SPOILER ALERT for record collectors! I am about to divulge information that could forever change the way you look at collectable records. And if you wheel and deal in old records, it might affect the way that you buy and sell those records. At least, it might change the way that you look at ads offering Elvis Gold Standard singles for sale, which seem to be a permanent part of the internet.
RCA Victor’s Gold Standard Series of reissues has been around for almost sixty years and has been reissuing Elvis singles since 1958. Many record dealers dismiss all reissues as being of no interest to most collectors and therefore of little value. Consequently, they ignore Elvis Gold Standards. If they pay any attention to these records, it’s the older ones with the glossy black labels from the 1950s and early ’60s, not the newer ones with orange and red labels from the late ’60s on.
If you’re an Elvis collector and aren’t collecting Gold Standards, you’re missing out on some fun!
Exactly how many Elvis collectors around the world are pursuing the Gold Standard Series is unknown. But I do know that there are enough collectors to maintain a healthy market for all of them and a ravenous market for some of them.
And I know two other things:
1. If you are an Elvis collector and aren’t paying attention to the Gold Standard Series, you are missing out on some fun parts of collecting Elvis!
2. If you are a dealer and aren’t paying attention to the Gold Standard Series, you are missing out on sales to some rather rabid Elvis collectors!
The title given this photo on Pinterest is “Elvis Presley Vintage Lot 21 Jukebox Records 45 RPM 1 Picture Sleeve.” In record collecting, claiming a record is a “jukebox record” can be confusing as it can (and should) mean a record manufactured specifically for use in jukeboxes, of which there were very few. But it is often used to refer to stock copies of records believed to have been used in jukeboxes, as this title implies.
Vintage lot of jukebox records
Take a look at the photo that I used as the featured image for this article: I pulled it off the internet from Pinterest. The title given it on Pinterest is “Elvis Presley Vintage Lot 21 Jukebox Records 45 RPM 1 Picture Sleeve,” which sounds like the title it would have had as an eBay auction.
It features twenty Gold Standard 45s, eighteen with the red labels that were used from 1969-1976 and two with the black labels used since 1976. There are four RCA Victor company sleeves with one Atco and one Goldies 45 sleeve. (There is also a picture sleeve peeking through the spindle hole of the first record in the third row from the top.)
In other words, this is a hodgepodge lot and would probably not attract the attention of many buyers. Yet photos like this accompany ads on eBay all the time, often with records that are graded “like new” and “never played.” These records often feature relatively low (actually, ridiculously low is probably more accurate) asking prices.
And lots like this sell fast!
Because the red label Gold Standards are hot items with many Presley collectors and many of those red label records are very hard to find.
RCA Victor 447-0631, I Feel So Bad / Wild In The Country, is an odd duck, being a rather rare record issued among several rather common numbers in the Gold Standard Series: 447-0629, Are You Lonesome Tonight? / I Gotta Know; 447-0630, Surrender / Lonely Man; 447-0634, Little Sister / (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame; and 447-0635, Can’t Help Falling In Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby. The odd duck can sell for $100 in near mint condition whereas the others sell for $10-20.
It’s a long lonely highway
So, you don’t believe that those early ’70s reissues sell for much? Here are two red label Gold Standard 45s that sold for more than $100 each on eBay in the past two weeks:
• In one instance, a lot of four records sold for $119.50, except the entire amount was paid for to acquire just one of the four records: 447-0631, I Feel So Bad / Wild In The Country. How do I know this? Because the buyer told me so!
• In the second instance, one of the rarest red labels (447-0654, I’m Yours / (It’s A) Long Lonely Highway) sold for $141.50.
And that’s nothing compared to what the rarest black and orange label Gold Standards are fetching! But that’s another story and another reason you should stay tuned to the series of articles on the Elvis Gold Standard series 45s and EPs that will be appearing here on my blog …
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page was found on Pinterest, where it appears to have been pulled from an eBay advertisement. I cropped it so that it has more impact, hopefully, to pull in a reader or two. The records in the featured image is the kind of ad that would appear on eBay and sell for $50 for the lot of them. The average buyer would look at this sale and the low price would only serve to confirm to him that red labels are only worth a few bucks. But the person who bought the lot would probably turn around and sell them for $10-30 each!
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, this article is a teaser for a series of articles on the Elvis Gold Standard singles and EPs. There will be at least ten articles (including a price guide for hundreds of records) for this as yet unnamed series.