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    

Oasis 2x Lp Defimitely Maybe 1994 Creation 1st Press Mint Factory SealedPortishead - Third | Vinyl 2lp | New SealedOasis 3x Lp Box Set Stop The Clocks Big Brother 1st Press Mint Factory SealedPearl Jam - Vitalogy | Vinyl 2lp | New Sealed (ten, Soundgarden, Nirvana)Oasis 7x 10" Lp Box Set The Masterplan Fan Club Only Press Mint Factory SealedOasis Lp Heathen Chemistry 2002 Big Brother 1st Press Mint Factory SealedOasis Lp Dont Believe The Truth 2005 Big Brother 1st Press Mint Factory SealedThe Courteeners The 17th Remixes Limited To 500 Pink 12" Vinyl Sealed Rsd17Sigur Ros - Aegis Byrjun | Vinyl 2lp + Cd | New Sealed (takk, Von)Portishead - Dummy | Vinyl Lp | New SealedElvis Presley International Ep Collection New Sealed 11 Ep Boxed SetOasis 5x Lp Box Set Time Flies 1994-2009 Big Brother 1st Press Factory SealedColdplay The Singles 1999-2006 7" Vinyl Singles..mega Rare, Still SealedPorcupine Tree, Up The Downstair, Limited Hmv Purple Vinyl Album,factory SealedPorcupine Tree,on The Sunday Of Life,limited Hmv Blue Vinyl Album,factory SealedMastodon - Crack The Skye | Vinyl Lp | New SealedDay Of The Dead Soundtrack Vinyl Lp - Zombie Grey Swirl *factory Sealed*Mondo Daredevil Vinyl Soundtrack New & Sealed MarvelMetallica - Kill Em All - 2016 Blackened Misprint Sleeve Remastered Vinyl SealedOasis 2x Lp Dig Out Your Soul 2008 Big Brother 1st Press Mint Factory SealedThe Clash, Give 'em Enough Rope, Limited Edition Blue Vinyl Album,factory SealedBeatles - Sealed Sgt. Pepper - 2017 2lp 50th Anniversary W/promo Lithograph!Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction Vinyl Lp 180gsm-new/sealed, Free DeliveryDr Dre - The Chronic | Vinyl 2lp | New Sealed (snoop Dogg, Nwa)David Bowie - Be My Wife - 40th Anniversary 7" Picture Disc - New & SealedJawbreaker - Unfun Lp, 1990 Very Rare 1st Pressing 1/200 On Clear Vinyl - SealedLed Zeppelin - Ii Lp - Atlantic SealedDavid Bowie Five Years 1969-1973 13 Lp Box Set Sealed Parlophone Glam Rock ZiggySealed 10lp 180g - Johanna Martzy / The Emi RecordingsThe Beatles Beatles Vi Original Factory Sealed LpMfsl Santana Abraxas One-step Sealed!Mfsl Bill Evans Trio Live At The Village Vanguard One-step Sealed!Oasis Time Flies 1994-2009 5 X Lp Vinyl Box Set Limited Edition New/sealedMoby Grape Rare Mint Sealed 2 Lp With Promo Stickers!Pearl Jam Vault 3 Vinyl Constitution Hall Washington Dc 9/19/98 New SealedPink Floyd~meddle~ultra Rare Us Orig71 1st Press Factory SealedSealed Toto Iv (4) 1-250 Mfsl Lp Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Audiophile New #0692Iron Maiden~complete Collection 1980-1988~8 Sealed Picture Disc Albums~mint!The Beatles Abbey Road Original Factory Sealed LpSpice Girls - Spice - Rare Sealed 1996 Virgin LpFactory Sealed 1968 Them - Now And Them Lp Tower St 5104 Psych Van MorrisonJohn Frusciante - Curtains Vinyl Lp, 180 Gram Mint Still SealedEagles Self Titled Debut Album. Original Factory Sealed Vinyl Lp 1972 Sd-5054Sealed 4lp Lot Rolling Stones Greatest Hits Teledec German PressJay Z Linkin Park Collision Course Blue Vinyl + Dvd Sealed RareSealed Question Mark And The Mysterians 96 TearsBst 1595 Cannonball Adderly - Somethin Else 45 Rpm 200g Clarity Svp Ii Lp SealedPink Floyd: Echoes - 12" Dutch Import 4-lp Vinyl Boxed Set, 2001 Emi, Sealed/newRare Linkin Park One More Light Sealed Record Green Limited Chester BenningtonGrateful Dead Sealed 4lp Vinyl Spring 1990 So Glad You Made It Garcia Weir LeshLos Juniors "querias Salsa?" Rare Private Latin Guaguanco Salsa Lp Futuro Sealed30 Lp Lot Various Artists Jazz Pablo All Mint Still Sealed Lps UnplayedDavid Bowie Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) 13 Lp Box Set Sealed Parlophone GlamMadonna "the Immaculate Collection" Record. Original 1990 Pressing *sealed*Jurassic Park 2x Vinyl Lp Record Mond-017 B0019564-01 Rare SealedStevie Ray Vaughan - In-step, Cstw, Texas Flood,- 180 Gram Still Sealed Vinyl !!Eric Clapton Studo Album Collection 1970-81 9xlp Box Set Sealed Rock GuitarFunkadelic Maggot Brain Westbound Records Wb-2007 Unipak 1971 Original *sealed*Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy Sealed Vinyl - Classic Records 180g LpVan Halen ~ Looney Tunes ~ Nm ~ Still Sealed ~ Orig ~ 1978 ~ Promo ~ Pro 705