A quick guide to identifying Australian Beatles' LPs from 1963 to 1970:
Hi, my name is Peter and have been on eBay since 1999. During this time I've corresponded with many sellers and bidders concerning Australian Beatles' albums as well as UK and US ones. I have shared and tried to help others with information and have also learned many things in return. I have been a Beatles fan since the early-mid 1960s.
Okay. My research has been pretty painstaking and goes back many, many years. I've learned from my own experience as well as from others. I've done a lot of cross-checking and then some more checking and then even more checking.
The period I'm covering here is only the years between 1963 to 1970. And I'm covering this period because so many people seem to need help with this period. I've kept it very simple and straight to the point. There is of course so much more information I could share but the information below should suffice to help the collector with the basics.
I hope you will enjoy the information and hopefully it will help you in your search for original Australian Beatles' albums.
All regular single covers up until mid 1969 had the flipback design.
All stereo LPs up until Greatest Hits Vol.2 (released February 16, 1967) came with covers wearing a gold, black and white STEREO sticker on the spine (Note - the stereo Greatest Hits Vol.1 was released on February 22, 1968 therefore had the later black and white STEREO sticker).
The stereo LPs from Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band to Yellow Submarine all had the black and white STEREO sticker except for the album The Beatles (aka the "White Album") which had both the mono and stereo catalogue numbers printed on the spine and the word STEREO on the upper right-hand corner of the back. The mono issue had a black and white MONO sticker on the back of the cover over the word STEREO (there were at least two versions for the MONO sticker).
Here is a list of the Australian covers and their respective finish:
PLEASE PLEASE ME - UK made cover (reportedly around 500 UK covers were used) then an Australian made cover with a matt finish. The early Australian made cover only had the mono catalogue number on the back (top right-hand corner), while subsequent covers (up until early 1969) had both the mono and the stereo catalogue numbers.
WITH THE BEATLES - Laminated front. The early cover only had the mono catalogue number on the back (top right-hand corner), while subsequent covers (up until early 1969) had both the mono and the stereo catalogue numbers. The cover's artwork was unique to Australia.
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT - Laminated front.
BEATLES FOR SALE - Matt finish. The covers's artwork was unique to Australia.
HELP! - Matt finish.
RUBBER SOUL - Laminated front.
GREATEST HITS VOLUME 1 - Matt finish.
REVOLVER - Laminated front.
GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2 - Laminated front.
SGT.PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND - Originally released with a UK made gatefold cover which was fully laminated both inside and out and was made by Garrod & Lofthouse Ltd. Later on Australia made their own covers.
A COLLECTION OF BEATLES' OLDIES - Laminated front.
THE BEATLES (more commonly known as the "White Album") - Fully laminated (inside and out) top loader gatefold cover numbered with five digits as high as the ninety thousands. Early covers had the prefix "A" (up to the sixty thousands) and then it was changed to the prefix "No" and continued with this prefix up until at least late 1970. Apparently the mono version only had a small sale of just under 5000 units. The mono LPs can be found in both low and higher numbered covers with the prefix "A". The covers containing the mono version had a little black and white MONO sticker on the back covering up the green printed stereo reference. There were at least two mono stickers used. One simply said MONO while the other had a large M then small MONO text after it. The latter although a wrap-around sticker it was simply put over the stereo reference and not on the spine. The first posters that came with this album were censored with a few omitted photos, then restored partially on later numbered copies and then finally restored fully on later reissues. Apparently up to four poster variations exist in Australia.
YELLOW SUBMARINE - Laminated front.
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR AND OTHER SPLENDID HITS - Laminated front. World Record Club issue in Australia and New Zealand.
ABBEY ROAD - Came fully laminated. Some early covers had a colour blemish. A touch of red appeared on the road on the front picture (between Ringo Starr and John Lennon), hence the nickname "Blood Stained Cover".
HEY JUDE - Came fully laminated.
LET IT BE - The first issue came in a UK made inner and outer slip cover and had a specially shaped paper tray designed to hold the Get Back book. This book also had a special sticker mentioning the publisher credits relevant to Australia. This sticker was pasted over the UK credits. The slip cover was fully laminated. The inside regular cover was Australian made and was laminated on the front. This same regular cover was issued later in December 1970 with just the LP.
The first black and gold Parlophone label had the following credit "MADE IN AUSTRALIA FOR THE PARLOPHONE CO. LTD., SYDNEY, NSW" written in a semi-circular rim print at the bottom (both the ones in the UK made covers and the ones in the early Australian made covers contained this version of the label).
The second black and gold Parlophone label had the following credit "MADE IN AUSTRALIA BY E.M.I. (AUST.) LIMITED" written horizontally across the middle (this version was used on the last of the Please Please Me printed black and gold Parlophone mono labels as well as all the black and gold mono copies of With The Beatles).
The first original LP to appear on the black and yellow Parlophone mono label was A Hard Day's Night. And the last original LP to appear on the black and yellow Parlophone mono label from the 1960s (by the Beatles) was the album A Collection Of Beatles' Oldies.
All original LPs from Greatest Hits Volume 1 onwards (released June 7, 1966) now had the publisher NORTHERN SONGS added to the labels.
The Magical Mystery Tour And Other Splendid Hits LP was distributed through the World Record Club both in Australia as well as in New Zealand. The original record label was pale green and featured a large white "S" on both sides.
All LPs before Abbey Road had the publisher credits next to the spindle hole.
Early Abbey Road labels had NORTHERN SONGS as the publisher for the song Here Comes The Sun then it was changed to APPLE on subsequent issues.
All 1960s EMI LPs weighed from 150g upwards. Anything lighter is from the mid 1970s onwards.
Early Apple labels used thick bold fonts on certain label references (e.g. STEREO, THE BEATLES, etc.). Plus there were also some italics used on certain label references on the early Apple labels (e.g. 331/3 R.P.M., An E.M.I. Recording, etc.). Later Apple labels had thinner bold fonts and didn't use italics.
The promotional LPs came out with either a red 'bullet promo' sticker or a white promo sticker adhered to the record label. These promos were just designated promos, in other words, stock copies sent out as promos. They were the same issues as sold to the public except they had the promo stickers. Collectors should be aware that many promo stickers especially the 'bullet promo' ones are sometimes added by unscrupulous dealers to elevate the price. A good way to recognise first issue promos was that the promo stickers were added to the record labels before being pressed onto the vinyl, thus creating a slight indent in the label underneath. Look for this when considering buying a claimed promo LP.