Thursday, 28 April 2016


Title: Transilvanischer Hunger
Reason for update: 5 mispressed discs (4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree...)

The world of collecting is a strange one.  There are people out there who will specialise in seeking out items in their areas that are incorrectly printed or made and pay well over the odds for them, far in excess of the value of the item proper.  Two fields of collecting are particularly prone to this niche market - stamp collecting, and coin collecting.

One of the best examples I can give you of this is the Inverted Jenny (also known as an Upside Down Jenny), a United States postage stamp first issued on May 10, 1918 in which the image of the Curtiss JN-4 airplane in the centre of the design appears upside-down. Only one pane of 100 of the inverted stamps was ever found, making this error one of the most prized in all philately. A single Inverted Jenny was sold at a Robert A. Siegel auction in November 2007 for US $977,500. In December 2007 a mint never hinged example was sold for $825,000.  A block of four inverted Jennys was sold at a Robert A. Siegel auction in October 2005 for US $2.7 million.

Of course this is a volatile area for valuation like anything else in life: in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, prices fetched by Inverted Jennys have receded. Between January and September of 2014, five examples offered at auction sold for sums ranging from $126,000 through $575,100.

So unusual is good, mistakes can be valuable, weird is king.

And music collecting is no different in some regards, as all sorts of peculiar cock-ups happen when humans get involved in the process of pressing CD's and records.  You get the wrong labels being affixed to vinyl, the wrong artwork or colour scheme appearing on the sleeve, misprints in the text (I'm sure I recall a story where Venom's legendary "At War With Satan" release was incorrectly written up as "At War With Stan" on one release!?), and even the wrong music on the release.

This latter mistake is where some collectors find the most value in errors: there's a Judas Priest picture disc from 1984 with Neil Diamond songs on it, due presumably to a boozy Friday lunch-time balls-up at the pressing plant.  It sells for around US$30.  I  bought a Grateful Dead CD once (only once, obviously, that was more than enough) and it actually has Sonic Youth music on it.  Value? Ooooh, around $1 I should think...  On the other hand, The Beatle's 'Love Me Do/PS I Love You' 1962 7-inch single in demo format (250 copies) contained the misspelling, 'McArtney', making it now worth a staggering £3000.  Go figure...

All of which is rather a rambling way to bringing to your attention these 5 Elisabetha CD's, which Hugin threw into one of his highly anticipated parcels years ago.  It's basically a misprinted version of what proved to be the last ever Elisabetha release in May 2010, a cover of Darkthrone's "Transilvanischer Hunger", with the text printed on the wrong side, as you will have seen from Hugin's narrative on the back of the sleeve they came in.  How this happened I dread to think, knowing that boozy Friday lunchtimes are probably not that common in the W.A.R. studios, so we will have to assume that someone other than Hugin was responsible for this heinous travesty!

Of course, as uber-rare Elisabetha collectibles of the future they have to be worth ... well, let's say $10,000 apiece, conservatively, though as you're a good looking person with obvious good taste in music you can have one for the knock down price of $5,000 only, or two for $7,500.  Go on, you know you want to.

You'd be quite right in thinking that there's not a lot you can do with such items, really, other than to nod sagely for a little while as you look at them before returning them to the library shelves. However, with a burst of creative thought and enthusiasm, Nazgul has realised that with a bit of manipulation they can be turned into a fairly realistic likeness of our old bootlegging cyberpunk friend, Kenji Siratori....

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