Blue Train: Honing In On The Original Labels

Here’s a great one from our friend Don-Lucky on Blue Train:

Good afternoon Al,

I am not sure if your were watching this one already or not, but it sold quite for a record high today…

John Coltrane BLUE Train Blue Note 1577 w.63rd 23 NM!
Item Number: 400138742036
Selling Price: $1838.04

I was also chatting with Larry Cohn about this one earlier in the week and here is what he had to say on this auction:

BLP 1577 was issued in what we commonly consider the first pressing with the old (leftover in stock) 63rd NEW YORK 23 label on one or the other sides.    The 63rd NYC both sides pressings, which commonly circulate, overlap with the first pressings, but are not probably “old” in that they would have been in use, covering several pressings, from 1957 through much of 1959.  That is why I consider them 2nd pressings by default.

I did a calculation once based on frequency of occurrence (I have seen hundreds of these records over the years) and determined that RANDOMLY there would have existed in the neighborhood of 5 copies total of 1577 with the old 63rd NEW YORK 23 label on BOTH SIDES.   I have never had evidence of any of these actually existing in a collection, but one could easily be buried away somewhere right now, or any that once existed could have been discarded over the years, having been worn out/damaged via play.  So the one side version is considered the first pressing, by default.   The reason I calculated such a low number is simple: we are dealing here with using up  some obsolete older labels that remained in stock.  Same thing happened famously with 1568.   Oddly enough my low calculation is based on rarity of Side 2 bearing NY 23, which is the description of the eBay item!  So I would have to slightly up my calculation –but it would still at this point point to say a dozen or so NY 23 both sides probably pressed –way low  in any event.  You have to remember that at break points in BN’s history, the split label varieties were all random –with such numbers as 4069 (63rd vs NEW YORK USA) or 4245 (NEW YORK USA vs. A DIVISION OF LIBERTY) as common examples of split being common rather than an aberration due to timing.”

…I really hope he puts all this in a book someday Al ! Have a great weekend.


  • I added it up the buyer who bought this blue train bought $6,000 worth of records from this seller(including mobley 1550 &1560). He even won a don byrd from another auction I was watching. I won’t tell you which record I was the 2nd highest bidder, but I am just as happy holding onto my $ as if I won!
    P.S. Now today I’m searching garage sales for one of those five blue trains, might take awhile.

  • …I didn’t realize seller above had such a great week on e-bay so far ! Any time there are that many of those “too good to be true” NM copies pulling in top dollar all at once, I tend to get a bit suspicious after the infamous “Nautiluso” fraud. (Who knows, you may have dogged a bullet on this one yourself Bob !)

  • Phreexch is a very serious dealer. Bought many records from them, alaways verys strict grading.

  • They had a pretty amazing week this week. I’ll do a post on it when I get a chance, which may not be for a day or so.

  • I have a Sonny Rollins Vol. 2 BN 1558 with a similar situation going on. Side 1 is a New York non-deep groove label and Side 2 is a W 63rd deep groove label. How is that possible?

  • To JW: I also own several BN-LPs with different labels on each side. For me it sounds logic that records with 2 different labels are pressed on the edge from one period to the next. As far as I know the W63rd labels were used from 1958 to 1962, then came the NY labels, which occured from 1962 to 1966 so I assume your record was pressed later in 1962 and they used an old “leftover” label on side 2. It can also be assumed that they manufactered new stampers from time to time after one went worn out, so the side 2 stamper with the deep grove should be older than the “new” one on side 1.

  • Thanks GW and Maarten. That answered my question perfectly!

  • Auctioned album is the same as my copy. Thanks for the info JC and Larry.

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