The Top 20 most expensive Sisters bootlegs sold on eBay in 2020

Now is perfect time to look at what happened with Sisters bootlegs on eBay over the last year. I do this little exercise every year as I find that it is a good way to understand where the market is going, and whether my collection is increasing or decreasing in value.

Since there were hundreds of Sisters bootlegs sold in 2020, I have decided to narrow down my overview to the Top 20 most expensive bootlegs sold on the auction website. 

But before I start, I want to give a little disclaimer which is that this analysis is not scientific nor is it foolproof. To build my data set, I used both Popsike and ValueYourMusic, which had certain discrepancies between them, so users beware.

The other important point to note is that this overview only concerns eBay, because it is the only online marketplace for which yearly public data is readily available. Sisters bootlegs are sold via more channels, such as Discogs (yes, there are still some bootlegs available on the marketplace), CDandLP and other online marketplaces, and more importantly, privately. From experience, I can say that the most valuable items are usually transacted privately between collectors, and therefore the average eBay valuation for Sisters bootlegs is on the low side. If all sales (including private sales) were to be included, the numbers would be much higher.

Before I review the individual items that made it to the Top 20, I wanted to first do a little analysis on this sample to see if we can find any interesting trend, especially compared to the four previous years. If you don't care for the macro analysis, you can skip straight to Part II and the individual review of the Top 20 items.

Finally, I want to say that I may sound harsh in some of my assessments below but please understand that I mean no disrespect to any collector. The value of second hand records is intrinsically subjective and personal. Pretty much the entire population of our planet would think I am stupid to spend so much money buying from a band hardly nobody knows outside of a small group of aficionados. I have myself frequently overpaid for items just because I wanted to own them so again, all I am doing here is trying to look rationally at an activity that is fundamentally subjective. So I hope nobody will be offended by my rambling. 


PART I : MARKET OVERVIEW


1-Top 20 most expensive bootlegs by origin

In the world of Sisters bootlegs, releases can be broken down in six categories, corresponding to their origin:

  1. Classic bootlegs from 1984-1999 (mostly from Europe and the US);
  2. Modern Greek bootlegs
  3. Modern Australian bootlegs
  4. Modern European bootlegs (mostly from Eastern Europe and Germany)
  5. Other modern bootlegs (Israel, etc)
  6. Fake bootlegs (mostly from Greece and Italy)

In 2020, as we can see on the chart below, 9 of the Top 20 most expensive bootlegs sold on eBay were classic bootlegs, alongside 6 Greek bootlegs, 2 European bootlegs and 3 fake bootlegs. Compared to 2019, we have more classic bootlegs and less Greek bootlegs. The big change concerns the Australian bootlegs, of which none made the top 20 in 2020. The other big news is that no less than 3 of the 20 most expensive bootlegs sold on eBay were actually fakes, against none in 2019. This is a big trend and it is concerning as it shows that more and more fakes are produced and that they successfully fool collectors.



If we look at the evolution over the past five years, some interesting trends emerge.


Greek bootlegs have been relatively stable within the Top 20 since 2018 while Classic bootlegs experienced a very severe dip in 2018 and 2019 corresponding to the apparition of a whole series of new limited titles from Australia which took a significant market share of the premium bootleg segment. But as more and more Australian releases saturated the market, the collectors lost interest which led to a collapse of the premium Australian bootleg market in 2020, while Classic bootlegs are making a gentle comeback. Meanwhile, modern European bootlegs are slowly making an imprint, even though the numbers are still limited. And as mentioned before, 2020 sees forgers manage to place 3 fakes in the Top 20, which is disconcerting and a bad omen for the future.


2-Top 20 most expensive bootlegs by format

Another interesting data is which formats are represented among the Top 20 most expensive bootlegs of 2020. For the sake of this overview, I split the formats into four types:

  • LP/10";
  • 7";
  • Box sets or special presentations;
  • Other non-music media such as test sleeves.
In 2020, 13 of the Top 20 most expensive bootlegs sold on eBay were LPs, 4 were box sets and there was only 1 seven-inch and 2 others.


If we look at the evolution since 2016, we notice that the LP format is relatively steady, whereas seven-inches have collapsed since 2018.



3-Top 20 most expensive bootlegs by media

I am looking at four types of media: vinyl, lathe cut, acetate and other.

In 2020, the vast majority of the Top 20 releases were vinyl: 16. There were only 3 lathe cuts, and 1 other. This contrasts with 2019 and 2018, when lathe cuts had a stronger presence in the Top 20, a consequence of a flourish of new releases from Greece, most of them in the shape of limited box sets which fetched very high prices. In 2020, our notorious Greek bootlegger decided to switch back to vinyl for his latest series of releases, which explained the drop for the lathe cut category.



4-Top 20 by titles


Another interesting question is which titles have made the Top 20 most often over the past five years. Compiling information from 2016-2020, we have found nine titles which have appeared at least three times in the Top 20 over the five year period.

The winners are Brixton Ace and Stonehenge, with 5 apparitions each, followed by the Last Magician of Rational Thoughts, Cryptic Flowers and the Greek vinyl bootleg Opened Paradise with 4 apparitions each. Finally, four other titles have appeared 3 times in the Top 20: the legendary Halloween Day, the infamous Ghost Riders with xerox cover, and two Greek bootlegs: the Live At Big Club box set and the Peel Sessions Die Hard gatefold 2x10" lathe cut.

What is interesting in 2020 is that only three out of these nine usual contenders made the Top 20 this year: Brixton Ace, Cryptic Flowers and the Big Club box set. In 2018, seven of these titles (including multiples copies of the same title) were present in the Top 20 and in 2018, nine (also including multiples copies of the same title). One does this mean? Well 2020 offered more variations which is probably a good thing.


5. Top 20 in value

Now that we have looked at the typology of the releases making the Top 20, let's dive in the financial overview. 

From an economic standpoint, 2020 was a good year for Sisters bootlegs. If we add up the value of the twenty items making the Top 20, we get an aggregated value of 6,729 USD, which corresponds to a growth of 12% from 2019 and just a little short of an all time record of 6,820 USD reached in 2017. Not bad considering the global economy has been wrecked by the pandemic. 


Looking at individual pricing, we find that 2020 is breaking several records: most expensive item at 642 USD, most expensive median item (that is, the tenth item in the Top 20 list) at 300 USD, and highest least  expensive Top 20 item, at 236 USD. In 2016, a sale of 199 USD made the Top 20. It took 15% more in 2020 to make the list.



PART II : 2020 TOP 20 MOST EXPENSIVE EBAY BOOTLEGS


Without further due, let's look at the twenty most expensive Sisters bootlegs sold on eBay in 2020, starting at the bottom.

#20: Through The Years 1st Edition (3LP Box Set)

Type: Classic
Year: 1986
Format: Box Set
Media: 3xVinyl
Variant: 1st edition on clear vinyl with black and blue splatter
Rarity: 6/10
Quantity: unknown (possibly 300)
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 18
Discogs Want: 26
Discogs sale history: 180 EUR (Feb 2018)
Start Price: 149 USD
Sold for: 236 USD
Number of bids: 4
Dealometer: Decent price


A classic bootleg and definitely a great addition to any collection, this variant is the first pressing with three clear blue and black splatter vinyls. It is not so hard to find as copies turn up regularly on eBay or Discogs, but around 200 USD seems to be an average price point for this variant which is the first edition, so the buyer got it for a decent price.


#19: The Last Magician silver gatefold (7")

Type: Classic
Year: 1988
Format: 7"
Media: Vinyl
Variant: silver gatefold sleeve
Rarity: 8/10
Quantity: 24 (numbered)
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 8
Discogs Want: 26
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 20 GBP
Sold for: 238 USD
Number of bids: 13
Dealometer: Good deal!



One of the well identified and legit Sisters rarities, the Last Magician of Rational Thoughts was released in several variants, but the silver gatefold edition is certainly one of the rarest. Only 24 copies were issued, and each is individually machine-numbered (with letters A-Z). This item is very scarce and does not turn up very often for sale on eBay or Discogs. Prices as high as 350-400 USD have been paid for it so 226 USD seems like a great deal for this must-have collector item.


#18: Live In Maastricht 1984 (LP)

Type: Greek
Year: 2020
Format: LP in gatefold sleeve
Media: Vinyl
Variant: white vinyl with red splatter
Rarity: 4/10
Quantity: 25 (numbered)
Discogs link: not on Discogs
Discogs Have: n/a
Discogs Want: n/a
Discogs sale history: n/a
Start Price: 150 USD
Sold for: 245 USD
Number of bids: 4
Dealometer: Overpriced



One of the new vinyl bootlegs introduced from Greece this year, Live in Maastricht signals a welcome return to vinyl from our old friend from Greece, who had been focusing on low quality lathe cut releases over the past few years. As usual with Greek bootlegs, this record comes in a beautifully packaged custom gatefold hardcover. This variant has a white vinyl with red splatter, and like all the other variants, is supposedly limited to 25 numbered copies. Put for sale at 150 USD, the record fetched a ridiculous 245 USD, which can only be explained by the fact that this is a new release and that this color in particular had never been introduced before, leading to a bidding war between a couple completists. However a more cool-headed approach based on the fact that this variant counts at least 25 copies which will come to market at some point should have prevailed, as it is pretty certain that anybody interested will be able to secure this item for the start price of 150 USD at some point in the future. Verdict: completely overpriced.


#17: Live At Big Box (Box Set)

Type: Greek
Year: 2010
Format: LP Box Set
Media: Vinyl
Variant: black and grey swirl vinyl
Rarity: 6/10
Quantity: 30 (numbered)
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 7
Discogs Want: 8
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 250 USD
Sold for: 250 USD
Number of bids: Buy It Now
Dealometer: Good deal!



I know Greek boots get a lot of hate from orthodox collectors but I am not one of the haters, and I especially like this box. It was one of the first boxes if not the first of the Greek box wave of the 2010s. Not quite the first to feature a wooden box (Moving Shadows In A Land Of Darkness had this idea back in 1994), Live At Big Box has the most luxurious packaging and includes several extras such as a t-shirt, a mousepad, a lighter and a pin. In addition, the record itself, a black and grey swirl vinyl, is beautiful. And since it was one of the earlier boxes, it has become quite rare. In its heyday, the box has been sold for much higher amounts (close to 400 USD) so 250 USD is a good price. The current one for sale on Discogs is listed at 350 EUR for instance.


#16: LIFE + 7" signed by Andrew Eldritch

Type: Classic
Year: 1988
Format: 7" + Lyrics booklet
Media: Vinyl
Variant: autographed
Rarity: 8/10
Quantity: n/a (close to 1)
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 545 (not signed)
Discogs Want: 137
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 250 USD
Sold for: 250 USD
Number of bids: Buy It Now
Dealometer: Decent deal (if it's authentic)

Where is the signature?

Here comes our first real curiosity of the list: an (allegedly) autographed version of the infuriately common LIFE booklet and 7-inch combo, signed by Eldritch himself. IF (and you see I used a big IF here), the signature is authentic, it is a genuinely rare item because there aren't so many bootlegs that sport a signature of our lead singer. It doesn't help that none of the pictures provided by the seller actually shows the signature (at least, I wasn't able to spot it) but the item comes with a credible story about when and where it was signed (with supporting photo evidence of the signing session) so, all in all, I'd be inclined to believe the item to be authentic (provided I have access to all the evidence). If the story checks out, the price of 250 USD doesn't seem to be outrageous for such a rarity.


#15: Live In Powerhouse Die Hard 2xLP Test Pressing

Type: Greek
Year: 2020
Format: 2 x LP in limited "die hard" gatefold
Media: Vinyl
Variant: black vinyl with white labels (test pressing)
Rarity: 5/10
Quantity: 20 (numbered)
Discogs link: not on Discogs
Discogs Have: n/a
Discogs Want: n/a
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 150 USD
Sold for: 271 USD
Number of bids: 3 bids
Dealometer: Overpriced!


Yes another Greek die hard gatefold presentation. This one is a bit more intriguing as it is a brand new packaging of the (alleged) test pressings produced for the original Powerhouse release back in 2014. A proper box set of the same had surfaced back in 2019. Difficult to say whether these records are original from 2014 or repress on black vinyl. Doesn't really matter actually. As for several other new Greek releases that came in 2020, this item has, due to its novelty (this is the first copy ever introduced to the market), instantly been the object of a bidding war between two well-off completists, resulting in an inflated price for a brand new release which has been in produced in 20 copies and will, therefore, most certainly be offered over and over again on eBay, as has been the case with most previous Greek limited releases. Because of this, our opinion is that the item is vastly overpriced. Anybody patient enough to wait a few years should be able to pick up a new copy for no more than the start price, or even less.


#14: Covering Paradise 1984 10"

Type: Greek
Year: 2020
Format: 10"
Media: Lathe Cut
Variant: clear
Rarity: 3/10
Quantity: 50 (numbered) - probably much fewer in reality
Discogs link: not on Discogs
Discogs Have: n/a
Discogs Want: n/a
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 70 USD
Sold for: 282 USD
Number of bids: 4 bids
Dealometer: Very overpriced!



Okay, this is an even worse offender than #15. What the hell?? So we have here the exact same situation as with the test pressing of Powerhouse: a brand new item is introduced to the market. A few die hard completist collectors get over-excited and engage in a bidding war and the price jumps from a start price of 70 USD to a whopping 282 USD, just like that. Why is this worse than the Powerhouse? First this is a low quality cheaply cut lathe, issued in a shitty low grade paper picture sleeve, not a legit double vinyl nicely packaged gatefold release like Powerhouse. Lathe cut means this can be produced ad infinitum, made for order. Even though I doubt there will be even 50 copies made (there won't be so much demand for such a low quality product), it is certain than this item will end up being offered a few years from now at around 50 USD. which is what is the going rate for the other older Greek 10" lathe cuts such as More And More In Belgium. So very very overpriced...


#13: Live In Dingwalls 1983 LP

Type: Greek
Year: 2020
Format: LP
Media: Lathe Cut
Variant: clear
Rarity: 3/10
Quantity: 50 (numbered) - probably much fewer in reality
Discogs link: not on Discogs
Discogs Have: n/a
Discogs Want: n/a
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 100 USD
Sold for: 293 USD
Number of bids: 4 bids
Dealometer: Overpriced!


Another item, but the same story: cheaply made lathe cut issued in a flimsy picture sleeve. First ever introduced in August 2020, the item immediately caught the attention of the same die hard completists who battled it out, making the price skyrocket from 100 USD start price to a comfortable 293 USD. Never mind that the item is allegedly part of a run of 50 copies. Never mind that it's a lathe cut. To prove my case, the same item was offered again for sale in November and sold for.... you guessed it, 100 USD. Which is already expensive for what it is, but still a lot cheaper than the August item.

Is there a reason to the madness though? Well, as is the case with most Greek lathe cut, the run is in reality much smaller than the official number printed on the sleeve. These items are probably produced in very small quantity (I'm guessing less than 10) and only put back in production if the original run sells out. Another point to make about these lathe cuts is that the Greek producer is not interested in selling lots of them, but to sell each copy at a premium price. This also explains the relative scarcity of these releases. They don't want to flood the market with them as their business model relies mainly on generating bidding wars on each copy. So this explains why some collectors are willing to spend a lot of money on the first copy they see, for fear that no more copies will be forthcoming. Unlike vinyl which is produced in large runs, lathe cuts can be made one copy at a time so the final number of copies is anyone's guess. 


#12: The Final Floorshow LP (Greek Fake)

Type: Fake (from Greece)
Year: 2015
Format: LP
Media: Vinyl? (may be lathe, not sure as I don't own a copy)
Variant: positive sleeve
Rarity: 6/10
Quantity: 30 (numbered) - probably fewer in reality
Discogs link: not on Discogs
Discogs Have: n/a
Discogs Want: n/a
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 100 USD
Sold for: 293 USD
Number of bids: 4 bids
Dealometer: Scam


And we finally hit our first fake of the list, at number 13. The original Final Floorshow is one of the scarcest and therefore most expensive Sisters bootlegs. The last authentic copy that sold on eBay was in 2008, so over twelve years ago. Since then, because of its rarity, this precious bootleg has been counterfeited several times, mostly out of Greece. The first attempts were crude (and most likely on lathe cut) but the newer batch that surfaced in 2015 (and from which the current copy originates) is a much more convincing fake. I won't go into the details of how to recognize a genuine version (partly because I don't want to give too much information to our friends in Greece) but suffice to say that the copy for sale last year already failed the first test, which is that it did not have a stress mark across the sleeve and Xerox image pasted on the cover. The mark looks like a horizontal line that cuts across the sleeve a third way from the top. There are other differences when one looks at the vinyl and the extras that come with the release. In consideration of the fact that this is sold as an original, this is a scam. Anybody interested to own this item for completion purposes should not invest over 100 USD for it.


#11: Through The Years 3rd Edition (3LP Box Set)

Type: Classic
Year: 1986?
Format: Box Set
Media: 3xVinyl
Variant: 3rd edition with 3 purple marbled vinyls
Rarity: 7/10
Quantity: unknown
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 6
Discogs Want: 24
Discogs sale history: 195 EUR (Apr 2019)
Start Price: 100 USD
Sold for: 296 USD
Number of bids: 16
Dealometer: Decent price


The second copy of Through The Years to make the list, and this time it is a much rarer variant. This third edition features three beautiful dark purple marbled vinyls sporting unique beige "dog" labels. It is not known how many copies were made but looking at Discogs ownership, only 6 people own this release in their collection, against 18 for the first edition. Doing the math, there was probably 100 copies made of this (against the 300 copies of the first run). All in all,  even though the last Discogs price is much lower (at 195 EUR), 296 USD doesn't sound too crazy for this genuine Sisters rarity which is beautiful to look at and great to listen to as well.


#10: The Lights Shine Bright Through The Sodium Haze (2xLP)

Type: Classic
Year: 1984
Format: 2xLP + photos
Media: 2 x Vinyl
Variant: 1st edition with clear orange multic splatter vinyl
Rarity: 3/10
Quantity: 600
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 84
Discogs Want: 54
Discogs sale history: 120 EUR (Oct 2020)
Start Price: 300 USD
Sold for: 300 USD
Number of bids: Buy It Now
Dealometer: Overpriced


We are now getting into the Top 10! And boy, this one is quite puzzling. Yes, Sodium Haze is one of the legendary Sisters bootlegs. It looks and sounds great and is an essential part to any Sisters collection. But one should be able to fetch a good numbered copy of the first edition (as with this copy for sale) for a little over 100 USD. The first edition was pressed in 600 copies, so this guarantees that there are copies available at any given time. So why pay 300 USD for this? I don't know the answer. Perhaps the buyer was enticed by the four random live photographs included in the package? But that's not worth an extra 200 USD. My guess is that the buyer confused the item for sale (the common first edition in picture sleeve with a red info sheet) with the much rarer red xerox sheet cover edition of this release.

The much rarer "red cover" 2nd edition, has red but doesn't play in the same league...

The red cover is part of the second edition and is extremely rare. In fact only 4 people claim to own it on Discogs, and it sold only once on the marketplace, for a whopping 589 EUR in 2016! In conclusion, the price is way too much for a first edition.


#9: Gent Armaggedon Die Hard 2xLP Test Pressing

Type: Greek
Year: 2020
Format: 2 x LP in limited "die hard" gatefold
Media: Vinyl
Variant: black vinyls with white labels (test pressing)
Rarity: ?
Quantity: ?
Discogs link: not on Discogs
Discogs Have: n/a
Discogs Want: n/a
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 200 USD
Sold for: 338 USD
Number of bids: 2 bids
Dealometer: Probably overpriced but not sure...

Why aren't you numbered like all the others???

I admit this one is not as straightforward as it seems. At face value, it seems as if we have yet another case of a brand new Greek release getting sold at inflated price because the die hard completists engage in a bidding war over it. Now the reason why I am a bit hesitant is that, unlike most other Greek "die hard" gatefold editions, this one isn't numbered and therefore we have no indication of the quantity of the intended run. I don't know why. It may be that the design didn't accommodate any numbering as with the other releases. Or it may be that this particular test pressing is actually quite limited. Time will tell. Regardless, it is dubious that there would only be one copy available if the producer went into the trouble of designing a special sheet to go on the generic gatefold sleeve he's using here.


#8: Out Through The Poison Door LP (Homemade Fake)

Type: Fake (Homemade)
Year: 2020
Format: LP
Media: Vinyl
Variant: n/a
Rarity: n/a
Quantity: n/a
Discogs link: here (slightly different fake variant)
Discogs Have: 3
Discogs Want: 7
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 70 GBP
Sold for: 351 USD
Number of bids: 7 bids
Dealometer: Scam


The second fake to make the list. This is quite frustrating as a little research on Sisters wiki would have made it clear that the package is not genuine, and I personally posted a warning on the FB Group about it. The original Out Through The Poison Door is easily recognizable by its labels, which sports the infamous TAKRL gray elephant design. The fake was put together by using copies of the front and back inserts from the original, a random TAKRL "limited to 100 copies" sleeve and a copy of the LP2 from the second edition of A Black Pack, a much more common bootleg. Even though the original OTTPD is most likely a TAKRL release, it didn't come in a stamped sleeve, and its run was 150 copies, not 100 as stamped on the fake copy. The sad part is that this fake was sold for the price of an original. 


#7: Cryptic Flowers LP

Type: Classic
Year: 1984
Format: LP
Media: Vinyl
Variant: white vinyl with blue green yellow multic splatter, b&w sleeve
Rarity: 7/10
Quantity: n/a
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 7
Discogs Want: 11
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 70 USD
Sold for: 362 USD
Number of bids: 5 bids
Dealometer: Overpriced


Let me first say that this kind of rarities is the reason why collecting Sisters bootlegs is so exciting. Cryptic was one of the first ever Sisters bootlegs and has become legendary in the collectors community. Many variants exist, a big chunk of which don't even have the right vinyl in them (more about that on a later post...). But this here is the real deal. This white vinyl with blue, green, yellow and red splatter is indeed very rare. It didn't even make its entrance on Discogs until 2019. While 7 collectors have it in their collection, this variant has never been sold on the Discogs marketplace. I personally ever saw 3 copies in my twenty year collecting. Hard to know how many exist, but probably not many based on this circumstantial evidence. So what is wrong then? I just find the pricing a bit steep for this record, especially in its condition, with the labels being all f*cked-up (love the "made in England" sticker added to the handwritten mess to make it more official). I am lucky to own a copy but if I didn't, my limit for this item would be 250 USD.


#6: Don Juan LP

Type: Classic
Year: 1986
Format: LP + Other (test sleeve)
Media: Vinyl
Variant: Test sleeve
Rarity: 10/10
Quantity: 1?
Discogs link: not on Discogs
Discogs Have: n/a
Discogs Want: n/a
Discogs sale history: never
Start Price: 100 USD
Sold for: 376 USD
Number of bids: 5 bids
Dealometer: Great deal (one in a lifetime opportunity, if genuine)

I want to look at you, you are so beautiful...

This for me is the highlight of this list, the crown jewel of the Sisters bootleg rarities sold on eBay in 2020. One of the test sleeves produced for the classic Don Juan release, it differs from the commercial release by featuring only the artwork and no print on this picture sleeve. It is not known if several copies of this test artwork were produced. This was sold from Greece so one must always be cautious as to whether the item is genuine or not, but based on the visual evidence (especially the back cover not featured here), it does look real to me. To find a test sleeve for a classic bootleg is a one in a lifetime opportunity, and therefore, the price seems very reasonable to me. I would go so far as to call it a bargain! This is definitely the best deal in the Top 20 in addition to being the rarest item to make the list.


#5: The Grief LP

Type: Classic
Year: 1989
Format: LP
Media: Vinyl
Variant: blue marbled vinyl
Rarity: 7/10
Quantity: est. about 50, part of the 2nd edition (500 copies in several colors)
Discogs link: here?
Discogs Have: 7
Discogs Want: 12
Discogs sale history: 70 EUR (Mar 2018)
Start Price: 200 USD
Sold for: 393 USD
Number of bids: 3 bids
Dealometer: Most likely overpriced


This entry is another case that is not so straightforward. First, I have to say that, just like with Cryptic, The Grief provides collectors with a lot of excitement and frustration as we try to track down the many different color and sleeve variants that exist. Now when I look at this particular copy, it doesn't seem to be such a rare variant. The darker marbled kind exists in different shades (bluer, greener and browner) but none of them are especially hard to track down if you look long enough. If fact, a copy is for sale on Discogs, offered at 200 EUR. The sleeve itself doesn't have any bell and whistle either (such as sticker or numbered stamp). So I believe this item is overpriced even though, in order to be completely definite about it, we would need to look at the item in real life under natural lighting to really ascertain its color. As you can tell from the two photos provided by the seller, the color looks already very different from the wide to the closeup...


#4: Brixton Ace LP

Type: Classic
Year: 1984
Format: LP
Media: Vinyl
Variant: yellow xerox cover, black vinyl without labels
Rarity: 4/10
Quantity: est. about 50? (part of the 1st edition of 500 copies in multiple vinyl and cover sheet colors)
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 7
Discogs Want: 6
Discogs sale history: 41 EUR (Sep 2020)
Start Price: 100 USD
Sold for: 395 USD
Number of bids: 5 bids
Dealometer: Grossly overpriced


Here we enter into complete WTF territory. Again, Brixton Ace is a classic and a must have bootleg. Nobody will argue about that. But who in his right mind would shell out close to 400 USD for a fairly common variation of the most common edition of this bootleg? Here we have a 1st edition issued in a generic sleeve with the most common yellow insert pasted on the cover of it. As for the vinyl, it is the slightly less common black vinyl without labels variant. Yes it's not as widespread as the white multicolor splatter kind, but still... I personally own three copies of this, and see it on sale pretty much every year at least once. As a reference, it got sold on Discogs for 41 EUR in September of 2020! Now that was quite a bargain in my opinion, but this bootleg is not worth anywhere near 400 USD. Now if you want a genuinely rare variant that is similar to this, look no further than this one. It is also black vinyl but with white labels, and it is more rare than the no-label kind we have here.


#3: Pixels Of Mercy - The 8-bit House E.P.

Type: Modern European
Year: 1984
Format: LP Box Set
Media: Lathe 
Variant: n/a
Rarity: 7/10
Quantity: 23 (numbered)
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 8
Discogs Want: 5
Discogs sale history: 41 EUR (Sep 2020)
Start Price: 365 EUR
Sold for: 447 USD
Number of bids: 2 bids
Dealometer: Overpriced but...


To be honest, this was initially quite a surprise to find one of the .kollektiv23. productions in our Top 20, and especially at this level, very close to the top. However, I have to say it makes me happy for the maker of this beautiful object. Like all the other releases coming out of .kollektiv23., this box is literally a labour of love, assembled with great artistic taste and an extraordinary attention to detail. Is the audio my cup of tea? No, I couldn't care less about midi versions of Sisters tracks. But as a collectible, I think this is a wonderful item, which is a must have for any serious collector who tolerate lathe cuts as part of their collection. What is even better from a collectible standpoint is that this object is truly limited to 23 copies and basically near impossible to repress, considering the amount of work that went into making the first batch. Now would I pay that amount of money for it if I hadn't had the chance to fetch a copy when it first came out? Right now, probably not, as I would still hope to find a cheaper copy. But in ten years, if I still hadn't found it, I may consider that 450 USD to own a truly rare and beautiful Sisters collectible isn't too far-fetched. The one thing that is clear is that any .kollektiv23. item is basically sold out even before it is made, and because they are initially affordable and bought by true fans, very few copies are put back on the second-hand market. So going forward, I expect more of the .kollektiv23. releases to make their way to the Top 20.


#2: Holland 83 2xLP (Homemade Fake)

Type: Fake (Homemade)
Year: 2020
Format: 2xLP
Media: Vinyl 
Variant: n/a
Rarity: n/a
Quantity: n/a
Discogs link: not on Discogs
Discogs Have: n/a
Discogs Want: n/a
Discogs sale history: never sold
Start Price: 100 USD
Sold for: 471 USD
Number of bids: 6 bids
Dealometer: Scam


Here we go, our last fake to make the Top 20, sadly in second position... Now what is this monstrosity exactly? Well just like the creative white label Out Through The Poison Door we reviewed earlier, this is a  Frankenstein fake made up of various parts stolen from other bootlegs. But unlike Poison Door, it is not trying to pass as an existing rarity. No, this fake is more creatively ambitious: it wants to convince collectors that it is a rare and unique release. And judging by the selling price of 471 USD, the argument was quite convincing for at least a couple collectors engaged in the bidding war around this item. Let's unpack this to understand what we are actually looking at here. Basically this has the same content as the famous Possession 2LP. However, cleverly, the two LPs haven't been sourced from any of the Possession releases. The first LP (red) was sourced from a copy of Cryptic Flowers (but a copy that has the wrong vinyl in it, that is: Possession LP1). This seems confusing so let me explain further: if you have a translucent red Cryptic, you actually have Possession LP1 in a Cryptic sleeve, since Cryptic Flowers was not pressed in this color. It is only because of a stocking mistake (both Cryptic and Possession LP1 have the same runouts) that red copies of Possession LP1 ended up being distributed inside Cryptic Flowers sleeves. This thread @The Heartland Forums address this unfortunate situation.

What about the second LP? Well, it is Possession LP2 but the variant with yellow and black TAKRL labels that was released as part of the 3xLP Box Set The Dark.

Okay so what to make of this Frankenstein fake? Is it worth 471 USD? Definitely not. That being said, the two records it contains are both rare in their own right. Not sure however of their value (especially as far as The Dark is concerned) without their original packaging... So my final verdict is that this item is definitely overpriced.


#1: London, Electric Ballroom (11.08.83) LP

Type: Modern European?
Year: 2017
Format: LP
Media: Vinyl 
Variant: black vinyl with white labels (test pressing)
Rarity: 9/10
Quantity: 5
Discogs link: here
Discogs Have: 3
Discogs Want: 12
Discogs sale history: never sold
Start Price: 500 GBP
Sold for: 642 USD
Number of bids: Buy It Now
Dealometer: Steep but ok deal


This is the end my friend: we are now looking at the most expensive Sisters bootleg sold on eBay in 2020. And this one is actually a true enigma. Allegedly a test pressing limited to 5 copies (which makes sense as this is usually the number of tests that you would get if you order a small run), it first surfaced on eBay in 2017 and was seen again once last year. According to Discogs, 3 collectors own a copy. Not much is known about where it came from, and it is puzzling that the actual bootleg this test was made for has not yet seen the light of day. Perhaps it suffered a similar fate as the other Sisters bootleg sharing the same content -- Halloween Day -- for which most copies were seized by law enforcement and destroyed. On account of the first ever copy being sold out of England, I am assuming the origin is European, however there is no certainty about it. All we can say is that this is a true rarity in addition to being a mystery. So is the price crazy or does it make sense? Well the first copy was sold for a little over 410 USD. This is the second copy which surfaced three years after the first one. Three copies at least are in the hands of serious collectors who have no intention of parting with it. We can assume the producer kept at least one copy so there isn't much opportunity to fetch this item, hence I don't find the price shocking. Of course, if more copies start popping up and/or, even worse, the commercial release comes out in black vinyls with plain white labels, I will seriously revise my judgement on the value of the test pressing. But for now, I find the price, while expensive, isn't completely crazy for what constitutes a truly rare vinyl that very few collectors will have the chance to own.


Conclusion

I think 2020 was an interesting year for Sisters collectors on eBay. As the Top 20 shows, there was a nice mix of classic and new bootlegs, and some truly genuine rarities. Based on some of these transactions, it seems that there is still a market for premium Sisters rarities even though times are tough for a lot of people out there because of the pandemic. For me, the only sour spot was that three fake records made the Top 20. I'm hoping that posts such as these will increase the awareness of the collectors community so people who willingly engage in deceiving collectors won't reap such benefits as they did this year.



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