I wrote about this one pretty extensively on Diffuser, so go check that out for all the sordid details, but let’s talk butcher covers.
Butchers come in three “states”:
1) First state: One of the super rare versions that never had the more subdued sleeve pasted over the top.
2) Second state (pictured above): The “trunk” cover pasted over the offending butcher cover is still intact.
3) Third state: The trunk cover has been peeled away to reveal the butcher cover.
Third state is most common, as kids (and adults, and still to this day) want to see the dangerous cargo hidden below, which looks like this:
If you happen upon a second state cover, there’s no need to peel it to see the butcher photo. You just saw it. Want to see it again? Look up — there it is. Come visit that photo whenever you want, no charge.
Now that we can all see the photo whenever we want, I assume that what drives people to peel at this point is the need to know for certain that they have a butcher cover. Well, I can help with that. Here are a couple of things to look for:
1) The paste over. Not all trunk covers were pasted straight. Sometimes you can see the original cover lurking around the edges, like on my copy.
2) The black triangle. Ringo is wearing a black turtleneck beneath his butcher smock on the original cover (see above). The trunk cover has an empty field of white in this area of the photo. The triangle of Ringo’s shirt bleeds through the trunk cover. It can be hard to see, so I cranked the contrast to better depict what I’m talking about.
3) Stereo or mono? Both, so that won’t tell you whether your copy is a butcher, but note: stereo butchers are more valuable than mono versions.
4) The “Gold Record Award” logo. This clearly demonstrates a later pressing. No butcher here.
So what can you expect to pay for a butcher cover? Well, what do you want to pay? You can pay a hundred bucks for a really bad third state peel job with no album (or maybe an album), or you can pay $20,000 for a pristine first state stereo copy. Your average second state mono goes for around $350 currently, but they get a little rarer every time somebody peels one. You can also buy a reprint for around 35 bucks. Happy hunting.
Categories: From the Stacks