The high-dollar sale was the largest transaction on the site this August, as evidenced in a summary of the Top 30 Most Expensive Items Sold on discogs.com for that month. Besides Metallica’s sophomore effort, others included a copy of Nirvana‘s first-ever vinyl single, 1988’s “Love Buzz” b/w “Big Cheese” (which sold for $3,499), and an original U.K. pressing of the Beatles‘ 1963 debut LP, Please Please Me (purchased at $3,369).
While, in 2020, both of those vinyl records’ first issues are notoriously hard to find — especially in tip-top condition — none are as elusive as a test pressing of a Metallica release.
Just by sheer numbers, any test pressing of an album is going to be a lot rarer than its retail counterparts. That’s simply because vinyl test pressings are only ever manufactured in limited quantities for artists, producers and record labels to approve before a release gets sent off for full-scale fabrication.
The sale page for the particular test pressing of Ride the Lightning shows that nine other Discogs users claim to have possession of the uncommon Metallica album. While $5,000 is undoubtedly the most it’s ever sold for on the website, a collector in Russia is currently attempting to sell another copy for $7,000.
The one purchased in August is displayed in generic white slip sleeve plastered with a sticker bearing Metallica’s logo and the name of the album. Written in blue ink on the sleeve are a few identifying markers. The record itself bears a center label from the Music Connection, but nothing’s inscribed on the label.
It just goes to show that a rare Metallica album can draw top dollar in the right marketplace. Would you pay $5,000 for a test pressing of Ride the Lightning?
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