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    

Kmfdm Nihil Lp Wax Trax Original Sealed 1995 90s Industrial Store Stock Luna Live 2xlp Arena Rock Ltd Edition Indie Rock 2002 Sealed Store StockCome Gently Down The Stream 2xlp Matador 90s Rock Sealed Store StockProdigy The Experience 2xlp Xl Electronic Rock Sealed Store Stock ReissueWhite Stripes Third Man Records Sealed Vault Package 13White Stripes Third Man Records Sealed Vault Number 12S.o.u.l. "what Is It" Rare Funk Soul Lp Musicor SealedRsd 2015: The Jesus And Mary Chain - Psychocandy: Live Ltd Red Lp Mint/sealedPearl Jam - Lost Dogs Vinyl - First Pressing - Sealed - 3 X 12" Lp - 2003Beck "sea Change" Sealed Mfsl Mobile Fidelity Audiophile Rock 2lp Mint Low #edNirvana In Utero ***ultra Rare Albini Mix!!!!!! Sealed!!!!!!The Beatles The Early Beatles Original Lp Still SealedPearl Jam - Avocado Vinyl - 2 X 12" - Sealed - 2006 - First PressBob Marley • Rsd 2015 12 X 7" Coloured Vinyl Singles Box Set • Sealed • White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan Rsd 2015 Sealed 2lpLos Hermanos Rivera - No Hay Suerte Lp - Llegue - Rare Latin Salsa Sealed CopySuede - Dog Man Star Live Royal Albert Hall(uk 2015 Sealed Rsd Double Vinyl Lp!)Org 65 Robbie Basho Vol. 1 Seal Of The Blue Lotus Lp Psych Folk Guitar Takoma ExPearl Jam Rearviewmirror Vinyl - 2 X 12" Lp - SealedWes Anderson Rsd 10" Soundtrack Moonrise Kingdom Alexandre Desplat SealedJunta [deluxe Lp Edition] By Phish (vinyl, Apr-2012, Jemp Records)-sealedThe Beat - 7" Singles Box Set(uk 2015 13x7" Vinyl Box Set / Mint / Sealed!!!!)Sigur Ros - Takk Lp Original Uk SealedThe Beatles Lot Of 3 Sealed Lps Anthology 1 Live At The Bbc Let It Be W/ 45 U2 Songs Of Innocence Record Store Day 2015 Vinyl Sealed Rsd 2 Lp #92 Last One!!Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings The Flood** Us 2015 Rsd Sealed Ltd. Ed. Red VinylAlice In Chains S/t 2 Record Set New Factory Sealed Deluxe Gatefold Jacket Foo Fighters Songs From The Laundry Room Rsd 10" Vinyl- Brand New, Sealed & RareFoo Fighters Medium Rare Rsd Lp New SealedWhite Stripes Get Behind Me Satan 2 Lp Rsd Red & White Vinyl 3d Cover SealedU2 Songs Of Innocence Vinyl 2xlp - Rsd 2015 Exclusive 1082/5000 New SealedBeastie Boys - Licensed To Ill Lp - Def Jam SealedBad Religion Box Set 15 Lps All Records Still Sealed Afi Nofx Descendents PunkU2 Songs Of Innocence Double Lp Sealed Record Store Day Rsd 2015 1662/5000Ian Dury - New Boots And Panties(uk 2015 Sealed Rsd Double Coloured Vinyl Album)Eddie Vedder Ukulele Songs Sealed Vinyl Record With Book Pearl JamWillie Wright - Telling The Truth Lp Sealed Original Hotel Private Soul FunkBeastie Boys Pauls Boutique 2xlp Vinyl 20th Anniversary Edition New SealedDusty Springfield • What's It Gonna Be • Rsd 7" 2015 Single • Sealed • Garbage -self Titled (vinyl 2 Lp Simply 180 Gram Svlp 123) ~~sealed~~White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan Vinyl Sealed Rsd Record Store Day 2015 Nada Surf Sealed Limited Numbered Original 5lp Box Set + 7"+ 24 Pages Book John Mayall - Blues Breakers - Mfsl Mofi Audiophile Vinyl - Mint SealedDavid Bowie 1966 Record Store Day 2015 6 Track 12" *new/sealed*Elvis Presley - Hound Dog/don't Be Cruel - Rca Victor Sealed Original 45Picchio Del Pozzo - Same Amazing Original Italian Prog That's Still Sealed!!!!Rsd 2015: Ian Dury - New Boots And Panties Ltd Coloured Vinyl 2lp Mint/sealedPearl Jam Vault 4 Live Bellingham 5/10/2000 3 Lp Black Vinyl **sealed** Ten ClubNj Indie Rap 12" Reggie Reg-presence Of The Past Da Junky's Son;sealed;listen!!Red House Painters Rsd 2015 Lp Vinyl Box Set Bronze /1500 Brand New SealedLawn Boy By Phish (vinyl, Apr-2013, Jemp Records)-sealedStevie Ray Vaughan Greatest Hits Sealed Usa 1995 1st Press Lp W/ Hype StickerLrx: Lot 2 Rob Zombie Picture Disc Collection Factory Sealed Hellbilly SinisterPearl Jam Lp Vitalogy Epic Rare Sealed Orig 1994 Embossed Cover Record Store Day Rsd 2015 Biffy Clyro Puzzle Double 12" Vinyl. New And SealedThe White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan - 12" Vinyl Lp Sealed Rsd 2015 Jack TmrNirvana Nevermind 4 Lp SealedParamore Brand New Eyes Og Usa 2009 Color Vinyl Lp Still Sealed Fueled By RamenBedhead Live In Chicago Rsd Lp Record Store Day 2015 Numero Group New Sealed 350V/a Guitar Safari Lp University Of Vice Rsd 2015 African Surf Sealed Rare!