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    

Loveship Self Titled Cash Ear Megco 9253 Lp Sealed Private Modern Soul Funk David Bowie Five Years Sealed New Vinyl Lp Records Box Set X 13 With H/back BookDavid Bowie - Blackstar Clear Vinyl - 2015 U.s. Barnes & Nobel 1st Press SealedDavid Bowie Who Can I Be Now Sealed New Vinyl 13 Lp Records Box Set H/back BookChocolateclay Self Titled Cat 2610 Lp Sealed David Bowie - Blackstar 180g Clear Vinyl - 2015 German 1st Press - New/sealed Funkadelic Self Titled Westbound 2000 Lp Sealed *factory Sealed* Lp + Posters "dark Side Of The Moon" Pink Floyd Prog Psych Gem!Stranger Things Soundtrack Vinyl Lp - Vol1 Invada Mail Order Exclusive SealedGrumiaux Klien Mozart Great Violin Sonatas Philips Digital Ed.1 5 Lp Sealed NewThe Beatles A Hard Day's Night Original Factory Sealed Lp Near MintRyan Adams - Rock N Roll Lp Lost Highway 2003 SealedElvis "speedway" Sealed Original Lsp-3989 W/stk, Photo, 1968 Stunning Sealed LpOasis Time Flies Vinyl Boxset - Brand New And SealedRyan Adams - Orion - Paxam 006 2010 Lp Sealed Clear VinylDavid Gilmour Live In Gdansk Box Set 5 Lp Vinyl New Sealed No Reserve Deep Purple Lot Of 29 Lps 45 Early Purple Rsd Sealed Imp Promos Mark PowerhouseDavid Axelrod Songs Of Innocence Sealed Capitol St-11362 Stereo Lp Jazz FunkDave Matthews Band Vinyl Sealed Live Trax Vol 1 Box Set Limited & #'d Blue VinylSealed 12"~radikal Doodz-definately On/caton Park Kool Out~mega Rare Random Rap!Michael Jackson Blood On The Dance Floor Sealed 2lp+hype Sticker History RemixesRyan Adams And The Cardinals Iii / Iv 2 X Lp Pax-am 008-01 2010 SealedLamont Johnson - Nine... A Mystical, Musical Allegory Lp - Masterscores SealedGremlins Soundtrack 2xlp Brown Green Swirl Vinyl *sealed* Mondo Jerry GoldsmithBo Diddley The Black Gladiator Checker Lp Sealed Twin Peaks Soundtrack Lp Brown Marble Vinyl *sealed* Angelo Badalamenti Mondo Beatles On Apple —white Album— 1978 Limited Edition 2xlp | White Vinyl | Sealed!Stone Temple Pilots ‎core Lp Rare Sealed Rsd 2013 Yellow Vinyl Hand Numbered Still Sealed!!! Orig 1968 Dreams & Images By Arthur = A Loner Folk Psych HipsterPeter Broggs "rastafari Liveth" Reggae Lp Ras SealedLot Of 18 Violin/cello Classical Lps - Audiophile, 1st Edition, SealedPearl Jam Vinyl Lp Avocado Original 2006 Sealed 2lp Set 1st Print Vinyl RecordsBeatles Paul Mccartney & Wings-1973 Apple "red Rose Speedway" Lp-still Sealed Black Crowes - Before The Frost/until The Freeze Sealed 2 Lp 2009 Silver ArrowTwin Peaks Soundtrack Lp Brown Marble Vinyl *sealed* Angelo Badalamenti Mondo Pearl Jam Vs. Vinyl 1993 - 1st Press Z 53136 New Sealed GatefoldHerbie Hancock - Takin' Off Lp - Blue Note - Bst 84109 SealedLaury Webb "woman My Queen" Reggae 12" Reality SealedLot Of 21 U2 12" And Lp Promo October Some Sealed Look Nice Condition Rare Bono The Ramones Lot Of 2 Lps Sealed 2 Lp Ramonesmania Blue Vinyl Shock Treatment The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed Original Factory Sealed LpRare Sealed 12" Lp~willie D-controversy (album Sampler)~original On Rap-a-lot!Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon 30th Anniversary Vinyl Lp 2003 Sealed/mint-Pink Floyd ‎-zabriskie Point The Complete Sessions Vol. One Sealed Blue Vinyl Lp Frank-zappa-beat-the-boots-box-8-lp-1991-sealed-mint-w-pop-up-display-t-shirt Ronnie Benjamin "celebration Time" Reggae Lp A&b SealedBruce Springsteen Devils & Dust Sealed Near Mint 2 X Lp 2005, Sony Music The Immaculate Collection - Madonna Blue / Gold Usa 2-lp Vinyl New / SealedRare Led Zeppelin Limited Lp Never Healed #189 / 250 Near Mint SealedSealed 1969 Orig (john Lennon + Eric Clapton): Plastic Ono Lp + Calendar "apple"The Doors Live At Aquarius July 1969 3lp Vinyl Record Store Day New SealedBeatles Paul Mccartney & Wings-1973 Apple "band On The Run" Lp-still Sealed Jutta Hipp W Zoot Sims Lp Blue Note 1530 Mono 70s Pressing? Sealed No CutSealed! Iron Maiden "the Final Frontier" 2xlp Picture Disc Limited Free ShippingElvis "promised Land" Sealed Quad Album Perfect Apd1-0873 1975 LpAfi Sing The Sorrow Limited Edition Double Album Colored Vinyl **still Sealed**Elvis Presley 24 Karat Hits! & Elvis Is Back Set Dcc Audiophile 3 Lp Sealed Unfolding How To Blow Your Mind And Have A Freak-out Party 1967 Lp Psych SealedBeatles Paul Mccartney & Wings-1971 Apple "wild Life" Lp-still SealedEast Side Story Vol. 6 Sealed Lp New Lowrider Oldies, Doo Wop