A rare copy of my favorite album in the world, "The Velvet Underground and Nico," sold on eBay this weekend for $155,401. The seller, Warren Hill of Montreal, bought it for quarter at a street flea market in New York City in 2002. Apparently it's only one of two in-studio acetates recorded during the 1966 studio sessions that produced the album. Background on the buyer hasn't been announced. Record collector Eric Isaacson, who helped his friend Hill identify the album, tells the whole story in Goldmine magazine. From the article:
We pieced together that this was probably a surviving copy of the legendary Scepter Studios recordings, which had been regarded as lost (hence the application of the moniker "the lost Scepter Studios recordings" to these unheard sessions over the years). The recording is composed of the primitive first "finished" version of the LP that Andy Warhol had shopped to Columbia as a ready-to-release debut album by his protégé collective.
Though the same compositions and even a few of the same takes (albeit in different mixes) were used on the subsequent commercial release, The Velvet Underground & Nico is a significantly different creation. I had heard of these nascent recordings before – it was said by some that the master tapes had burned in a fire, by others that all of those recordings ended up being on the released album, and still by others that the only existing copy of that material was on an acetate owned by David Bowie and that he was known to tout it as his most prized possession. The truth about what we held was fuzzy until Hill managed to track down the N. Dolph referred to on the label for an interview.
UPDATE: Apparently the high bid turned out to be bogus. According to the Globe And Mail, Hill might contact one of the other bidders or sell it through a live auction house. Link