Tech

24 Albums in Your Parents' Basement Worth Serious Money

Published On 09/11/2015 Published On 09/11/2015

With vinyl making a comeback, plenty of you have made the wise choice of grabbing a turntable, raiding your parents' record collection, and picking out a few you'd like to "borrow." As it turns out, you could be scoring a whole lot more than cool points.

Referring to the median price listed on the ever-reliable vinyl marketplace that is Discogs, we've compiled a list of surprisingly valuable LPs that could, at this very moment, be collecting dust in your childhood basement. Click on the price links to get the full specs of each album, including a visual of the cover to keep an eye out for.

Wikimedia/penner

Prince And The Revolution - Purple Rain (Promotional version, 1984)

Price: $42.50
A promotional copy, pressed on purple vinyl and packaged with a poster, possibly owned by the parents formerly known as cool.   
 

The Doors - L.A. Woman ("Slide cover" version, 1971)

Price: $44.22
The slide cover version of this album -- with the band's photo printed on film and set against a cut-out opening in the sleeve -- reminds us that even the most respected of rock groups still resorted to gimmicks to move units back in the day.
 

Michael Jackson - Thriller (CBS Mastersound series, 1982)

Price: $52.91
The best damn version of "Beat It" available.
 

Bruce Springsteen - Blinded by the Light (Single, 1973)

Price: $72.00
A promotional single for an early Bruce tune, later made famous when Manfred Mann's Earth Band covered/ruined it. Mom and Dad had good taste. But you've got bills to pay.   
 

Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets (Rare label, 1968)

Price: $75.00
A brown Tower label, different from other releases of this album, significantly boosts the value. Because record collecting is strangely specific.
 

The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico (First pressing, 1967)

Price: $100.47
If your parents were hip enough to nab this art-rock classic on its first pressing, they're probably cool enough to forgive you for listing it on eBay. 

Wikimedia/GabboT

Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost of Tom Joad (First pressing, 1995)

Price: $108.29
This release may have the lamest Springsteen title next to Nebraska, but the fact that it has never been reissued on vinyl means you can make some sweet cash off of it.
 

Pink Floyd - The Division Bell (First pressing, 1994)

Price: $126.13
This one was released well into the age of the CD, which means that original UK LP copies are pretty attractive to collectors. Limited edition American copies are only slightly less valuable.
 

Phil Spector - Back to Mono (Boxed set, 1991)

Price: $152.56
Holding on to this boxed set celebrating the "Wall of Sound" pioneer is kind of hard to justify these days anyway. Though there's apparently a market for that sort of thing.
 

The Replacements - Let It Be (Limited edition, 1984)

Price: $159.09
It's already the second best Let It Be in music history. The value of these limited edition blue vinyl copies is just an added bonus.  

Wikimedia/Kreepin Deth

Metallica - Metallica (First pressing, 1991)

Price: $167.45
Metalheads are willing to shell out a lot of cash for original copies of this LP. Suddenly that Napster fiasco makes a lot more sense.
 

Tom Petty - Wildflowers (First pressing, 1994)

Price: $218.84
Found this later Tom Petty release in your Dad's collection? Sell it now. If they ever get around to rereleasing it on vinyl you can expect the value to plummet more quickly than Petty's post-'90s talent.
 

The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot (Limited edition, 1983)

Price: $249.75
If you find this album in the basement, I'd be willing to bet your parents have another, even more valuable stash hidden somewhere nearby. 
 

Bruce Springsteen - The Rising (First pressing, 2002)

Price: $256.01
It's a Springsteen album that's not old enough for a reissue yet, which means two things: vinyl copies are valuable, and fans still try to convince themselves they loved it.
 

The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Limited edition, 1996)

Price: $278.53
Why are people spending this kind of money on the original vinyl copies? Because they have two extra tracks. That's it, that's the only reason.
 

Zappa - The Old Masters, Box Two (Boxed set, 1986)

Price: $300.00
Honestly, what wouldn't you pay for a boxed set containing classics like "The Voice of Cheese," "Willie the Pimp," and "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask"?

Wikimedia/Erik Calonius

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon (Gatefold sleeve, 1973)

Price: $356.99 
This album has been reissued again and again and again, because experimenting during college has never stopped being a thing. The first pressing though, featuring a fully blue (rather than black) prism on the cover, a gatefold sleeve, and numerous other defining attributes, is way more expensive than the substances people use to "fully appreciate it, man."
 

Led Zeppelin - BBC Sessions (Boxed set, 1997)

Price: $479.34
This is an official collection of recordings that previously made the rounds as bootlegs. Honestly, buying up limited edition releases from classic bands is possibly the soundest investment strategy we could recommend. 
 

Phish - Lawn Boy (Limited release, 1990)

Price: $499.00
Only 1,000 copies exist. Tracking one down should take you about as long as it takes Trey Anastasio to wrap up a sweet jam. 

Wikimedia/EMI

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Boxed set reissue, 1982)

Price: $500.00
A limited edition, super high-quality reissue of the original concept album. It's valuable, rare (only 5,000 copies), and possibly not in your parents' collection, but maybe it's something you can buy with a little help from your (sorry even I couldn't finish that lame joke).
 

U2 - The Joshua Tree Collection (Boxed set, 1987)

Price: $664.22
The amount of money people are willing to spend on this promotional set is, ironically, exactly the amount we would spend to get a U2-free iPhone. 

Wikimedia/Jim Summaria

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (Rare first pressing, turquoise lettering, 1969)

Price: $802.70
A rare first pressing of Led Zeppelin's debut album features numerous defining details that distinguish it from future reissues, most noticeable being the turquoise lettering on the sleeve. When your folks bought it, it was just a subtle way of rebelling against your grandparents. Now it's legitimate memorabilia.  
 

The Beatles - The Collection (Boxed set, 1982)

Price: $1,000.00
Every Beatles album, remastered and packaged together. In other words, the only music you would ever need in your entire lifetime. 
 

Nirvana - Bleach (Limited release, 1992)

Price: $1,111.58
Only 500 copies of this vinyl reissue were ever released. It's rare enough to make you forget how much Kurt Cobain would've hated that kind of cynical cash-in.


Joe Oliveto is a staff writer for Supercompressor and shut up the Smashing Pumpkins were awesome. Follow him on Twitter.

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