|Over the years there have been many great finds for Beatle
record collectors, but probably the most significant was the discovery of 24
original sealed first state Butcher cover albums ten years ago. Prior to
this, there were only TWO known sealed stereo copies, and perhaps a half dozen
monos in collector's hands. That was until Thanksgiving weekend at the 1987 Los
Angeles Beatlefest convention. It was there that Peter Livingston, son
of 1960's Capitol Records President Alan Livingston (who signed the
Beatles to Capitol), walked into the dealer room carrying a box of original
first state Butcher cover albums.
Collector Perry Cox was the first person to approach Peter. Others nearby were skeptical and did not believe Peter was who he said he was. Perry instantly negotiated a purchase for one of the two stereo copies in the box, forking over a cool $2500.00 - and after witnessing this first sale, crowds quickly grew around Peter as word spread. The asking price for the mono copies was $1000. Within a matter of minutes, the ten mono and two stereo copies that Peter brought were sold. Some of these copies were later resold during the show for even higher prices. Just one week later, asking prices skyrocketed to $2000 for mono copies and $10,000 for the stereos!
What was most impressive was the fact that nearly every copy was not only sealed, but in mint condition - four perfect corners, unscuffed pristine shrinkwrap, and pure white covers. After the recall in 1966, Alan Livingston took home a full box of the albums - 5 stereo and approximately 19 mono - from the inventory that was to have had the new trunk cover pasted over. Stored in a closet under perfect conditions, these LP's were never touched and did not see the light of day for twenty-one years, at which time Alan gave them to his son Peter "to do with as you please". For authentication and source purposes, Peter had several notarized letters from his father that were given with each LP that was sold. In the months ahead, under request and pressure from collectors, Peter slowly sold the remaining mono copies, but by this time the price has risen to $3000.
Once word got out to long-time collectors, and with demand and popularity ever increasing, more copies changed hands and the price for monos within a couple of years zoomed to $5000. A stereo copy did not change hands until the early 1990's when one of the four known copies was offered and sold to a Washington USA collector for $20,000 cash, a world-record price. Not only was it one of the four sealed stereo Livingston copies, but it was the best - a 100% mint flawless perfect condition copy, which still to this day is the best in existence. In 1994 this copy was again sold, for $25,000, and remains in a California collection, in which the proud owner has vowed it will never be offered for sale.
In the past 7 years, very few of the Livingston copies have changed hands, as this is an item most owners consider the ultimate Beatle record to own. The Livingston issues are now considered pedigree copies, significant not only for their incredible condition but for the source and original owner being the former president of Capitol. The last reported sale, for a mono copy, was for $7000 in 1996. In comparison, the first known sealed butcher cover album to be sold on the collectors market was in 1974, when veteran collector Jerry Osborne auctioned a mono copy amongst thousands of other assorted albums and 45's. Collector Mitch McGeary won the bid, paying the then-tidy sum of $456!
In the past year, there have been no reported sales of any Livingston
copies. Shown below is the letter that accompanied the albums of this unique and
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