Last week an unusual piece of vinyl crossed our desks, and it has left us a little stumped.
I've sold more than a few rare records in my time – after all, it's how I got started in the collectibles industry – but in all my years I've never come across this particular gem...
Anyone who bought this copy of the classic Toy Dolls punk cover of 'Nellie the Elephant' in 1984 may have been surprised when they stuck it on their turntable. Because after dropping the needle, the first thing they would have heard would be Paul Young singing one of the most famous first lines in pop history: "It's Christmas time..."
In 1984 the world was shocked by television footage from Ethiopia, showing the devastating effects of the civil war and famine which had ravaged the country.Boomtown Rats front man Bob Geldof decided to act, and gathered some of the world's most famous pop stars together to record a single which would raise more than $24 million to help fight the famine.
Produced by Ultravox's Midge Ure, the track featured appearances from many of the world's biggest recording artists. Members of U2, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Kool and the Gang joined Boy George, George Michael, Paul Weller and Sting, along with dozens more, in a North London studio on November 25.
Just four days later 'Do They Know It's Christmas' hit the shops, and smashed all previous records by selling a million copies in the first week alone. It became the fastest-selling UK single of all time, outselling every other track in the Top 40 put together, and stayed at Number 1 for five weeks.
To date the single has sold almost 12 million copies around the world, and remains one of the most iconic singles of the 1980s. It's also one of the most collectible, having been released on an amazing 99 different formats over the years. This 7" version is certainly one for completists, or the army of record collectors who specialize in miss-pressed vinyl.
But just like every piece that comes into the office, we want to know more about it. We know the record is rare, but we don't know exactly how rare, so we thought – if there's one group of people who might have the answers, it's our highly knowledgeable readers.
If you're an expert with some more background information, we'd love to hear from you. If you're a dealer with an idea of its value, drop us a line. And if you're a collector desperate to get your hands on this rarity, get in touch.