John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and The Rolling Stones top the charts for collectible vinyl

It was this week, in September 1966, that The Beatles landed at number one in America with their classic vinyl LP "Revolver." The album remains one of the most critically acclaimed in history, with Rolling Stone magazine ranking it as the third best of all time.

Since then, The Beatles have of course disbanded and much of music has changed forever. However, for many collectors the classic sounds of vinyl continue to provide an investment that is both good on the ears and the wallet.

In fact, collectible vinyl records are positively booming in today's market. In 2009, sales of vinyl rose by more than 5% whilst CD sales endured a 20% decrease.

Elsewhere, in the US sales of vinyl have reached over three million units a year. Online retailers are also starting to get involved, with shopping giants Amazon now offering over 250,000 vinyl albums to customers, in an effort to cater to this growing demand.

Furthermore, with the market figures positively booming, the number of rare collectible vinyl records bought and sold through private shops and dealers could make the real market value almost double the current estimates.

One online source recently reported that since Michael Jackson's death in 2009, second hand copies of "Thriller" on vinyl had sold for more than 200% of their listed price, whilst even rarer Jackson vinyl has skyrocketed in value.

With these figures in mind, here is the definitive top ten collectible vinyl investments:

10.  Sex Pistols - "God Save the Queen" 7"

Released in May 1977, this vinyl caused an immediate media storm due to its controversial cover design, which featured a defaced picture of Queen Elizabeth II.

According to English law, this was illegal under the offence of Contempt of Sovereign.

It didn't prevent the design being named the #1 all time greatest cover by Q Magazine in 2001.

Today, rare vinyl copies of this piece are available for a sold entry level investment price of  £7,000 ($11,500)

 9.  Elvis Presley - "Special Christmas Programming" LP

Rare Presley vinyl recordings have become highly collectible over the last few years.

However, it's this single-sided 12" promotional album made for only a handful of American radio stations which is most sought after by collectors.

On the current market, only three known copies are thought to exist, with the original plan being that on December 3, 1967 the recording would be played as part of a one of event. Based on recent sales, this nearly unique vinyl is worth at least £10,000 ($15,000) and definitely worth investing in.

8. The Rolling Stones - "Street Fighting Man" (US Edition) 7"

Arguably one of the most controversial Stones singles to ever come out in the US, this 7" vinyl had originally been released as the lead single from "Beggars Banquet" in August 1968.

However, the song was heavily criticised for its subversive lyrics and timing of release which was within weeks of the 1968 riots at the Democratic National Convention.

Therefore the single received little or no airplay and reached only number 48 in the charts. To add further fuel to the fire, the cover featured an infamous photograph from an American riot. Versions of the single featuring this picture are the highly sought after.

Aside from the socio-political issues surround the single, this vinyl is also highly valued by collectors due to the use of mono recording alongside choruses that feature vocal overdubbing, a feature not found in the album's stereo version. An investment in this single vinyl will set you back around £10,400 $16,000.

7.  Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain Blues"  LP

Dubbed "the most important blues singer that ever lived" by Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson is recognised as one of the biggest blues icons of the first half  20th century and died at the age of just 27.

In only a single year of recording from 1936 t o 1937 he set the template for singing, song writing and guitar technique in the blues genre.  

The vinyl "Love in Vain Blues" was his last recording before his death. Today, there are less than 10 copies of this collectible record in known existence. It is currently valued at £13,000 ($20,000).

6.  Velvet Underground & Nico - "Eponymous" LP

Ignored by the general public upon its release in 1966, the value of this piece of music memorabilia has grown ever since. 

 In 2006, it was deemed culturally significant enough to be added to the National Recording Registry at the United States Library of Congress.

Today, the US edition Acetate edition of the album is highly sought after by collectors.

 The piece comes in a plain sleeve and features alternate recordings of the tracks, carries an estimated value of £16,300 ($25,200)


5. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Axis: Bold as Love" LP

First released in the December 1967 this classic slice of psychedelic rock captured Hendrix at the peak of his powers. Featuring both "Little Wing" and "Bold as Love" rare editions of this vinyl remain highly sought after by fans.

One collector paid £20,000 ($30,000) for a signed copy of the disc at auction in New York in 2007.

4. Bob Dylan - "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" LP

Currently listed top of Goldmine Album Guide's list of the "100 Most Valuable U.S Albums," this rare vinyl was recorded back in 1963.

However, the first batch of the album was scrapped following a reshuffle of the track listings which was attributed to Dylan's "artistic reasons."

Whatever, the cause, somehow, some vinyl with the original track order found their way onto the market.  Though rare, this version of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" is actually available in two slightly different formats.

The mono edition is currently valued at £13,600 ($21,000). Yet it is the stereo version which is most valuable, with only a handful thought to be in existence.

This edition is currently valued at £23,000 ($35,000).

3. The Beatles - "Yesterday and Today" LP

Back in 1966, The Beatles caused quite a stir with the release of their vinyl LP "Yesterday and Today."

Produced for US and Canadian audiences only, it was the LPs infamous "Butcher Cover" which caused the most controversy. The image featured the Fab Four in white coats alongside decapitated baby dolls and slabs of meat.  

Besides the imagery used, vinyl collectors have also valued the album highly because of the use of duophonic stereo sound on classic tracks like "I'm only sleeping" which helped to create a unique Beatles recording.

Today, an investment in this rare Beatles LP could cost as much as £26,000 ($40,000).

2. The Quarrymen - "That'll be the Day"/ "In Spite of All the Danger" LP

Before John, Paul and George formed The Beatles, they were part of a group known as "The Quarrymen."

And so it was that in 1958, the group gathered at Phillip's Sound Recording Services in Kensington, Liverpool to record their one and only record. And we mean one and only.

The two song vinyl featuring a cover of "That'll be the Day" alongside the original McCartney song "In Spite of All the Danger."

 The record was truly unique in that, it was the only one ever made.

Having been passed around the group for a few weeks, the vinyl was thought lost, until another founding member discovered the disc and sold it to McCartney for an undisclosed amount in 1981.  Today this unique memorabilia piece is valued at £116,700 ($180,000).

1. John Lennon & Yoko Ono - "Double Fantasy" LP

Whilst it may seem surprising to find Lennon's last album here, it is in fact a unique autographed edition of the vinyl album which currently holds the world record price.

At around 5.50pm on December 8, 1980, a fan approached Lennon with a copy of the album in New York. Lennon happily signed the LP, handed back the vinyl recording  and carried on down the street.

Five hours later, he would be gunned down by Mark Chapman. With this signed vinyl representing one of the last pieces of memorabilia to come from the music icon, it is little surprise to find the unique piece valued at £340,300 ($525,000).


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