The following is an Email reply about the availability to the general public of the 1st State Butcher covers when they were first sent out as advanced air-play copies.

In reply to your question about the Butcher Covers being sold in stores - they were NEVER absolutely positively EVER sold to the public! For some reason, rumors float around that people had purchased 1st state butchers in the stores. NOT true. No way. Capitol sent the 1st state butchers IN ADVANCE to radio stations and some large stores - 1 copy to each as just that - advance listening/play copies. The repercussions were so fast that LP's were recalled from those radio stations and stores that copies were never sent for sale.

It was within a FEW days of the ADVANCE copies being sent that they were RECALLED. Look at the date on the
Recall Letter vs the offical release date of the LP. The recall letter itself states: "In the past FEW DAYS you may have received an ADVANCE PROMOTIONAL COPY....". In addition, the recall letter also states: "ALL CONSUMER copies of the album will be placed in the new cover..." This all happened in less than a week. IF copies had reached stores for sale, there would be A LOT MORE first state copies out there. NO ONE HAS EVER turned up a 1st state with a store sticker on it. WHY haven't any copies shown up even in shrink with a store/price sticker?

EVERY OTHER CAPITOL LP exists in sealed/shrink condition with store stickers on them, and multiple copies are in collector's hands. BUT NOT ONE 1st STATE COPY OF THE BUTCHER HAS EVER BEEN FOUND with a price or a store sticker!

I discussed this exact situation with the late Gareth Pawlowski back in the late 1970's. Gareth was THE premiere Beatles collector worldwide, having started collecting in the EARLY 1950's! He was considered by many to be the world's leading authority/expert on Beatles releases issued from 1961 to 1967. Gareth bought every Beatles 45,EP,LP and memorabilia item AS THEY CAME OUT. His brother was a DJ with many connections. Gary was a friend of Randy Wood, president of VJ records, and also knew Mr. Livingston, the president of Capitol. he bought all of the records ON THE DAY of release, and checked back frequently for variations as weeks passed.

Gary emphasized to me that 1st state butcher covers indeed were NEVER sold in stores, 100% NO! Obviously the possibility exists that one of the stores or radio stations that received an advance copy sold it to an employee or friend, but NEVER did anyone walk into a retail outlet and buy one out of a bin. News of the recall hit the airwaves soon, and it was at that time that everyone rushed out to buy the "paste-over" copies.

Remember, only a FEW sealed first state copies exist. And mono's are not that common either. Before 1986, when Alan Livingston GAVE his son Peter a box of 2 stereo's and 11 mono copies that he had taken home and stored since 1966, hardly anywere heard of. The FIRST sealed butcher cover publicly offered to collectors was in 1974 in a large auction catalog printed by Jerry Osborne. A mono copy, it sold for a whopping $450.00, a lot for any rare record at that time. Only a few copies changed hands between 1974 and 1986, (including ONLY ONE stereo) before the 13 Livingston copies turned up. MOST of the sales since then have been the Livingston copies.

End of message.

The previous was a recent discussion between me and a well known, long time collector brought up by another Beatle fan that claimed he received his copy of the 1st state stereo butcher via a retail outlet.

The following is a recent rebuttal by Bruce Spizer, author of The Beatles’ Story on Capitol Records, Part Two: The Albums. Published in the year 2000.

They were not placed in stores by Capitol, which handled its own distribution through 25 or so company owned distribution centers. Capitol's distribution centers got the recall notice on the butcher before any were placed in stores. A small amount of Capitol's records were distributed through independent distributors, who serviced jobrackers for places such as department stores. The independent distributors did not get the recall notice in time, so some jobrackers got copies of the album and actually placed them in stores before they got the recall notice. Also, it is believed that Wallichs' Music City in Hollywood got all its Beatles records a few days before the other stores because Mr. Wallichs was a co-founder of Capitol and was still involved with the company. I have heard stories from two different people who claim they saw the cover in Wallichs on a Thursday afternoon, which would presumably have been the day before the recall notice went out on Friday, June 10. I believe that a very limited number of first state butchers were sold through department stores and Wallichs' Music City before the recall order went out.

As to why so few show up in shrink, remember, people normally removed the shrink wrap as soon as they bought an album. They bought records to play them, not to save them for anal-retentive collectors who want everything in the shrink. In the sixties, people normally played records and few wanted to leave the shrink wrap on as it had a tendency to bend the covers.

In the interest of being fair I've posted a few alternate prospectives of this story. Both seemed to have been researched and can be viable explainations. "The mystery continues!!!