Entertainment & Arts

Adapted Sgt Pepper Beatles cover named world's rarest

The adapted artwork for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Image caption Sir Peter Blake's original artwork was doctored to include the faces of Capitol executives

A Beatles sleeve which features the faces of music executives in place of the Fab Four has been named the world's rarest album cover.

The adapted artwork for the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album is worth about £70,000.

It was created to celebrate the success of the record - released in June 1967 - for Christmas of that year.

The artwork is one of five Beatles album sleeves to feature in the top 10, compiled by Record Collector magazine.

Sir Peter Blake's original Sgt Pepper collage was doctored to replace the faces of The Beatles and other notable figures with those of executives from the band's US label Capitol.

Only about 100 are thought to have been made.

'Main attraction'

In second place, valued at £7,000, are the first 10 numbered copies of the Beatles' self-titled 1968 record, which became known as The White Album because of its plain white cover.

The band's name was embossed on the front of the sleeve, which was designed by pop artist Richard Hamilton, along with a unique stamped serial number.

Image caption The Yesterday and Today front cover was quickly withdrawn in the US

In third position was a pair of sleeves designed by Andy Warhol.

Madrigals' 1953 work Magic Key To Spanish Volumes 1 and 2, and spoken word anti-crime lecture The Nation's Nightmare, from 1951, have been valued at £3,500 and £3,000 respectively.

At number four was the bizarre US-released compilation album Jolly What! England's Greatest Recording Stars: The Beatles and Frank Ifield on Stage.

The 1964 album, featuring the songs of both the Fab Four and crooner Ifield, is valued at £3,000.

The Beatles were also in eighth place for the original album sleeve created for the US release of their Yesterday And Today record in 1966, which is valued at £2,000.

Known as "the butcher sleeve" because it featured the musicians posing with dismembered doll parts and slabs of meat, it was quickly withdrawn from the US market.

List compiler Ian Shirley, editor of the Rare Record Price Guide 2012, said: "While pristine records and inserts are vital to securing a top price, the numbered sleeve is the main attraction.

"The hunger to collect low numbers remains undiminished amongst Beatles fans."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites