A Journal of Musical ThingsThe Most Rare and Valuable CDs - A Journal of Musical Things

Published on October 1st, 2012 | by Alan Cross


The Most Rare and Valuable CDs

This email from Jody popped into my mailbox early this morning:

Compact discs seem to be dying a slow agonizing death, but I wondered, are their any CD’s out there that are actually worth something, like rare vinyl?

Great question.  While collectors go apeshit over rare records, what about rare CDs?

The answer is a firm “yes.”  The value of a rare CD is determined by the same things that rule rare vinyl: scarcity and demand.  

  • For example, Coldplay ordered up just 500 copies of their first release, The Safety EP (pictured at right).  Most were given to friends and family while less than a hundred were sold at retail.  If you have one of those, it’s worth up to $1500.
  • Nirvana’s record label prepped a UK-only promo version of “Pennyroyal Tea” in 1994–a different version of what we hear on In Utero–but withdrew it before it was distributed.  Find a copy of that and you have something worth about $2000.
  • In 1993, Prince planned to issue a disc called My Name Was Prince to Japanese media but pulled it. I’ve seen it listed for $5,000.


Anyone have anything more to add to this list?  How about some favourite sources for this kind of information?

About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

14 Responses to The Most Rare and Valuable CDs

  1. Shane Smith says:

    The very first Nickelback and Tea Party CDs fetch some ok coin.
    I don't like either of these bands but I have sold both of these items on ebay years ago.

  2. Evan says:

    I always thought it would be one of the first CDs ever produced. I read somewhere it was an ABBA record or something. I had an original copy of Born in the USA, which I remember selling for quite a bit but the local shop knew more about it than I did.

  3. snivlem says:

    I have a bunch of stuff put away that's worth a pretty penny.
    Mad Season-Live EP
    Rare Angelic Process import
    John Frusciante-Niandra(not a promo)
    Sleep-Volume 1 still sealed
    Die Kreuzen-Internal
    Cult-Sonic Temple Collection
    Cult-Ceremony Collection
    Mastodon- Lifesblood ep
    Cry Of Love-Diamonds & Debris
    King T-Thy Kingdom Come
    Meat Puppets-You Love Me ep
    Pigmy Love Circus-Power Of Beef Full band autographed cd.

  4. Cameron says:

    I have an originally pressed copy of Monarch (Lay Your Jeweled Head Down) by Feist. She told me herself that she pressed only around 700 (I even got her to sign it so I don't know if that increases or decreases the value). There're also many MANY fakes on eBay from Scandinavia/Eastern Europe with starting prices of $20 with Bobby Dazzler printed on them.

  5. louis says:

    NIN – halo 15 – We're In This Together – 3cd release, Europe and Japan only…

  6. NOW 4 ON CD says:


  7. Cadfael says:

    Jackie Evancho’s Prelude to a Dream is running around $3500

  8. Mike Murray says:

    The early Polydor CD’s with the red paint design Especially Abba & JM Jarre, and the early Mercury CDs with the green arrow design are going for three and sometimes four figure sums these days. Abba’s Visitors red face went for $1400 last year.
    The rarest SACD is obviously Aerosmith’s Rocks. Only 3 have been so far verified in the wild. Only 1 has been offered on eBay in 2010 and sold for $1600. It was a used cut-out.

  9. Paul Huerta says:

    Paul mccartneys wings over America Columbia 2 CD issues in the mid 80s sealed in longbox fetched $100,000

  10. Paul Huerta says:

    Ice-T home invasion rare withdrawn Sire/WB sealed in longbox fetched $10,000 at Christie’s a few years ago

  11. John Noble says:

    Is anyone aware of bootleg copies of the UK release of Now That’s What I Call Music 4 CD. I recently listed my copy on ebay and only realised after I had posted it that track 2 was titled Chostbusters and not Ghostbusters, that it said PROFIBITED and RECORDUCED in stead of REPRODUCED. Also it does not have ‘That’s What I Call’ in the logo. As far as I am aware this was a press review copy but would welcome any further information.

  12. Billy Amundson says:

    I have recently bought a Jethro Tull cd Catfish Risen when I bought the cd it was still factory sealed all the packaging was labeled as jethro Tull but when I got it home I opened it placed it in my player it was actually Bob seagar on the cd …..so my question is ? is this a rare cd and is there any value here ?

  13. bonny johnston says:

    Hi All
    I was looking for info on a 11 cd boxed set – self issued by Prodigy. It is in a suede covered box. I do not have the outer packaging or the 3 little trinkets that were included. It does have the COA which states that it is #77 out of 500 issued worldwide.
    Does anyone have any idea of value?

  14. Amy says:

    It seems to me that Metallica had a song on the Kill Em All CD called Am I Evil. That was later removed from their CD. I have the original CD with Am I Evil on it. I wonder what that is worth?

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