Arthur Fiedler – Latin Rhythms by the Boston Pops

Drumroll, please. This is a pretty big deal, at least for me. Ever since the start of my collection this has been among the top five covers that i’ve always hoped to be able to get a hold of one day. And now it’s finally placed next to the Ratfab single on the shelf!

Arthur Fiedler – Latin Rhythms by the Boston Pops (RCA Victor – ERA 25)

This was waaaay out of my comfort zone when i started collecting, at times selling for well over $1000 which was quite annoying back then because it’s always been one of my absolute favourite covers. And oddly enough most of the copies i’ve seen on ebay have been in pretty good condition, so the chance of finding a beat up copy with my kind of price tag has never really appeared. Like a couple of other rare covers it also follows the pattern of not showing up on ebay for a long period of time and then finally turning up and of course being sold for a lot of money. And after that a couple of more copies will show up in the following weeks or months which will also have a small crowd fighting over them. And when the dust finally settles it will be a no show on ebay for another six months or so…

I’ve also been a little hung up on getting it for a price around the $100 mark. This is mainly due to the fact that i unknowingly had a bidding war with Richard Forrest sometime in february/march in 2013. I don’t remember exactly what that one sold for but it was around $100 for a very nice looking copy. At that time i also think it was the best price i had ever seen this sell for so i was pretty mad. I also remember cussing at everybody nearby (including my at that time 1,5 year old daughter) because i was busy changing a diaper and completely forgot about the important auction that was about to end…

Lately i’ve been close to adding this to my list of covers i will never be able to find. But then the wheel started to roll again this spring with copies appearing on ebay about once a month in march, april and may. Still hung up on my $100 price i of course lost all of these auctions but then another copy showed up in july during my summer vacation. My fellow members in the WCCC had also talked some sense into me and convinced me that anything under $200 would be a pretty good deal. So i decided that this time i wasn’t going to let it slip.

Unfortunately i’ve developed a kind of mental disorder which involves me liking the feeling of having the leading bid all the time. This of course often results in that i push the bid up early in the auction, then getting overbid at my maximum bid and thus finally getting depressed over the fact that i still have to see the listing in my watch list for the remainder of the auction. I’m trying to change this behaviour though… might start trying out some different ebay sniper software.

Anyways, this auction ended at three o’clock at night and everything was all set. I went to bed a little earlier than usual, set the alarm at 2:45 and woke up, had a look and saw that i was still in the lead. The next thing i remember is looking at the time and it’s around seven in the morning, complete failure once again! So, i anxiously checked ebay expecting to once again have gotten this dream shattered and being forced to wait another six months before i would even get the chance to be disappointed once again. But instead i was greeted with a wonderful green color and a message that i was in fact the winner at $168! I’m more than OK with the price at the end, the only thing that bugged me a little bit was that the packagde got stuck in customs which cost me an extra $40 or so, this is only the second time this has happened to me, but oh well…

I don’t know anything about the design of the cover really. Fellow collector Guy Minnebach has shared images of drawings of similar sprite heads playing violin that were sold at Christies a while ago. I’ve also seen another piece in color with these “violin heads” at The Warhol. I’ve just had a quick look and the heads in these two pieces are different from one another so i guess Warhol enjoyed drawing these heads for a while. At The Warhol the year of the design is put down as 1948 and the album was released a couple of years later in 1952. As far as i know this is also the forth record cover Warhol did the design for. I’m sure Guy will be able to fill in the blanks regarding the history of these drawings and it would be interesting to find out more about it.

I’m pretty thrilled about the condition also. I’m not at all into the whole “Mint, M-, VG+” grading kind of thing. By my standards this is in spectacular condition, without a doubt one of the best ones in my collection. And considering how rare this is, for example Richard Forrest has it at number seven in the list i challenged him to put together, i’m quite excited to have such a nice looking copy. If you have to look for flaws the first thing would be the small writing in the top left corner on the back together with the stamp of some previous owners name, also on the back. The second and final “issue” would be that the colors on the front are a little faded, something that seems quite common with this cover based on many of the images that i’ve seen. But when compared to Frank Edwards fantastic looking copy you can certainly tell a difference, the colors in his copy are much brighter. I have no plans to start complaing about the condition of my copy due to this though.

Up until now the Ratfab single has been the crown jewel of my record cover collection but i think that this will enter as a new number one. At least for a while, i actually have another record on the wall right now that i never thought i’d get my hands on either. But all in due time… To sum it up it’s fun to finally be able to add at least a little bit of that “oomph” to my collection that i have mentioned earlier that i felt it was missing.

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Carlos Chávez – A Program of Mexican Music

For once i actually have plenty of stuff that i’m pretty excited about but i’m sticking with the chronological order of things. And this has been laying around since before the summer so i figured it’s time to post it and then get to move along to more exciting things…

Carlos Chávez – A Program of Mexican Music (Columbia Records Masterworks – ML 2080)

When i started my record/cover collection this was selling for quite high prices and didn’t show up on ebay all that often. Lately both of these things have changed. Even though great looking copies still generate high prices i would say that in general prices has dropped quite a bit. It’s also not uncommon to see it on ebay, right now there are a few copies available there and a couple of discogs as well. As with the Alexander Nevsky i don’t care too much for this cover so i’ve been a little hesitant to try and get it even though prices are now within my range. But seeing as it (probably?) is the first recognized Warhol cover i’ve still always wanted to get a copy. Usually i’m clued to the screen at the end of an auction that i’m watching but if i remember correct i didn’t follow this auction with that much interest, i placed my bid early and then ended up as the winner.

I’ve rean on both Frank Edwards blog and Richard Forrest’s list on rateyourmusic that there supposedly are three variations of this cover – basically green, blue and yellow. I’m not convinced this is the case though. I’ve been looking at images on popsike and i have a hard time distinguishing a difference between the possible green and yellow version. As far as i can tell the difference in color is most likely due to lighting and the age/condition of the cover. One thing that is certain though is that the blue version is much more scarce and still sells for quite high prices. Personally i also like the blue version better but this will do, for now…

I was trying to find an acceptable copy without it costing me too much and i think i got a pretty good condtion vs. price ratio on this, if i remember correct i payed about $40-50 for it. I’m not that concerned about the condition of this but it does have some issues. There is some general discoloration to both the front and back, some small markings next to the names of the songs, various stickers and things on the back and also the bottom seam is split maybe 1-2 cm at the opening. So… taking all of this into account i still think it’s an OK copy and seeing as i don’t really like it i’m not at all bothered by these issues.

From what i’ve been able to piece together the music is a recording of one or more concerts that was held in connection with an exhibition in 1940 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition was called Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art and from what i’ve read in this quite interesting old article Carloz Cháves conducted the first three evening concerts on the 16-18th of may in 1940. There is also a program/booklet from this exhibition that has sometimes been included in the auction for the record. The funny thing was that as i was browsing ebay this morning preparing to make this post i actually found a copy of this program. It was listed with a BIN price of just $10 and i though it would make a nice complement to the record. Once again i took the liberty to ship it to my personal postal worker in the US…

There were not that many images of the inside of the booklet in the listing but looking at one of them i would say it’s quite clear what Warhol was asked to draw or where he got his inspiration from…

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