Yesterday I spent the afternoon at a vinyl emporium which specialises in the rare and collectable. After flipping through records for a couple of hours I came across something special. Something I’d been after for years:

Deja Vu
By Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
– 1970 first UK pressing
– Atlantic orangey-red and plum centre labels
– Textured gatefold sleeve with gold embossed lettering and a pasted photo on the front
– Catalogue number and matrix codes consistent with early pressing

I couldn’t believe it. What a find. In our teens my brother and I played that record to death. We drove our sisters crazy. It wasn’t their kind of music, but my brother and I adored it. The vinyl wasn’t ours, however. It belonged to our mother’s boyfriend. It arrived with the rest of his record collection when he moved in with us. What a glorious day that was.

The copy in front of me was in great condition. It had survived the years well. The cover showed no signs of ringwear or fading, with only a few minor scuffs around the edges. The vinyl was immaculate. Mint. Unbounded joy.

I’d seen a few tatty copies for sale online. This was half the price and in better condition. I took it to the counter to pay for it. I was eager to get it out of the shop, but before I did I took another look at the inner sleeve. I hadn’t given it much attention. Just a quick check. Yep, it was fine. Looked new. Then my heart sank.

“Hang on,” I said. “The inner sleeve is new. This isn’t the original. Atlantic inners of the time had British patent numbers and date codes on them. And it’s way too clean.”

The dealer replied, “Yeah, I throw all those old inners away and put the vinyl in new ones. I’ve got lots of old inners out the back. Do you want one?”

AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!

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