Our blog

records on a shelf

HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ORIGINAL PRESSING & A REISSUE - blog

When I'm looking through a collection, while I am sorting their records out, sometimes people will ask me why a particular record is not being given a higher price, since (in their opinion) it is rare or very unusual. I say, OK, I will have another look at it to make sure that my attribution is correct and if so, I will explain to them the reason(s) why this is the case. 

Often, the reasons can be one or multiple. In this blog, I will list some I have given in the past, when it comes to albums released in the 1960's and 70's, which are the ones with the most glaring of differences to modern reissues.

1) Barcode: On the back of an album cover, you will find a barcode which immediately signifies a reissue, as barcodes were implemented first, in the 1990's to my knowledge. There is no need to know the exact date of implementation on covers, because I am referring to 60's and 70's releases and there were no barcodes back then, so barcodes are a simple way of knowing.


2) Cover wear: After around 50 years or so, the covers usually have some sort of wear from the sleeve going in and out of the collection. It rubs on the other records next to it and the slick shows some wear with the movement over the years. Modern reissues tend not to have this wear, so that is something that will hint ar the difference.


3) Flaps on the back cover: In Australia, the covers often (but not always) had a piece of carboard folded over the top and bottom and side on the rear. That's how they made covers back then, here. This practice stopped in 1969, so an album released in say, 1967 with flaps on the back, will be an original, unless there was an early reissue of that album before 1969, which there were, in some cases. 


4)  Inner sleeves: Often, with 60s/70s records, a clue to look for is that they tend to have plastic inner sleeves that are crumpled or dirty or worn or have paper inner sleeves, same. Sometimes the paper ones with a hole in the middle to show the label, has tears to it from being caught on the opening edge of the cardboard outer sleeve as it was being slid into it. Fairly common. Also the paper sleeves are not bright white. They will be discoloured to a lesser or greater degree. 


5) Foxing: The covers of originals may have small brown spots from foxing, which takes years to accumulate so most likely, album cover with foxing will be originals. 


6) Labels: With my in depth knowledge of records in general, I will often know if it is a reissue by the fact that the original pressing came out on a particular label in a certain country, so if the record I am holding is not on that label, it is a reissue of some sort. 


They are some things I look for when assessing a record. Kowing this information but taken one at a time and attributed, is not good enough, to make a conclusion, it is only after many years of looking at records and studying that I can put the clues together and form a correct assessment.