Beatles - Please Please Me * BLACK & GOLD LABELS * STEREO * EX * UK 1st PRESS
  £   4,300
  $   5,132


£ 4300 Sold For
Mar 13, 2024 Sold Date
Mar 3, 2024 Start Date
49   Number Of Bids
  Great Britain Country Of Seller
eBay Auctioned at
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The Beatles - Please Please Me * BLACK & GOLD LABELS * STEREO * EX! * UK 1st PRESS *


Brief Summary

  • Holy grail black & gold stereo Parlophone labels!
  • Beautiful EXCELLENT condition throughout.
  • 1st variant labels with Dick James publisher credit.
  • Correct 1st variant sleeve.
  • 1 of ~100 known 1A/1R stamper / Dick James publishers combination.

More details, including a comprehensive condition report and a full audio recording, can be found in the description below.

Album Background

Little can be said about Please Please Me that hasn't already been said. It's the album that started it all. After being rejected by Decca records, George Martin at EMI gave the Beatles an 'artists test' subsequent to which he signed the band. After the commercial success of their first two singles, Love Me Do and Please Please Me, Martin requested the band produce a studio album. Remarkably, all 10 of the new tracks present on the UK release of the album were recorded in a single session in EMI studio 2 on the 11th of February 1963. The rest is history!


The particular copy for sale in this listing is perhaps the ‘holy grail’ of all Beatles albums; the ‘black and gold’ stereo release. Available only via mail-order, the original stereo pressing sold in very small numbers - perhaps limited to ~1000 copies - most record players were incapable of reproducing stereo audio and those that could were not generally owned by The Beatles’ teenage audience. Unusually, the disc itself is stamped with 1A/1R mother and stamper codes but has the ‘Dick James’ first label variant. The vast majority of Black & Gold stereo 'Dick James' labels are found with 1G/1R mother & stampers codes. Although I have owned several and seen many more, this is the only such copy that I have seen. This is perhaps the rarest combination of all Beatles albums - I imagine fewer than 100 were produced. To find this album in superb EX all round condition is nearly unbelievable.

Pressing & Variant Information

Catalogue number: PCS 3042


Matrix number: YEX 94 - 1 / YEX 95 - 1

Mother & Stamper Codes: 1 A / 1 R

Tax Code: ZMT


Vinyl Weight: 172g

Pressing Information:


The matrix numbers confirm that the record is a true UK first pressing. The mother and stamper codes communicate that side 1 was pressed using the third stamper plate, while side 2 was stamped using the second. Both of which were produced using the first mother plates.  


Label Information:


The sought-after black and gold labels are the first variant. Several notable features can be used to identify them:

  1. Dick James publishers credit for tracks A1, A2, A6, B4 & B6; and
  2. The ‘old style’ Parlophone label design with black background and gold text.

Sleeve Information:


The front side laminate Ernest J. Day & Co. sleeve is the first variant. Several notable features identify this variant. They are:

  1. The position of the text: photo credit: Angus McBean. On the first variant the ‘P’ of ‘photo’ was placed under the ‘G’ of ‘songs’;
  2. The large-sized, solid text stereo aural indicator to the front side; and
  3. The cut-out tri-flip-backs to the reverse.

Inner Sleeve & Extras:


The album is complete with the original heavy-paper polythene-line, die-cut, EMItex inner sleeve.

Condition Report




The labels are clean and retain rich, vibrant colours. No spindle marks are visible around each unworn centre hole. Minor rubbing to the gold surround of the Parlophone logo and stereo text is evident.

Visual: VERY GOOD + 


The vinyl retains superb deep gloss playing surfaces. In bright daylight several light marks that can be seen to both sides of the vinyl surface. A single short mark, presumably from a stylus, can be felt across the dead wax preceeding T5S1. Additional feint paper hairlines can also be seen under the glare of a halogen desk lamp alongside an iridescent rainbow shine.

Sound Quality: EXCELLENT


I have included complete audio recordings to enable you to judge the quality of the audio reproduction yourself. If you are having problems playing the clips please get in touch. 

Side 1:  



Side 2: 



As is well documented of the early heavy weight vinyl, the audio reproduction is superb. When played at volume, light clicks can be heard for the first minute of “Ask Me Why” due to the feel-able mark mentioned above. The rest of side 1 and all of side play through at a strong EX+ grading. I have therefore averaged the grading to EX. Take a listen and decide for yourself. The lead ins are quiet, as is the dead-wax in between tracks. There is no sign of groove wear distortion or background dust crackle. Superb!



The sleeve is in great condition. Both sides are bright and clean. The laminate to the front side retains the original lustre. The cover art maintains vibrant colours. As is so often the case, there is minor damage to the flip-backs. There is light wear to the bottom edge. All three remaining edges are in great condition. All four corners are softened. There is a small ‘yellowed’ section to the top edge of the rear from tape reside. Very nice indeed.


Inner Sleeve: EXCELLENT


The original inner sleeve is in great condition. It is very clean and displays only mild creasing.

Additional InfoGrading StandardShipping & ReturnsGlossary of Terms

All discs are cleaned using dedicated ultra-sonic and vacuum cleaners. We use a novel four-step approach. More information on the process can be found here. 


Audio testing and recording is performed on a Technics SL-1200 G turntable fitted with a Nagaoka MP-500 stylus. 


After the audio test, each disc is placed within a brand-new mobile fidelity inner sleeve. The disc, sleeve, and any additional inserts are then placed inside a 4mm polypropylene outer sleeve.  


To protect the integrity of our listings, we ask that all individuals with less than 10 feedback get in touch prior to placing a bid. If this is not performed your bid will be cancelled. 



Vinyl record grading is, by it's very nature, extremely subjective. A globally accepted grading standard is yet to emerge. Because of this, differences between a sellers grade and a buyers expectation are still common. As collectors ourselves, we grew tired of receiving records that simply were not as described. How can a record be 'mint' if it has a skip and looks like my cat had a disco on it? Incredibly, some records are 'graded' without an audio test being performed. Consequently, purchasing vinyl records online can be extremely disappointing. 


We decided to do things differently. All of our listings include a detailed and objective condition report, a comprehensive selection of high-quality photographs, and a complete high-fidelity audio recording. In doing so, we hope to enable any potential buyer to make an informed evaluation of the condition of each item themself.  


That being said, we do pride ourselves in preparing and grading vinyl records to the highest possible standards. Here is our process:

  • Prior to grading both the vinyl and sleeve are cautiously but thoroughly cleaned.
  • All items of the album are inspected in both bright daylight and underneath a halogen desk lamp. Any defects are noted.
  • The vinyl is played through on our high-end system at volume. The entire record is listened to and recorded. Any defects are noted.
  • We evaluate each aspect of the album with respect to the grading table as set out below. 


Dissatisfied by ambiguity in well-established grading standards, we decided to create our own. Drawing inspiration from existing grading standards, constructive feedback from a global customer base, and the vast experience of friends and colleagues in the industry, we crafted a meticulous and comprehensive standard. For brevity, a shortened version is provided below. The full Blue Chip Vinyl Standard will be published and available on our soon to be finished website. Updates to follow. 



The Blue Chip Vinyl Standard





The MINT (M) classification refers to an item that is perfect in every way. It is extremely rare that a used or unsealed vinyl record will meet the necessary criteria. In fact, many brand new items do not. 


The Disc:

The labels will be bright and clean. There will be no spindle marks and no wear to the centre hole. The centre of the label and the centre of the disc will be perfectly aligned. The vinyl surface will display an iridescent lustre. No surface marks are visible. The audio is clear and precise. The only surface noise present is the sound of the interaction with the stylus. 


The Sleeve:

The cover art will be vibrant. Any printed text will be clear and without smudging. There will be no staining. The corners, the spine, and all other edges will be without wear. The laminate has no creases, bubbles or ripples. Period original point-of-sale price and shop advertisement stickers are permitted.


The Inserts:

Any original additional inserts, such as an inner sleeve, lyric sheet, booklet or poster, are included and in perfect condition.




An accurate description of an EXCELLENT (EX) vinyl record is: "from a distance it looks mint". Upon closer inspection, however, several minor flaws will be evident. Only a small percentage of used vinyl records fall into this classification. As such, an EX record will be considered a final upgrade for the majority of collectors. In fact, some even prefer purchasing items in excellent condition to mint as they still look and sound exceptional, but the visible signs of use add character and authenticity. 


The Disc:

The labels will be bright and clean with no writing or stickers present. A small number of spindle marks will be visible. Slight misalignment between the label and disc centres may be evident. The vinyl surface will retain the original lustre but light, non-feel-able marks will be present. Quiet surface noise will be audible during the lead-ins, dead wax and quieter sections, although it will never distract. There will be no lessening in the sound quality of the actual audio reproduction. 


The Sleeve:

Not all, but some of the following defects will be present: minor rubbing/discolouration to the cover art and printed text; small, light stains/handling marks; corner softening; minor rubbing/wear to the spine and edges; short laminate ripples. Unless otherwise flawless, neither writing nor seam splits are permissible. 

The Inserts:

Any original inserts, such as an inner sleeve, lyric sheet, booklet or poster are included and show only minor deterioration in condition.


Very Good:


A VERY GOOD (VG) vinyl record will display obvious signs of prior handling and use but is still visually presentable and very useable. 


The Disc:

The defects as set out above for an EX classification above will be more pronounced and/or more numerous. Several additional defects may be present. A neatly written or a non-original sticker may be present one or both labels. An increased number of surface marks will be visible including some which can be felt. Pops and clicks will be audible. One or two may repeat for a small number of revolutions. Groove wear distortion may be audible during the introduction or for a short section during the remainder of the recording. Skips and sticks are not permissible. 


The Sleeve:

The defects as set out above for an EX classification above will be more pronounced and/or more numerous. Several additional defects may be present: neat writing; a non-original sticker; minor creases, especially near corners; small areas of laminate lift; import/export cut-out holes. 


The Inserts:

The original inner sleeve will be present and will still be capable of holding a record securely. Discolouration, minor seam splits, creasing and writing may be present. If additional inserts were originally included, some, if not all, will not be present. 


It is extremely rare that all aspects of a vinyl record  will be accurately described by a single grading classification. To all for circumstances when an item does not, a plus or minus will be added to the grading classification. For example, if the majority of the audio plays EX but a small number of tracks are M, an EX+ will be used. If, instead, a small number of tracks play VG, an EX- classification will be used. 



We worked hard to find a shipping solution that is appropriate for the Blue Chip items that we sell. Nearly 500 records later we are yet to have any shipping related damage reported. All of our items are sent with full-value insurance and are packed and shipped within 24hrs of purchase.


To protect your record during transit we use high quality, double-walled corrugated cardboard vinyl mailers with each and every order. Additional cardboard stiffeners are used when appropriate and required. The disc, sleeve, and any inserts are all housed inside a high-density polypropylene outer sleeve. And yes, before you ask, the disc is housed outside of the sleeve. 


Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranted By 1pm is our preferred shipping partner for all UK orders. No fee is charged for this service. 


eBay's Global Shipping Programme is utilised for all international orders. Through experience, I have found this to be the quickest, most reliable, and most comprehensive service. eBay manage all aspects; pricing, invoicing and fee collection. When more than one item is purchased, the shipping cost is combined and spread across each item individually. Shipping occurs as follows:


  1. We pack and ship the item from our location to eBay's global delivery partner, Geodis. To reflect our UK shipping policy, we do not charge for this service. 
  2. We upload a tracking reference number. Tracking updates can be viewed on the relevant order details page on eBay or alternatively on you can visit Royal Mail's website. 
  3. Geodis accept the item at their UK distribution centre. They manage all aspects of the shipment from here.
  4. A second tracking number will be provided by Geodis. Regular tracking updates will be provided on the relevant order details page. 


For buyers in the EU, North America and Australasia we are also able to offer direct shipping through a third party in certain cases. Please get in touch prior to bidding to discuss this. 


Please contact us if there is a problem with your purchase and we will work with you to find a resolution. 



There are several terms that we frequently use in our listings that may be unfamiliar to some. To help define these terms, we will first outline the way in which vintage vinyl records were produced.

  1. The original audio was recorded on tape.
  2. A lacquer engineer used this to produce a lacquer plate. This is also referred to as the father plate. 
  3. The lacquer plate was used to produce a mother plate.
  4. A mother plate was then used to produce a stamper plate.
  5. A stamper plate was subsequently used to press a record. 


The matrix number identifies which lacquer plate was used. It is usually a catalogue number followed by a number/letter combination


The mother code identifies which mother plate was used. It is usually a number


The stamper code identifies which stamper plate was used. It is usually a codified letter. Each record company uses a different code. For example, EMI used GRAMPHLTD where G=1, R=2 etc. 


All of this information can be usually be found on the central dead-wax of each disc. Sometimes additional information, such as a signature from the lacquer engineer, can be found here too. 


Through use, the stamper, mother, and lacquer plates all become worn. Consequently, the quality of the audio reproduction deteriorates. This is why first pressings with early mother & stamper codes are so highly prized by audiophile collectors. Although exacts figures are unknown, it is thought that each stamper produced ~1000 records, each mother ~100 stampers, and each lacquer ~15 mothers. 


We are sometimes questioned regarding our use of the terms 'pressing' and 'variant'. These terms are often used interchangeably which we believe is incorrect.


We use the term pressing to refer exclusively to the lacquer plate that was used to produce the disc. If the first lacquer plate was used, the disc is a first press. The second lacquer plate, a second press and so on.


We use the term variant to distinguish between differences in design introduced during the production process. 


A crossover pressing, or, equally, a crossover variant, refers to an item in which more than one pressing/variant are present on a single vinyl record. 


We make this distinction as it is not always the case that discs with first variant labels were produced before discs with second variant labels. We have seen countless examples where the mother and stamper codes confirm this. We believe, therefor, that it is misleading to conflate the terms as it always suggests that a disc with a first variant label was produced before the equivalent record with second variant label. 

We hope you will love your purchase, however if you need to return it, we have a 60 day return policy.

We hope you will love your purchase, however if you need to return it, we have a 60 day return policy.

We hope you will love your purchase, however if you need to return it, we have a 60 day return policy.

We hope you will love your purchase, however if you need to return it, we have a 60 day return policy.

Got a question about this item? We'd love to help. Click here to get in touch.  

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