SOLD: $75,000 for Beatles 'Butcher'

The controversial album a favorite among collectors

September 21, 2015
By James Massey

NEW YORK, USA - A rare, sealed, 1966 Beatles Yesterday and Today First State Stereo "Butcher Cover" LP (Rated GEM MINT 10 Condition) has fetched $75,000 at Heritage's Music Memorabilia auction over the weekend.
Beatles Record

Why So Much?

In 1966, The Beatles 'Butcher' (album) cover was put out as an early release of "Yesterday and Today." The album immediately drew criticism due to its image of The Beatles covered in raw-meat and baby-doll parts.

There was such an uproar, Sears only had the album out for one-day before pulling it from shelves. Many stores refused carry it all.

This led to the majority of the albums being recalled so a less controversial image (sticker) could be placed over the album cover. The recall, makes original (first-state) versions extremely rare, and copies in excellent condition even rarer.

The Heritage auction listing does an excellent job explaining the albums rarity in greater detail;

"A very limited number of "first state" albums got out and were kept by journalists, radio stations, and record company executives. In 1966, stereo had yet to take over the marketplace (for one thing, they cost more than the mono copies); it has been estimated that mono was produced in a ten to one ration over the stereo version. There were certainly fewer of these that found their way into collections. Again, a much smaller number of these were never removed from their shrink wrap. An infinitesimal number of those still-sealed examples were kept in the beautiful condition of this one."

Overall, rare Beatles items are one of the hottest collectibles in the marketplace today, sometimes fetching staggering amounts.

In March of 2013, a rare copy of The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), signed by all four band members, sold for $290,500. The sale broke the world record for the most expensive record sold at that time.

Video: The Beatles Butcher back-story, from a 2003 Antiques Roadshow appraisal

Auction Data & Statistics

According to Heritage Auction's online view-counter. There were over 1,100 visits to the listing, with 8 bidders participating in the auction (via Internet/Mail/Phone) In the end, a phone bidder won.

For more information and close-up photos of the album see; Heritage Auctions lot #90114.

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