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What You Need to Know About the Rare Beatles Butcher Cover Album - Yesterday and Today

Updated on February 22, 2020
TLStahling profile image

Toni has been an avid collector of rock n roll memorabilia for 20+ years - from The Beatles and Woodstock up to contemporary artists.

The Best Clue to Finding a Beatles "Butcher Album" is in the Paste Over

Beatles Butcher Album Superimposed
Beatles Butcher Album Superimposed

Could there be a Beatles Butcher Cover underneath a "Yesterday and Today" album?

Could an innocent-looking album cover of The Beatles "Yesterday And Today" be hiding the recalled "Butcher Cover" as it's now known? How can you tell if the album with the band hanging around an open trunk is actually one of the tens of thousands of slicks that were pasted over the original cover?

If you're a Beatles fan, like I am, then you probably know about the recall of 750,000 albums distributed in June 1966 by Capitol records. The original cover photo (taken by Robert Whitaker) had the band members wearing white lab jackets with ripped off doll heads and raw meat all over them. A little strong for that era - even though it was described as "conceptual art."

When Capitol records altered the cover with the new "Trunk" photo, it wasn't placed in exact alignment. It had to be trimmed 1/8" to 3/16" of an inch, leaving a clue for what may be a treasure underneath. The give-a-way: Look real close for bleed-through of Ringo's black V-Neck sweater.

It wasn't long after this new cover reissue before the record-buying community caught onto the altered version and started peeling off the top sheet to reveal the original image underneath.

As the value climbed and collector interest piqued, certain techniques were developed for uncovering this hidden treasure and keeping it intact.

If the album has a Gold Record Award seal on it, it is NOT an original

How to Spot Ringo's Black V-Neck Sweater

At first, it was hard for me to recognize Ringo's sweater bleed through. But once you know where to look, it becomes easier to spot. Look carefully and you will see Ringo's black sweater bleed through from the original cover image.


The Three States of "Yesterday And Today"

There are three different versions of the record album that are known as "States."

1. First State:

The original release with the controversial image is called the "First State." They, of course, are the rarest, hardest to find and the most valuable. (Read about Alan Livingston's Collection)

2. Second State:

Copies of the album with the paste over "Trunk" image that are unpeeled are referred to as the "Second State." They, too, have become increasingly harder to find and rising in value, especially if it's in its original sealed wrap.

3. Third State:

Then, you have the albums that originally had the paste over, but have been peeled and reveal the "Butcher" photo known as the "Third State." The value of these albums depend on how skillfully it was peeled.

Each of these albums were released

in Stereo and Mono

How To Peel The Butcher Album

If your album is a "Second State" and you want to keep it as an investment; my advice is NOT to peel it. But if you're a fan and you want the coveted photo revealed, then here is some help and tutorials on doing it. Keep in mind there are also professional services that will peel the album for you.

What are the albums worth? - The value differs with the "State" and the "Condition"

My favorite reference book for vinyl values is the Goldmine Record Album Price Guide. It lists all the available "Yesterday And Today" releases with Identifying Number, Title, Year and Value (based on Near Mint condition).

One thing to keep in mind is condition. You've heard the saying in real estate that it's "location, location, location." I can't stress enough that condition is comparable to a grading system; the higher the grade, the higher the value. Also, as it is with everything, - it is worth what someone will pay for it. Meaning, it may value over or below market price depending on timing of the sale and finding the right buyer.

Some guidelines from Goldmine quote the "First State" Stereo issue at around $4000 to $8000 depending on condition; "Second State" Stereo issue at $1000 in Near Mint condition to "Third State" at around $1200 (price depending on the success of the peel). This is just a guideline, as with most memorabilia, it holds a personal value to each individual differently.

Goldmine is an excellent source for record collectors and lists many other Beatles albums along with over 600 pages and 70,000 vinyl LPs with estimated values. There are also articles and info on buying and selling; and ads in the back listing supplies for cleaning, storing, framing and shipping your vinyls.

The Butcher album was never on CD.

If you see one, it's a bootleg.

Do you have "The Beatles Yesterday And Today" album? - If so, what "State" is it?

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    • Fox Music profile image

      Fox Music 

      5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this HubPage "The Beatles Rare Butcher Cover Album - Yesterday And Today" very informative.

    • Dylanexpert profile image

      John D. Baldwin 

      5 years ago from New York, New York

      Very nice and informative. Actually, I'm *still* grossed out by the Butcher Cover (after all these years!) and have no desire to own it (though I wish I had one to sell).

      FYI, I had to edit my hub about Ringo, replacing three of the videos I had used because they were removed from YouTube. However, two out of the three new videos (Tomorrow Never Knows and Strawberry Fields) are better than the ones that were there originally.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I had "The Beatles Yesterday And Today" with the butcher cover pasted over. I was about 10 (in the early 80's) when my cousin gave me his old, busted up copy of the mono version of this album. After reading about how capitol records put new covers over the old one, I tried ripping the cover off with masking tape. Sure enough, there was the butcher cover. I kept going and I ripped part of the butcher cover off. then I stopped. to scared to go further. :-)

    • dotpattern profile image

      Pat Moire 

      8 years ago from West Village, New York City

      There's a great poster of the Butcher album too.

    • jdwheeler profile image


      8 years ago

      I only have the White Album on vinyl. I had no idea about this until I read this page. There's always something new to learn about the Beatles.


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