When it comes to the rarest, most valuable record albums, there are a lot of dollar signs floating around. The real prices turn out to be a little more grounded, although the figures themselves are elusive.
For example, in 1999, news broke that Mark David Chapman's copy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's album Double Fantasy
, autographed by Lennon five hours before Chapman fatally shot him, had been sold. The album had been found in a flower planter outside the Dakota apartment building, Lennon and Ono's home on Manhattan's Upper West Side and the scene of the Beatle's 1980 murder. The record bears the forensically certified fingerprints of Chapman, and was even used as evidence in the case against him (Chapman plead guilty to second-degree murder). Price tag? $460,000
Or was it? I spoke with Gary Zimet of Moments in Time
, the New York memorabilia dealer who brokered the sale of the Chapman album
. Zimet told me that the $460,000 figure released in 1999 was for publicity purposes, and said the record was actually sold for $150,000.
News reports several years later of the album's sale for as much as $525,000 are also in error; Zimet said a deal was in place in 2003, but it fell through. He did note though that the album's owner remains willing to part with it
for around $600,000
(beware, though -- upon the purchase in 1999, the owner received a number of death threats).
But so far, the Chapman record has fetched only $150,000 (pocket change, right?). This changes the equation, in light of an eBay auction in 2006.