Beatles sleeve named most valuable
A Beatles sleeve featuring the faces of music executives in place of the Fab Four has been declared the world's most valuable record cover.
The adapted artwork for their Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album is valued at around £70,000, according to a new study by Record Collector magazine.
It is one of five Beatles albums in the top 10 of releases which are prized primarily for the collectability of their sleeves.
It also includes the famous banned "butcher" sleeve which was briefly issued in the US, and some of the numbered copies of their 1968 self-titled release, often known as the "white album".
The heftily-priced limited edition Sgt Pepper sleeve was created for Christmas 1967 to celebrate the success of the album.
Sir Peter Blake's original collage image was revamped to insert the faces of US label bosses from Capitol Records, replacing the band and many of the other notable figures who had originally featured, although Bob Dylan and Sonny Liston were among those who were retained.
Only around 100 are thought to have been made, with just three known copies in the hands of collectors.
The Beatles are also runners-up in the list, with the first 10 numbered and embossed copies of the white album valued at around £7,000.
The plain cover was designed by pop artist Richard Hamilton, who died in the summer.
Ian Shirley, editor of the Rare Record Price Guide 2012, who compiled the list, said: "While pristine records and inserts are vital to securing a top price, the numbered sleeve is the main attraction. The hunger to collect low numbers remains undiminished amongst Beatles fans."