eBay
  • eBay Deals
  • Win a Car!

LP Fraud Information for Buyers on eBay

jollyoz
By Published by
. Views . Comments Comment . 2 Votes
Hi to all the happy bidders out there!
 
My name is Peter and I have been into records since the mid 1960s and have been collecting since 1970. I have accumulated a vast knowledge and experience over the years by constant research. I don’t know everything and can tell you nobody does. Many sellers on here seem to think they do.
 
Beware of sellers who miraculously seem to have bought a vast number of records on the first day of issue or close to it. Most of the time the most legendary albums of course. They will call a 2nd pressing a first and make all kinds of claims about different sequence numbers still being a first pressing. They confuse first pressings with first issues. Sometimes first and second pressings came to the shops at the same time. But a second pressing is always going to be a second pressing no matter how much you want it to be a first. I’m honest and will tell it like it is.
 
Some further information for those who care to know:
 
Fraud information for LP buyers:
 
This guide is meant to help bidders identify misleading listings and false claims. Hopefully, it will benefit bidders and stop them being ripped off.
 
One of the biggest problems I see from sellers is their IT'S A FIRST PRESSING claims.  I remember having contact with one particular seller from the UK.  And we were on pretty friendly terms.  One day that all changed when I noticed that he had a listing that had different matrix information compared to a previous listing of another copy of the same LP.  I thought that maybe he had made a mistake.  When I asked him about it he came back extremely hostile and rude making all kinds of accusations.  This seller, whom I wish I could name, makes many misleading claims.  And he also contradicts himself.  LPs that you could by for say $50 from other sellers he sells for maybe ten times that amount.  Why you may ask?  Because he gives the impression that he knows better than others so this gives bidders an air of confidence in him.  I feel sorry for bidders who are putting their trust in what this seller is saying.  But he is not alone as there are many sellers making false claims.  I will address some of these below.
 
Matrix numbers on LPs:
 
Okay.  Matrix numbers can be tricky but generally they all tell you the same kind of information.  I would really need to know exactly what the matrix information says in the order that it appears to know what's what.  Below is some information on UK EMI LPs that might assist you.
 
The UK EMI records used the stamper codes based on the following GRAMOPHONE LTD.  So it comes out as follows
 
G=1
R=2
A=3
M=4
O=5
P=6
H=7
L=8
T=9
D=0
 
Now if a record matrix had HA as for example YEX 709-1 HA 2 that would mean the following YEX 709-1 is the number for the lacquer master (this includes the album's catalogue number YEX 709), HA refers to the stamper, in other words stamper number 73rd and the number 2 is the mother number.
 
Below are a couple of LP examples that show how a seller can mislead:-
 
First LP example A:
 
George Harrison - Extra Texture LP. UK first pressing:
Apple label: PAS 10009
Matrix: YEX 947-1U / YEX 948 948-1U
EMI stamping codes: M 1 / OD 2
The First UK pressing
 
First LP example B:
 
George Harrison - Extra Texture LP. UK first pressing:
Apple label: PAS 10009
Matrix: YEX 947-1U / YEX 948-1U
EMI stamping codes: M 2 / AT 2
The First UK pressing
 
Second LP example A:

Paul McCartney - McCartney LP. UK first pressing:
Apple label: PCS 7102
Matrix: YEX 775-1U / YEX 776-2U
EMI stamping codes: L 1 / GD 2
The First UK pressing
 
(Note: On subsequent listings for this LP a seller claimed that pre-release first pressings began with matrix endings of 2U / 2U.  Then the seller further claimed that massive selling albums by EMI were indexed and a natural rise of 1 and 2 digits was perfectly normal.)
 
Second LP example B:
 
Paul McCartney - McCartney LP. UK first pressing:
Apple label: PCS 7102
Matrix: YEX 775-2U / YEX 776-2U
EMI stamping codes: PH 2 / ML 4
The First UK pressing

Second LP example C:
 
Paul McCartney - McCartney LP. UK first pressing:
Apple label: PCS 7102
Matrix: YEX 775-3U / YEX 776-4U
EMI stamping codes: GM 1 / RR 2
The First UK pressing
 
The above examples show how contradictory a seller can be.
 
Now.  The examples shown above clearly prove misleading information but not necessarily to the unsuspecting bidder.  Let's examine the LPs listed:
 
First LP example A:
 
Matrix: YEX 947-1U / YEX 948 948-1U = This shows by the 1U that both sides were pressed using the first mastering of the recorded music.
 
EMI stamping codes: M 1 / OD 2 = This shows that Side One was pressed using a 4th stamper which was made from a first mother; and Side Two was pressed using a 50th stamper which was made from a second mother.
 
First LP example B:
 
Matrix: YEX 947-1U / YEX 948-1U = This shows by the 1U that both sides were pressed using the first mastering of the recorded music.
 
EMI stamping codes: M 2 / AT 2 = This shows that Side One was pressed using a 4th stamper which was made from a second mother; and Side Two was pressed using a 39th stamper which was made from a second mother.
 
Second LP example A:
 
Matrix: YEX 775-1U / YEX 776-2U = This shows by the 1U on Side One that it was pressed using the first mastering of the recorded music; whereas Side Two was from the second mastering.
 
EMI stamping codes: L 1 / GD 2 = This shows that Side One was pressed using an 8th stamper which was made from a first mother; and Side Two was pressed using a 10th stamper which was made from a second mother.
 
Second LP example B:
 
Matrix: YEX 775-2U / YEX 776-2U = This shows by the 2U on both sides that they were pressed using the second mastering of the recorded music.
 
EMI stamping codes: PH 2 / ML 4 = This shows that Side One was pressed using a 67th stamper which was made from a second mother; and Side Two was pressed using a 48th stamper which was made from a fourth mother.
 
Second LP example C:
 
Matrix: YEX 775-3U / YEX 776-4U = This shows by the 3U on Side One that it was pressed using the third mastering of the recorded music; whereas Side Two was from the fourth mastering.
 
EMI stamping codes: GM 1 / RR 2 = This shows that Side One was pressed using a 14th stamper which was made from a first mother; and Side Two was pressed using a 22nd stamper which was made from a second mother.
 
Sound confusing?  Well, if you look at all the matrix information above you'll clearly see that they cannot all be first pressings.  Now many sellers are calling records first pressings which are clearly second or third or later pressings.  This is done to boost the bidder price.  Sure, some records can arrive on the original release day with more than one pressing when it involved a popular artist; however, a second pressing still remains a second pressing no matter when it arrived at the shop.  Take note though that sometimes first issues (to the shops) have second or even higher masterings on one side or both depending on different factors (e.g. the producer decided to change the mix, the first master disc was changed, more than one record plant was involved, etc.).  This can sometimes make things a little more tricky as you would need to do some extra research on such details if that be the case.  But this is what it's all about if you're a record collector.
 
Just to finish off on one seller's ridiculous claims - here is one of the best "Records are not named 're-issues' until an album or single leaves the charts."  Really?!  So when Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon left the chart (Billboard Top LPs & Tapes) in 1988 after spending 741 weeks in it - new pressings finally became re-issues?  Yeah, right!
 
Spindle wear on record labels:
 
There are sellers who claim they can tell how many times a record has been played just by looking at the spindle wear on the record labels.  I have records that I've played hundreds of times without hardly any spindle wear.  And no, it's not because I didn't touch the spindle.  Sure you can use spindle wear as a bit of a guide, but sellers who make the claim that a record has only been played once or twice because of a lack of spindle wear are misleading bidders.
 
Sellers claiming to have bought LPs when originally released:
 
Sure this can be true for many LPs but some sellers seem to just happen to have bought every classic rock LP that came out within a day or two of release - bullocks.  This is said to boost bidders confidence in their knowledge of the records they are selling.  It's a good trick because logic tells you that it's hard to argue with somebody claiming to have bought an original LP when first released.  This will be their argument with anyone who dares to question them.
 
Are heavy pressings the best in sound reproduction?:
 
This is more non-sense from many sellers.  A thinner pressed record is not inferior in sound quality simply because it's thinner.  This is just another sales tactic.  Sure, a thicker and heavier vinyl record feels better in the hand but does not necessarily sound better.  Having said that.  Thicker records, from my own experience, do tend to play quieter when scratched than what thin records do.  The stylus tends to be deeper in the groove on thick vinyl records which probably plays the main part.
 
Are UK records the best?:
 
This is another fallacy.  Yes, UK LPs are up there with the best but they are not the best, generally speaking.  Let's take the Beatles' LPs as an example.  Yes, I think the UK pressings were fantastic but so were many of the other European pressings.  If I had to pick the best quality pressed LPs it would have to be the Japanese Everclean (more commonly referred to as "Red Wax") records.  These Japanese records had a dark red colour to them but it was not a sales gimmick for collectors.  The dark red colour was part and parcel of the chemical mixtures used to manufacture the Everclean records.  These records were 4 times more dust resistant and about 8 times more static resistant than regular black vinyl records.  Their only down side was that they had softer grooves which made them wear faster than regular vinyl records.  This was of course dependant on the tone-arm pressure applied.  Still, the wear was faster than regular vinyl records even if the pressure was set at low for the tone-arm.  Now the Japanese black vinyl was of about the same quality as everyone else's except that when they pressed records, they pressed fewer with each stamper compared with other countries.
 
When comparing sound quality.  Again the UK records are not the best though they are definitely up there.  Here once more I believe the Japanese Everclean records have the edge, and to some extend even their black vinyl records have.
 
What about record covers?:
 
Covers can be good from most countries.
 
UK covers: The flipback covers are quite popular but I find the UK ones have a problem with the fact that they have three flips.  The flip at the spine tends to get caught on other covers as you push it back between other covers.  Generally the UK covers are quite good.  Most from the 1960s and some into the 1970s have lamination.  Some front and back; while others just on the front.  I've found that many UK covers have a slightly poor fitting lamination especially the Garrod & Lofthouse ones.  Still, the UK ones are quite nice.  Of course later covers were unlaminated.
 
US covers: The US tended to be very sturdy but despite this were very weak in the seams and tended to split there.  Records nearly always end up breaking through the seams.  Also, US covers were mostly unlaminated and therefore tended to get ring wear more easily.  The US covers could be quite nice depending on the release but generally I find they don't measure up to foreign covers.
 
Australian covers: The Australian covers were a bit of a hit and miss affair.  The 1960's flipbacks had two folds one on top and the other at the bottom.  This was actually better, in a way, than the UK ones which had one fold on the side as well.  This meant that covers didn't get caught as you pulled them in and out between other covers on the shelf.  The Australian flipback covers didn't tend to be as sturdy as the UK counterparts.  Still, there were exceptions and if well looked after were quite nice.
 
In Australia they weren't always as generous when it came to making gatefold covers and tended to make more single covers instead.  But by the 1970s onwards it improved quite nicely.  The best covers tended to be up to the mid 1970s as many covers were still being laminated.  By the late 1970s this all changed with some rare exceptions.
 
Japanese covers: The Japanese covers remind me very much of the US covers though much more sturdy.  They are very nice and usually come with more inserts than any others.  They are well presented and highly recommended.
 
Hopefully the above will give some insight into what to look out for and also what to look for when buying LPs online or anywhere else for that matter.  Good luck!
 
Some further information on Australian records:
 
Now, above I provided the UK matrix as an example because many Australian pressed EMI records were made using UK stampers (made from UK mothers). However, in Australia they didn't use the system of GRAMOPHONE LTD in the matrix but it was just a part of the UK information.
 
In Australia they used the same stampers sometimes for years. You have to remember that in Australia they didn't press records to the same quantity as the British or the US. Also, in Australia EMI sometimes had more than one stamper sent out from the UK. So you sometimes had first issues coming to the shops with more than one matrix combination and therefore could in fact look like first, second or later pressings but were in fact part of the one production run.
 
Albums released through Festival Records had their catalogue prefixes shortened to just one letter "L" during 1973. A good example is Sherbet’s first album “Time Change - A Natural Progression” which came out with the prefix INL 34725 in 1972, and then later came out with the prefix L 34725 (and a different cover). Also Festival Records had already removed the "S" from the prefix which they used the previous year (1971) and earlier. A good example is Chain's album "Towards The Blues" with the prefix SINL 934295. They had also removed the "9" digit from the series. Of course the prefix letters varied depending on which label Festival Records were producing. For example: Elton John's "Tumbleweed Connection" from 1970 on the DJM label had the prefix SDJL 934,079, which by the time his album "Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player" came out in 1973 the DJM prefix had been shortened to DJL 34,722 as well as the "9" digit being dropped.
 
Fathers to mothers:
 
The father (negative metal or matrix) is made from the original lacquer which is destroyed during the process of making the father.  Now the father is the only copy existing of the original lacquer disc.  From this father they make the mother (positive metal) from which they make the stamper (negative metal).  Because the mother is made of metal they can produce negative after negative many times over, in other words, stampers after stampers.  And from the father they can make more mothers.  It is only the positives that can actually be played.  So the stamper being a negative can't be played but it can produce records that are positives that are playable.  But the father is not the original lacquer but is made from the original lacquer which is damaged during the peeling process of making the father and cannot be used again.  The father is a silver-copper mould broken free from the lacquer.  This father is a negative in metal which has a mirror-image of the original grooves on the down-surface.
 
Anyway, as you can see there is a lot to records.  I could go on about label variations, inner sleeves, covers with and without lamination and so on.  But this is all just a small sample of information.  There is so much more I could share but time and space is limited.
 
Write a guide
Choose a template

Additional site navigation