Guide to Editions
Record collectors, like their book counterparts, naturally search for the earliest editions. The major companies all produced various editions which perhaps require some explanation. The editions are noted in the catalogue and are described in the italics below.
Decca SXL or SET prefix
The first edition label (WBgr1) has a thick silver band running horizontally across the upper half, a groove cut into the label c1.5cm from the outside rim and the words 'Original Recording by' between 9 and 12 o'clock.
The second edition (WBgr2) has the wide band, the groove but 'Original Recording by' has been replaced by 'Made in England by'.
The third edition (WB3) is like the second, but without the groove.
The fourth edition (narrow) has the wide band replaced by a narrow band. Above the band the word 'DECCA' is seen within a small rectangle. SXL 6447 and 6449 onwards only exist as narrow band (SXL 6448 was available as a wide band).
Decca LXT prefix
The background colour is orange. The first edition has gold lettering. From LXT 5119 the first edition lettering was changed to silver and all later editions of earlier numbers also had silver lettering.
Early editions of other Decca labels can be recognised by a groove inside the perimeter of the label: early Argo (ZRG) editions have the Argo logo inside an oval shape. Later editions replaced the oval with a rectangle. Similarly the first L'Oiseau Lyres (SOL) also had a groove inside the perimeter.
HMV ASD prefix
Early ASD's have a white background with a gold band around the perimeter and gold lettering (white/gold), but from ASD 576 the first edition changed so that the Nipper logo was shown inside a semi circle against a red background. The words HIS MASTER'S VOICE are in white above the semi circle (semi-circle).
The third edition maintains the red background but the Nipper logo is inside a small stamp-like rectangle (colour - no white line).
The fourth edition has a thin white line around the perimeter and the Nipper logo is now in black and white (black/white)
The fifth edition is as the fourth, but Nipper is once again in colour (colour with white line)
For the final edition HMV reintroduced the semi-circle but this time it covered the whole of the top half (large semi)
HMV ALP prefix
The first edition Nipper is inside a fairly large semi-circle against a red background. The lettering is in gold (red/gold). The later editions are similar to the second ASD edition (semi-circle).
HMV Angel SAN prefix
The first label was gold with black lettering and instead of Nipper one finds a white angel motif (white).
The second label is also gold and has a coloured Nipper inside a rectangle. The angel motif is now black and is directly above the Nipper rectangle (black).
The third label is identical to the second except that the background is yellow rather than gold (yellow)
Columbia SAX prefix
The first label has a pale blue background and black lettering. A silver pattern criss-crosses the label (blue/silver).
The second label is similar to the second ASD and ALP editions except that the Magic Notes logo is inside the semi-circle (semi-circle).
The third label has the Magic Notes logo inside a rectangular stamp (like ASD labels 3 to 5) (boxed logo).
Columbia 33CX prefix
The first label is dark blue with gold lettering (blue/gold). Later editions are as the second and third SAX labels.
The first stereos have the words HI-FI STEREO in silver across the top part of the label (Hi-fi Stereo). Later editions were the same basic colour (maroon) but HI-FI STEREO has been replaced by PHILIPS. The third label changed the background colour to red (red)
RCA SB prefix
The first label is red with silver lettering. The RCA logo is in a silver circle at the top and the words LIVING STEREO are on either side of the circle (silver/red living stereo).
The second label has silver writing on a red/orange background. The RCA logo is now inside a black circle and the words RCA VICTOR can be seen above the logo. The earlier second label has a groove similar to early Decca stereos, the later one no longer has the groove (black/red).
Later SBs no longer have the circular RCA logo, but instead have a stencilled RCA on the left hand side of the red label (Left logo)
Many opera sets with the SER prefix follow a similar label pattern to the SBs.
American RCA pressings can be much sought after. They are maroon in colour and have the Nipper Logo (shaded dog).
The budget RCA label Victrola carries the VICS (stereo) or VIC (mono) prefix. Early Victrolas have a maroon label with silver lettering and initially had a groove inside the perimeter. Later maroons lost the groove. The latest Victrolas were pink with a white stencilled RCA on the left (pink).
Deutsche Grammophon LPs with their beautifully designed sleeves and distinctive tulip cartouche (as well as glossy free brochures) simply oozed class and consequently were always popular with the public. Certain DGG artists are highly sought after but generally in terms of value the collector seeks the stereo LPs in the following order:
- Those with STEREO inside a small red box underneath the yellow cartouche on the sleeve (Red Logo).
- Those with tulips around the perimeter of the label and writing in German 'Alle Hersteller-und Urheberechte vorbehalten..' inside the tulips (tulip German pressing).
- Those with tulips around the perimeter of the label and writing in English inside (tulip English pressing).
- Those without the tulip rim but with writing in German around the perimeter (German pressing)
- as d) but with writing in English and/or MADE IN ENGLAND on the label (English pressing).
- as d) or e) but pressed in another country