lot Of 62 Lps 45 Cd Grey Touch Sealed Poster Promo Fillmore VaultRare Original Sealed 1983 Lewis L'amour R.a.w. Lp Record - Private Synth FolkDaft Punk Tron Legacy Soundtrack 2lp Sealed Uk Disney 2011 Oop Ltd #4875/9072Pink Floyd The Wall Lp Japan Mint With Obi & Clear Sticker 1st Pressing Sealed2pac All Eyez On Me 4lp Sealed Original Death Row 1996 Hip Hop Rap Dr. DreSealed Blink 182 Dude Ranch 12" Splatter Vinyl Lp Fall Out Boy Green Day Kellee Patterson Maiden Voyage Still Sealed Orig Us Lp Funk Soul Black Jazz HearMort Garson Plantasia Lp Nm Private Synth Electronic Psych + Book Sealed RareEvil Dead Rare Sealed Original Horror Soundtrack Lp OstGorillaz Demon Days 2lp Sealed 2005 Uk Parlophone Oop Dangermouse Blur Rare Phish Junta Pollock Edition Lp Limited SealedSealed Baritone Tiplove-livin' Foul Lp Mega Rare Random Rap *phill Most Chill*Iron Maiden Piece Of Mind Original Usa 1983 Picture Disc Sealed / MintPucho & The Latin Soul Brothers "super Freak" Latin Funk Lp Groove Time SealedGang Starr Moment Of Truth 3lp Sealed Noo Trybe 1998 Oop Hip Hop Rap Dj PremierEvil Dead 2 Rare Sealed Original Horror Soundtrack Lp OstMfsl 1-088/ Mobile Fidelity/ Crosby,stills,nash & Young / Deja Vu / New/ SealedJade In Pursuit Lp Sealed Pesante Records Pmf 050 Original 1975 Private FunkNew Wave/ Depeche Mode - 101 (2lp) SealedThe Clash - London Calling - 2 X Vinyl Lp - 1980 Sealed + Warning Sticker! NosTame Impala "lonerism" Rare Deluxe Box Set Still SealedBlack Sabbath - 3 X Pic Disc Lps Still Sealed (ozzy, Metal, Zeppelin, Purple)Mfsl 1-100 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Beatles Sgt Pepper Lonely Sealed Mint LpRare Pink Floyd Tmoq Sealed #5/19 Green Colored Vinyl Venice In Furs 7/15/89 NewCoil "live In Leipzig" 2 X Lp White Cover New SealedNightmare On Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors Soundtrack Lp '87 Orig Sealed! RareMetallica - Whiplash. Megaforce Us Import 12" Ep (mrs-04) *sealed*Kanye West 808s And Heartbreak Vinyl 2xlp + Cd New Sealed DeluxeMfsl Bob Marley & Wailers "catch A Fire" 1-236 Sealed Lp Sealed Concrete Click-lyrical Terrorism Lp Mega Rare Indie Rap '95 Kate Bush - Aerial-rare Promo- New And Factory Sealed -2xlp-mint-original 2005Tom Petty Wildflowers Lp SealedPink Floyd Wish You Were Here Sealed Unplayed Mint 180 Top Audio And Cover~~~~~The Thing Rare Sealed Soundtrack Ennio Morricone Horror Lp OstPhilips 6599 373 Arthur Grumiaux Encore! Bravo! Da Capo! Sealed Promo *mint*Jimmy Page Robert Plant Walking Into Clarksdale 2 Lp Sealed Mint With StickerElvis Presley From Nashville To Memphis 6 Lp Box Set Sealed Limited EditionSandy Denny - Northstar Grassman & The Ravens - *sealed* Uk 1971 1st Press Lp Sealed Blink 182 The Mark, Tom, And Travis Show 2 X 12" Vinyl Lp Fall Out BoyUhqr Sealed Holst The Planets Ss Audiophile Lp Mobile Fidelity Mfsl Mfqr 1-510The Green Hornet Tv Soundtrack Rare Sealed Mono Lp Billy MayKiss-destroyer Lp Casablanca 1976 Sealed Original Mint Rock Steady Ryan Adams 1984 7" Vinyl W/10 Short Tracks New And Sealed.Foo Fighters: Self Titled Debut Lp Vinyl Album (dave Grohl Nirvana) New SealedThe Gaslight Anthem - The 59 Sound Blue Vinyl Lp - 1st Press New And SealedThe Who Lot Of 30 Lps 45 Cds Mono Happy Jack My Gen Magic Sell Out Orig Sealed John Frusciante Shadows Collide With People 2004 Us 2 Lp SealedLed Zeppelin Iv Very Rare And Out Of Print 200gram Classic Records Sealed.Fall Out Boy From Under The Cork Tree Cokebottle Clear Vinyl 2xlp Sealed New