A Boxed Set, An Autographed LP, a Mega-Rarity

Stan Getz copyDon’t see a lot of Stan Getz records in the higher price ranges, and we’re seeing fewer Norgrans in there as well, so I have my eye on this one: Stan Getz at the Shrine, Norgran 2000. This is a boxed set with two LPs and a beautiful booklet and all of it looks to be in M- condition and original, with the yellow labels on the vinyl. The bidding is in the $240 range and there are more than three days left on the auction.

Here’s another one you’re not going to see too often: An autographed copy of Bill Evans, Portrait in Jazz, Riverside 315. The Bill Evans signature is on the back cover and it is dated from 1974. The record is an original pressing with the deep grooves and blue label and it seems to be in about VG++ condition for the vinyl and VG+ for the record. The auction closes tomorrow and the bidding is in the $150 range with 13 bids and what looks to be eight different bidders. Wouldn’t mind this one myself. Hmm — birthday is coming up.

Actually, if I was really thinking birthday, my preference would be an original black label pressing of Giant Steps. I was reminded of that from this listing from our old friend bobdjukic: John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic 1311. This is a stereo pressing with the bullseye label. Of course it is listed clearly as “mega rare.” Amazingly, I have never owned a black label Giant Steps. The copy I have in my collection is a bullseye stereo, similar to this one. I put it on the turntable the other day and wasn’t very pleased — a combination of mediocre condition and not the greatest sound. I said to The Lovely Mrs. JC that I really should have an original Giant Steps in nice condition in my collection. I wasn’t necessarily hinting at a birthday present, but come to think of it, perhaps that was a subconscious plant on my part. I’ll be on the lookout on eBay and see what gets listed over the next few weeks.




  • Gregory The Fish

    there are about three albums, all fairly rare and collectible, that i seem to be forever cursed to find in awful condition. i have seen no less than three DG black-label copies of giant steps in my diggin time, all trashed beyond use. so sad.

  • Actually that copy of Portrait In Jazz is a second pressing, the original is on the small label.

  • Mr. JC,
    Have the “Lovely( to quote your terminology)Mrs. JC” email me re perhaps something for your birthday.

  • New site up, the same address; http://www.fwrarejazzvinylcollector.com
    New, larger beautiful images of the records will be put up here and now you can comment on the posts! I will fill the site with more links to content a.s.a.p. I’ll try to post regularly. Enjoy everyone. Cheerio, Fredrik

  • Fredrik,

    Looking forward to seeing the videos resurrected on the website. I discovered your YouTube channel much too late!


  • So what is the proper and accepted first pressing for Giant Steps? What is the pressing with the best sound?


  • There have been some great debates in the Jazz Collective over the years on which “original” pressing variation of Giant Steps is in fact the “original first pressing”… I think the final concensus was that the DG black label was the original first pressing, but they probably utilized the pin-wheel label mid-production as well… To this day I only have the pin-wheel DG and the non-DG black label copies of Giant Steps in my collection. (My birthday is also fast approaching… Put me down for a DG Black Lable copy as well please !!!)

  • Appears to be a dead link.

  • https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/record-labels-guide/5-atlantic/atlantic-first-pressing-guide-label-transitions/

    I have the original 1st pressing of Giant Steps in beautiful M-/M- condition, DG black labels. Amazing record.

  • don-lucky

    can you tell me what evidence there is that the pin-wheel (IMHO always a second on Giant Steps)was used “in mid-production as well?”

  • Hi Earl,

    I’m not an expert on Atlantic Records myself, just based my comment on the various insigts on this topic over the years. I’m inclinded to suspect there might be some truth to the “bulls-eye” copy with the DG being a mid-production variation on a first pressing since Atlantic began phasing out the black label in 1959 and utilizing the bulls-eye pin wheels the same year… They hadn’t finished recording Giant Steps until December 2nd, 1959 and it wasnt officially released until January 1960. That being said, Atlantic also utilized a variety of pressing plants to handle production across the country, and based on the equipment/dies used to press the lp’s and which label each plant had available at the time of first release I suspect there would be high potential for mid-production variation at this time depending on which plant pressed the copies for Atlantic.

  • p.s. – Some lucky buyer got a great deal on that signed copy of Bill Evans Portrait In Jazz !

  • Hi don-licky

    To quote the LondonJazzCollecter article on Atlantic labels, “There is no evidence that different pressing plants unilaterally decided to issue different labels, or there would be more evidence of chaotic variation than is the case.” Obviously that is only their opinion, but to me it makes sense

  • For me, the pinwheel/bullseye variation is a second pressing (although it may use the first pressing mother/stampers). A similar situation exists with The Beatles first UK release “Please Please Me” issued on the black and gold Parlophone label, which was replaced mere weeks into production with the black and yellow label. The black and yellow label is regarded to be the 3rd pressing (there were two black and gold labels with different credit listings upon release). However, the same mother/stamper series were used for the earliest copies.

  • …I guess at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that an Atlantic DG black label still precedes that of the Atlantic DG pin-wheel “bullseye” label. Even if they were somehow proven manufactured at the same time at different plants, most collectors will always address the earlier label variation as the original first pressing I suspect.

    Note: There is also some great comments on this issue by Adam back in 2009:

  • Man,oh man.If there were ever proof needed of the attention to detail(or “anal retentive-ness”) paid by the serious lp collector,the Atlantic “labelography” is Exhibit A. Thanks to LJC for the time,effort–and love. After all,it’s all about the music(and,at times,the labels).

  • I wonder if carbon dating might tell us which is the earlier copy? 😉 Seriously, I would concur with don-lucky.

  • don-lucky:

    I assume you are referring to Aaron’s comments, since I don’t see any by an Adam – what he is saying is that the same pressers were used for the bulls-eye releases as for the earlier black labels – what this means to me is that the stampers were still around in 1960 when the bulls-eye label had come into use – the only possible result of that as far as I can see is that the stampers, now used for some time, made these bulls-eye releases, and might in fact be inferior sonically because of the age of the stampers

  • Thanks Jeff ! …Now if only I could get my hands on a DG black label copy to compare sound quality. (Sounds like I may be competing against Al on this for my birthday LP as well) As mentioned, my black-label copy is not DG, and sounds a bit light when compared with the DG Bulls-Eye. Then again, it probably wasn’t a fair comparision to begin with, as I was well into the scotch by the time the second copy hit the platter ! 🙂

  • Ceedee – Here is ‘Exhibit B’ for your file: Fred Cohn’s infamous book on Blue Note Records – A Guide for Identifying Original Pressings ! (That pretty much sums us all up doesn’t it ?)

  • In terms of sound, I was only speaking theoretically – it is likely that a mint bulls-eye Steps would sound just as good as a Black Label mint

    I do have a problem with the pressing-minutiae nay-sayers – it is really no different, IMO, from collectors of First Edition Books – most of these latter have defects in printing, typo errors, etc, which are corrected in later editions/printings; yet the Firsts are still the ones that command the big bucks; and it is these very defects that are used to identify them.

    If all you want is a good read, it’s a gross waste of money to buy a First Edition; if you only want great jazz, for God’s sake,don’t pay for a First Pressing. But please don’t disparage the collector of these firsts; they/we are seeking something other than, or rather in addition to, sound.

  • Earl +1

    But I also have my share of first pressing – but I admit to myself that it is generally not sound quality that urges me to pay more for a first pressing.

  • It’s funny how our own personal motifs for collecting tend to waver as the years pass. I recall initially just buying reissues of my favorite vinyl covers to put on display in my office when companies like Restoration Hardware started offering record album cover frames for sale… Gradually, those were replaced with the original first pressings, but just the rare ones, and then autographed original first pressings displayed behind UV rated glass. As time passed, I began collecting all my favorite early original first pressings in varied condition, and eventually I upgraded my turntable to something more respectable. With better equipment, comes better sound… Now I tend to be more concerned about the condition of the first pressings I purchase. it’s all about quality and not quantity. That being said, ideally I will always opt for a first pressing, versus a pristine later pressing myself. There’s just something about that connection with such an ephemeral moment in time you get when picking up the original, be it first pressing or first edition, and despite any flaws… It was there even if we were not.

  • don-lucky … game and match

    Such an elegant summation … the closing sentences especially. This is why I love this site. It offers quiet moments of reflection on the pursuit I cherish.

  • I am the big winner on the Stan Getz box. It is truly beautiful – and this particular seller has been selling some immaculate condition records. He ships them in…A PIZZA BOX. Everything came through unscathed as far as I can see, and playback of side A of the first LP was perfect, just some dust (I find that Norgrans can often be very worn out but I don’t think these were ever played!). Perhaps this set will appear on my blog, which has been dormant.

  • (Thanks Jeff ! …It was a slow day at the office today 🙂 Congrats on the Stan Getz score Phil, definitely one of the great live concert recordings from that era.

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