Diggin’ Prestige (And Esquire Too)

Catching up on my eBay watch list, and starting with this one because I dig the cover and don’t recall ever seeing it before: Miles Davis, Dig Featuring Sonny Rollins, Esquire 32-062. This was an original British pressing and there’s just something cool about these Esquire covers. The record was in VG++ condition and the cover was VG+. The final price was $182.50. For those of you commenting on the earlier posts about alternatives to paying top dollar for U.S. originals on Prestige, these UK pressings look like a pretty good deal to me. And from my experience, the sound is equal to the U.S. pressings. (But, alas, there is no comparable alternative for the Blue Note fanaticos out there, is there?)

Speaking of original Prestiges, there was also this on our watch list:Elmo Hope, Informal Jazz, Prestige 7043. This was an original pressing with the yellow label and New York address. However, it was only in VG condition for the record and VG- for the cover, although the cover pictures didn’t look so bad to me. When I started collecting, and perhaps until eBay came along, you wouldn’t typically find records in this condition fetching collectible prices. This one sold for $378.

Since we started on Prestiges this evening, let’s continue the theme: Thelonious Monk Trio, Prestige 7027. This was an original New York yellow label listed in Ex+ condition for the record and cover, which I interpret to be M- for those of us who follow the Goldmine grading standard. This one sold for $512.95.



  • I agree on the Esquire covers being very cool, although they don’t seem to hold up as well as their American counterparts.

  • yeah, they’re certainly thinner in comparison. I like the look of ’em for sure, though at this point they’re still a pricey alternative, even if not hitting the four-figure bin. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the collectors going for Esquires already have original US pressings and are “doubling up.”

  • Just wondering….. with the current situation of Blue Note records commanding very high prices in the collecting marketplace is anyone aware of counter fitting or fogery? In all other art forms when the prices rise the dishohest seek ways of making a large score. I know this happens on other record labels and other types of music. Buyer beware or a non issue?

  • On the Informal Jazz lp. The grading of that jacket is a good indication of a seller who can be trusted. I’ve purchased several lps from him and have always been satisfied with his grading. Here he grades what appears to be a decent looking jacket as VG-, and on more that one occasion I’ve seen completely trashed covers being graded as VG. /// I do have a copy of Informal Jazz which I received in a trade I made with Leon Leavitt in the mid 80s. For the Hope lp, I traded a mint copy of Jimmy Raney Visits Paris on Dawn. He had a big offer from a buyer overseas for the Raney and needed a clean copy. I miss Leon and his auctions.

  • thinner, yes, but the plastified flip-over structure has withstood time much better than the us counterparts, in the beginning just two pieces of cardboard glued together with a piece of paper. The worst were PJ early 1230 series (Playboys – ART PEPPER CHET), to name one, which one seldom finds without seam splits, or JAZZ WEST.

  • Another label which jackets are difficult to find clean is Tampa. Jazz:West, sure. I was fortunate enough to acquire a copy of The Return of Art Pepper with a NM jacket. Very difficult to find.

  • Al – I was the buyer of the Elmo Hope. I was willing to take the chance on this record solely due to the seller. I have purchased several LPs from Funkyousounds in the past and they have always been under-graded. This one was no exception. The vinyl was VG+ by any measure and, with the exception of one track having a light repeating tic for three rotations, played Near Mint.

    As for the jacket, I have a method of cleaning laminated jackets that took this from VG range to Near Mint range. The key for me was that there were no seam splits (I refuse to glue or repair seams, opting for originality versus restoration). Also, the vinyl was indeed the original flat edge release, not the release with the safety lip, so, in my opinion, I paid a very fair price for this wonderful record.

  • jrock1675: I also have a copy of Informal Jazz with a flat rim. Have you seen a copy that has a beaded rim? In that case, very interesting as this should have been, I imagine, a limited pressing run. Which once again highlights the question marks over flat rims on Prestige LP’s in the 7000 series. I have examined this quite a bit, and found that there are at least 3 different types of rims. One is a flat rim similar to the Blue Note rims, one is a flat rim also, but with a different, thinner edge, and one is beaded where the raised lip is pronounced all the way to the middle of the run in grooves. I’ve spoken to many experts regarding weather it does matter if both versions exists of a title but I haven’t got a unaminous conclusion. I also haven’t personally seen versions of a title with both a flat and beaded rim when all other markings of a first pressing exists. Thoughts?

  • Fredrik – feel free to send me an email at jrock1675 at gmail dot com to discuss further. I have also been trying to dig deeper into this particular characteristic of Prestige LPs.


  • Hey Jrock what’s your secret to cleaning those laminated covers? Any other tips I’m sure would be welcomed by all readers!

  • Art – the key is the black eraser on Rhodia brand pencils. I’ve found that they lift grime, ringwear, etc. better than any other eraser on the market. You need to use the eraser in conjunction with clear dish detergent with a soft cloth that is somewhat damp to help remove the grime, smoke or spotting. To properly clean the laminated jacket to like-new condition takes a lot of time, and more mundane details than I’m sure anyone would want to read about here, but it is well worth the effort for certain titles, especially the white jacket Blue Notes.

    If you have Instagram, you can see the results that I’ve had with before-and-after shots that I’ve posted of Cliff Craft. I probably spend 40 minutes or so cleaning that jacket. I have never “touched-up” any of my jackets, only surface cleaned them using this method because it does not impact the originality in my opinion. I completely understand why some folks prefer to have jackets professionally restored from a visual perspective, but as a collector of vintage things, I tend to favor surface cleaning over a harsher and more transformative approach. In my opinion, it is no different than cleaning the vinyl itself.

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    Fredrik and JRock bring up an interesting point and something I have also been really curious about.

    I have what seems to be an original “Informal Jazz” disc with all the proper markers, but it came inside a the brown “Two Tenors” cover—this disc has a physically flat edge, but of a different profile than a Lexington BN just as Fredrik said.

    The flat edge on Prestige is a head scratcher. I have earlier titles such as Miles 7014 and “Conception”(first cover) that have a safety edge, despite coming in frame covers and with what is regarded as the first label variation. My MILES also has the misprinting of “Quartet” instead of “Quintet”

  • I’m glad to hear a VG–/VG LP story worked out so well. That almost never happens; in point of fact, rarely am I too happy with an M– record (although that may speak to larger issues).

  • Fredrick/JRock please exchange your info visible for all of us. This is a topic of interest to everyone of us, or at least those interested in Prestige.
    Informal Jazz vinyl in the brown Two Tenors sleeve: strange. But Prestige may have had some old stock of first pressings left and no corresponding sleeves

  • Not trying to drive traffic from here, but it will probably be easier to post pictures on LJC forum (I’m guessing most of you visit both places anyway).


    Feel free to delete if I’ve broken any rules.

  • Art – I ran a record store for almost 20 years here in NYC and found the best method for cleaning laminated covers was glass wax and cotton swabs. The original manufacturer went out of business about 10 years ago so I now use Weiman’s Glass Cook Top cleaner & polish. Removing old price stickers is a whole other process but the glass wax removes ink, grime, etc. like magic. I’ve bought records from a heavy cigarette smokers environment and Weiman’s was able to clean off the nicotine layer!! Unfortunately I never found a way to remove that same staining from the un-laminated backs.

  • @Rudolf, or some previous owner had a wrecked Informal Jazz jacket with a nice record, and a Two Tenors jacket with a destroyed or missing record and just combined the two. Mongrelizing happens all the time!

  • Clifford, that sounds more plausible. I did these things myself (when I was young.)

  • And that my friends is how “incredibly rare, lovingly hand-assembled by Bob Weinstock, passed from Bertha Hope to Alice Coltrane, super-collectible, never before seen” records are born.

  • I’m diggin’ as well. Does anyone out there have a 1st U.S. pressing of George Wallington’s “The New York Scene” they want to sell?

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    Stuart–That is a top want of mine as well. Almost never see them available, and usually above my budget. Good luck!!

  • Some great deals on original Canadian releases. Sparton Impulse records sound amazing. Dark maroon DG labels and covers printed in USA. Maroon and silver 6 eye Columbia sound just as good as any of the original American copies and again covers printed in USA. A great way to go with the rising prices!

  • Sean: I believe what you say regarding Sparton, but they never show up.

  • Yes that is true, They are getting harder to find up here also. I use to find them when I was digging, not so much anymore. Still I stockpiled quite a few, Ayler, Coltrane, Roy Haynes to mention a few. I almost prefer the Sparton because I have more of them. When they do come up on eBay I find they are overlooked and you can get a good deal. Something about the chunk of orange and black spines on my record shelf always puts a smile on my face. Makes it hard to part with the doubles….

  • I don’t see a Sparton copy of George Wallington’s “The New York Scene.” Is there a nice-sounding re-issue you can recommend? Would it be a Japanese one?

  • There is a mono re-issue, Prestige Japan from the mid 70’s.

  • As a brief aside, I have found a copy of Miles Davis All Star Sexted on Barclay that uses original Prestige pressing parts, including having an RVG. I wonder if the mothers were plated in the US and shipped to France. Thoughts? I like the US artwork better, but for the price I paid I won’t complain too much, and the sound is great. Unfortunately, my French isn’t that good so reading the liner notes is a little challenging.

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