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Eric Clapton for Collectors

Jun 8, 2012 at 4:04 PM | Vinyl | By Oscar Jordan

With Cream, John Mayall & The Blues Breakers, The Yarbirds, or on his numerous solo albums, Eric Clapton has continually proven himself to be the quintessential blues rocker. His melodic, soulful leads earned him the moniker “Slowhand” and established him as the first guitar hero of the late 60’s British blues boom. His single-minded dedication to the blues helped bridge the gap between traditional and popular music, shape the history of rock ‘n’ roll and earn him the honor as Rolling Stone Magazine’s No 2 on the list of 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time. After an amazing forty plus year career, it’s no wonder he’s a three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a recipient of seventeen Grammy awards.

Clapton’s diverse career has produced a substantial market for rare vinyl collectibles. Stephen M.H. Braitman of MusicAppraisals.com is an expert on rare vinyl recordings and shares with us some of the more expensive items of value to collectors. “Clapton as a solo artist has fewer interesting collectibles than the bands he’s come from,” explains Braitman.

To give you an idea of what’s out there; an original white label mono pressing of Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs is worth up to $1,025.00 in mint condition. This particular recording is very rare and a prized possession amongst audiophiles because there were only a few hundred produced. The original UK mono pressing of Cream’s Wheels of Fire is desirable because it’s the British edition and not the American edition. “Just the fact that it’s the original British copy makes it more desirable than the American copy - they had much higher fidelity both in mono and stereo,” says Braitman. “The highest price someone paid for it in mint condition was $1,010.00.”

A rare mint condition Japanese EP promo version of The Yardbirds’ “For Your Love” could demand up to as much as $856.00. The seven-inch promo pressing of “Change of Address” from Blind Faith has an interesting story. When Island Records changed their address in England, they sent out a seven-inch record to announce it. They put a Blind Faith song on it for publicity. There were only five hundred copies made, and Blind Faith wasn’t even signed to Island Records yet. It’s not a very well known recording, but collectors have paid as much as $1,064.00 for a pressing in mint condition.

“The Yardbirds’ “I Wish You Would” was their first single. The UK seven-inch promo single is very rare,” Braitman explains, “It’s rare and valuable for both the British and American versions. The fair market value for it is in the $200 to $500 dollar range. Because it’s a promo copy it makes it even more valuable and rare. The American Epic promo copy of “I Wish You Would” is equally as rare and valuable. What’s sexy about it is the promo only picture sleeve which is one of the most famous American picture sleeves of the 1960s, and rarest to find.”

The seven-inch German pressing of “Boom Boom” by The Yardbirds is mega rare. “It was a single that was only distributed in Europe,” says Braitman. “The fact that it has a German picture sleeve is very beautiful and totally rare. The recording pre-dates “For Your Love” and “I Wish You Would,” and is their first recording. It’s consistently valuable. $600.00 is about an average price for this recording.

Blues Breakers – John Mayall – With Eric Clapton is one of the great albums of all time. It’s remained in print since 1966 and is a classic. The original mono UK pressing is a collectors item and very hard to find. If you’re lucky enough to find one, expect to pay in the $500 to $600 range.”

These Clapton collectibles are an interesting addendum to an amazing career. Aside from being known as a guitar icon, blues ambassador, and Grammy winning recording artist, Clapton’s shadow looms large in many facets of the music world. Take a trip to your attic, garage, or basement, and look through your old vinyl records. You just might find some rare, valuable gems worth sharing on Rock Square.

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