Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I don't own a turntable, and have no vinyl music. Still, it is interesting to read what you say about records and their values. They are very important to music history.

I do have several hundred compact discs, and I'm wondering if any CDs are now valuable. If so, what are some examples?
—Hugh D. Bock, Cudahy, Wisc.

DEAR HUGH: Many are, but the odds are against you finding them among your collection. This is because their high values are specifically the result of them being very scarce.

Below are 10 interesting and randomly chosen examples, listed alphabetically by artist. While not all of these are among the world's most valuable, they represent diverse styles of music as well as issues from different countries:

1. Tori Amos - “Precious Things” (Atlantic): A 1992 US five-track promotional picture disc. Value: $400 to $600.

2. Coldplay - “The Safety EP” (Coldplay): 1998 UK issue, of which Coldplay made 500 to promote their band as well as give to friends. Has three tracks. Value: $1,000 to $1,500.

3. Mylene Farmer - “Pardonne-Moi” (Universal): Made in France in 2002, this promo comes with the disc sandwiched between two circular pieces of laser-etched glass. Has only the one track. 150 made. Value: $1,000 to $1,500.

4. Elton John and Larry Adler - “Someone to Watch over Me” (Lalique): Labeled “A Gift from Lalique,” this 1994 US promo came out in conjunction with “Elton's Singing Angel,” a Lalique crystal cherub (made in France). Elton is accompanied on this track by the harmonica brilliance of Larry Adler. Value: $750 to $1,000.

5. Nirvana - “Penny Royal Tea” (Geffen): UK-made 1994 promotional issue. Intended for the media but distribution was unexpectedly cancelled. Has only the one track, though it is the Scott Litt Mix of “Penny Royal Tea” and not the common LP (“In Utero”) version. US releases show this title as “Pennyroyal Tea.” Value: $1,500 to $2,000.

6. Pet Shop Boys - “Totally” (EMI): From Japan, a 1988 11-track promo disc. Value: $2,000 to $2,500.

7. Elvis Presley - “Elvis' Gold Records, Volume 2 (50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong)” (RCA/BMG): US promotional item, of which only 50 exist. Instead of the standard text and track listing, has only “Sample” printed on a picture disc. Value: $1,000 to $1,500.

8. Prince - “My Name Was Prince” (Warner Bros.): 1993 issue made in Japan for their media. Among the world's most valuable CDs. Value: $4,500 to $5,000.

9. Rolling Stones - “Steel Wheels Japan Tour, 1990 Feb.” (CBS/Sony): Made in Japan in conjunction with the band's tour there. Created for the media, with 22 tracks on two discs. Also includes a 1990 Japan tour poster. Value: $4,400 to $4,600.

10. Bruce Springsteen “The Future of Rock 'N Roll” (CBS/Sony): Another promo only release from Japan. A 1988 double CD. Disc 1 has 14 tracks from the '70s, Disc 2 contains 16 tracks from the '80s. Value: $1,800 to $2,200.

IZ ZAT SO? Not included in the batch above are the many elaborate boxed sets, most of which have high list prices that usually correspond to the number of CDs and how elegant the packaging is.

There are dozens more but here are 12 titanic collections that come to mind, listed in order of disc count:

1. “Complete Bach Edition By Haenssler Classics” (171 CDs). Value: $700 to $800.

2. “Complete Works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart” (170 CDs). Value: $475 to $525.

3. “Artur Rubinstein Collection” (94 CDs). Value: $800 to $900.

4. “Arturo Toscanini Collection” (82 CDs). Value: $800 to $900.

5. “The Who Live, 2002 (25 Complete Concerts)” (50 CDs). Value: $500 to $750.

6. “Original Elvis Presley Collection” (50 CDs). Value: $475 to $525.

7. “Madonna - The Mini CD Singles Collection” (40 CDs). Value: $350 to $400.

8. “Bob Dylan - Jewels and Binoculars (The Definitive 1966 Collection)” (26 CDs). Value: $475 to $500.

9. “Frank Sinatra - The Capitol Years” (21 CDs). Value: $475 to $525.

10. “Ultimate Queen Collection” (20 CDs). Value: $800 to $900.

11. “Frank Sinatra - The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings” (20 CDs). Value: $475 to $525.

12. “Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio” (18 CDs). Value: $475 to $525.

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