Rare David Bowie, Ed Sheeran Vinyl Record Test Pressings Up for Sale in Charity Auction

David Bowie

David Bowie performs at the Forum in Copenhagen on Oct. 7, 2003. 

All of the test pressings are of records that were released or reissued between 2014 and 2019, including around 20 that are signed by the artist.

Rare test pressing records by David Bowie, Ed Sheeran and Sex Pistols are to go under the hammer at a 'white label' vinyl auction to raise funds for U.K. music charity The BRIT Trust. 

The auction, which is being billed as the first-of-its-kind, takes place Oct. 5 at Omega Auctions, located in Newton-Le-Willows, Northern England. Around 300 white-label records will be on sale, including releases from Liam Gallagher, Oasis, The Jam, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Kylie, Sex Pistols, Dusty Springfield, Genesis, The Specials, Lenny Kravitz, Manic Street Preachers, Lianne La Havas, Mark Ronson and The Who.

Music fans and collectors around the world can make bids online at Omega Auctions. All three major labels contributed white-label LPs to auction, as did independent record labels and companies BMG, Domino Records, Blue Raincoat Music, Cherry Red, Kobalt Music, Sour Mash and Ignition. All of the test pressings are of records that were released or reissued between 2014 and 2019, including around 20 that are signed by the artist.

White label test pressings are produced by vinyl manufacturers to ensure sound quality meets the required standards with only a handful of copies ever made for each release. That makes them highly sought after by fans and collectors. The auction is the idea of Universal Music U.K. catalogue A&R director Johnny Chandler and is being staged as part of a week-long build up to the second annual National Album Day, an industry-wide marketing initiative to celebrate the LP format, taking place October 12. 

Funds from the auction will go towards The BRIT Trust, which supports young people in music and education and is funded through the BRIT Awards, sister event, The Classic BRITs, and the annual Music Industry Trusts Awards.

Since its formation in 1989, the Trust has distributed more than £25 million ($31 million) to a slew of organizations, most notably performing-arts and technology school The BRIT School and U.K. music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, which helps 10,000 people a year with life-limiting illnesses, physical disabilities or emotional challenges.

"It'll be wonderful if, by auctioning these rarities, we can raise funds to support the amazing work of The BRIT Trust, whilst celebrating the 'art of the album' through National Album Day," said Chandler, who hopes the auction will become a regular event.

"It's unprecedented to have a collection of white label titles of this size up for auction," said Omega Auctions' Paul Fairweather, "and we're certain that collectors will be as excited as we are when the full catalogue is published."


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