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The world’s biggest collection

In some respects Zero Fretas is just like any other obsessive record collector.

He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of music.

He has a beard.

But in other ways Fretas is very different.

Largely because he’s one of the richest men in Brazil – and he cannot stop buying records.

Fretas owns the world's biggest record collection

Fretas owns the world’s biggest record collection

He is the owner of the world’s biggest record collection.

In fact it’s the world’s biggest collection, period.

No one is able to put an exact number on it, but cautious estimates place it somewhere in the region of several million.

At present, he employs a host of people to catalogue it – a task that is expected to take around 20 years to complete.

It’s breathtakingly eclectic.

It includes a copy of almost every record ever pressed in Cuba (around 100,000) and a set of 15,000 polka albums.

While many of his records are unique, around 30% are duplicates. He owns 1,793 copies of the first album he ever bought, Roberto Carlos Sings to the Children.

His mission? To own a copy of every record ever produced.

Fretas is certainly not alone.

The Sultan of Brunei, for instance, owns the world’s largest collection of cars – around 7,000 in total.

That’s an astronomical number, particularly when you take into account that we’re talking Ferrari Berlinettas and Lamborghini Diablos rather than Ford Fiestas and Nissan Micras.

At the weirder end of the scale we have Danny Fleming from Grimsby, who owns a collection of 105 pairs of bagpipes.

There is something awe inspiring about a truly vast collection and the same urge, whether or not it takes on this epic scale, is something that drives all collectors.

We can all relate to that heart-pounding moment when you come across the one thing that you’ve been looking for and equally, the satisfaction that a collection brings.

Tom

What makes Beatles records so valuable?

All records signed by all four members of the Beatles are exceptionally rare, but some are rarer than others.

Please Please Me, the debut album which was released in 1963, is the most widespread – with around 70 known examples, according to Autograph Magazine’s census. Despite the record being the most commonly signed, it is not unusual for copies to sell for upwards of $15,000.

Lill-Babs and The Beatles took part in the Swe...

The Beatles performing on Swedish television in 1963

With the Beatles and A Hard Day’s Night are far rarer, with around 15-20 and 8-10 known examples respectively – meaning examples very rarely come up for auction.

However, with preceding albums – including Help, Rubber Soul and Revolver – the number of signed copies available drops dramatically – down to just one or two known examples worldwide.

So why the sudden drop in signed records in the mid 1960s?

Well, at this time the Beatles were at the height of their creative powers, no longer the fresh faced teenagers who had inspired such mania amongst young girls on both sides of the Atlantic. They grew their hair long, tuned into the counterculture and shook off their teenybopper fans – becoming less approachable as they slowly imploded.

This capping of the market early on has ensured that the value of their records will continue to rise as long as demand remains consistent.

In 2011 the record for the most valuable Beatles record was set by Meet the Beatles, which realised an impressive $150,000.

47 - 1963 - Beatles, The - Meet The Beatles - ...

Meet the Beatles was the band’s second album in the US.

That figure has since been outstripped.

So what is the most valuable autographed Beatles record today?

That record was set in April of this year by a copy of the seminal Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which made an incredible $290,500 – soaring past its initial valuation by 868.3%.

The Beatles Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club ban...

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The value of Beatles records keeps on climbing, with the value of a signed album page up a solid 6.3% between 2012 and 2013.

You can view our signed copy of A Hard Day’s Night here, one of the 8-10 in existence.

Tom

$142m worth of Bacon

Chances are, if you’ve been perusing the news today, you’ll have seen that Francis Bacon‘s Three Studies of Lucian Freud has become the world’s most valuable painting sold at auction, knocking Edvard Munch‘s $120m The Scream off the top spot by a considerable amount.

And nowhere has covered the auction better than Paul Fraser Collectibles. Read the report on the sale here, or our ten (genuinely) fascinating facts about Francis Bacon, or the 11 reasons why the painting is now the most valuable ever sold.

Just in case that wasn’t enough art news, we’ve also reported on the rest of the sale, which also saw a new world record for a work by a living artist.

Joe

Think you know your collectibles? The answers…

Last month I set you a tricky collectibles-based quiz. Let’s see how you did.

1. Everyone knows the Penny Black was the first stamp, but what year was it printed?

1800, 1820, 1840 or 1860?

2. A Marilyn Monroe film-worn dress holds the $5.6m world auction record for a piece of movie memorabilia. But which film is it from?

The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Prince and the Showgirl, or Some Like It Hot?

3. Which Scottish distillery holds the auction record for a bottle of whisky?

Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, The Glenlivet or Lagavulin?

4. Who was the third man aboard Apollo 11 – the most collectible of all space missions?

Gene Cernan, Michael Collins, James Lovell or Yuri Gagarin?

5. Which superhero features on the front cover of the most valuable comic book ever auctioned?

Spider-Man, Batman, Superman or The Green Lantern?

Got five out of five without recourse to Google? You are a bona fide collectibles know it all!

Dan

Quick collectibles quiz

Think you know your collectibles?

These five posers should see if you’re right. Answers next week.

1. Everyone knows the Penny Black was the first stamp, but what year was it printed?

1800, 1820, 1840 or 1860?

Just how old is this block of Penny Blacks?

Just how old is this block of Penny Blacks in our stock?

2. A Marilyn Monroe film-worn dress holds the $5.6m world auction record for a piece of movie memorabilia. But which film is it from?

The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Prince and the Showgirl, or Some Like It Hot?

3. Which Scottish distillery holds the auction record for a bottle of whisky?

Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, The Glenlivet or Lagavulin?

4. Who was the third man aboard Apollo 11 – the most collectible of all space missions?

Gene Cernan, Michael Collins, James Lovell or Yuri Gagarin?

5. Which superhero features on the front cover of the most valuable comic book ever auctioned?

Spider-Man, Batman, Superman or The Green Lantern?

Dan

Surf’s Up – 50 years on

This weekend is a big one.

There’s a royal baby on the way, it’s the anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landings, and, for 60s music lovers like myself, tomorrow marks 50 years since the first surfing song hit number one in the US charts.

Surfing song? Must be the Beach Boys, right?

Well, not quite.

Two young college kids from California named Jan and Dean.

Their Surf City stayed at the top spot for two weeks in the summer of 63, inspiring a generation and propelling surf music into the spotlight.

Jan and Dean

Jan and Dean – ready to hit the beach

So, was Surf City the inspiration for the Beach Boys?

Not quite.

The band’s Brian Wilson actually wrote the tune and first line: “Two girls for every boy”, and gave it to the duo, who had been angling to record Wilson’s Surfin’ Safari, which had reached number 14 a year earlier.

Surf City transformed Jan and Dean’s fortunes as they proceeded to record a string of surf-inspired Top 10s. Today their names are synonymous with sand, surf, carefree summers and good times.

Take a look at this Jan and Dean-signed photo we have in stock.

Dan

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