Published May 22, 2014Back in 2002, Warren Hill of Portland's Mississippi Records discovered an early Velvet Underground acetate at a street sale, buying it for 75 cents and eventually auctioning it off for a whopping $25,200 in 2006. Now, that record from Scepter Studios is going back up for auction.
The seller is a New York man who has chosen to remain anonymous. He told Rolling Stone that, when he originally acquired the record, he put it in a safe and never listened to it, not wanting to damage it.
He said, "I watched the auction first just because it was so rare, I was curious to see how high the sale would go. I bought it for $25,200, which, in my mind, was extremely undervalued for what the record was. I'm a big Velvet Underground fan, but to be honest, I've never been a big fan of this album. But the significance of the record for music is unmistakable. It's obviously a piece of musical history, but I wouldn't have purchased it then if I didn't see its potential as a financial investment."
The album is being sold with assistance from Chicago's Shuga Records. Ten percent of sale proceeds will be donated to charity, with the transaction taking place in July. More details about the auction can be found here; Shuga is also creating a wooden LP replica for the acetate.
The record was made in 1966 with Norman Dolph. Andy Warhol paid for the session in exchange for an original painting, with the goal of scoring the Velvets a record contract. They eventually signed to Verve Records, and an overhauled collection of these songs (plus a couple more) was released in 1967 as The Velvet Underground & Nico.
Only two copies of this acetate exist, the other belonging to Velvets drummer Mo Tucker. A reissue of the music contained on the acetate was released in 2012. It remains to be seen whether that reissue will have any impact on the value of the original record.
Pick up The Velvet Underground & Nico on pink vinyl here.