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A Record Collector's Guide

SP34 Nirvana

Bleach

Sub Pop SP34, released June 1989

Sub Pop SP834 2xLP, released 2009

Tupelo TUPLP6 (UK)

Waterfront DAMP114 (Australia)

What can I say about Bleach?  This album means everything in the realm of Sub Pop.  A fabulous album that, in the end, led to the salvation of the label.  There are many, many editions of Bleach.  Check out Discogs for the full global list - I am going to focus on the U.S. Sub Pop pressings.  The first pressing was of 1000 on white vinyl.  Some of these came with posters.  The price of this was was stable in the $400 range for many years.  It has been really unpredictable lately, though.  I have seen three different copies sell for more than $900.

The second pressing was of 2000 on black vinyl.  Most of these came with posters.  Those that didn't came with giant letter-size Singles Club ads.  You will see normally see this referred to as the "A4" insert...It's not A4, silly Europeans.  It's U.S. letter size, which is different.  There were at least two different Singles Club forms that were used in this capacity: one starts with Lazy Cowgirls and another starts with Sister Ray.  The first time I saw one of the Sister Ray copies, I thought someone had swapped out a form from another record, but I have since seen three or four more of these, so I now believe them to be legit.  Presumably, Sub Pop had some copies sitting on the shelf for a few months, so they swapped out the Singles Club forms at some point.  Anyway, the black ones with posters generally go for more than those with inserts - lately, a lot more.  Black copies with posters have shot up in price - I have seen several copies sell in the $350-$500 range, which is completely insane.  The copies that come with neither a poster nor an insert are much less expensive. 

The 3rd pressings, done by Erika, were on a variety of colors (pink, pink marble, purple marble, green marble, yellow-green marble, and blue marble).  Some are much rarer than others, and this is reflected in the pricing.  The blue marble version has always been the most expensive of this group, but for some weird reason, the price of the purple one has taken off recently, while most of the others have stayed stable.  There is one specific standout edition from this era: 500 copies on red & white swirled vinyl.  Most of these came sealed in plastic along with a blue vinyl Sliver 7".  They are also numbered.  All of these things combine to make this a very expensive edition.  Some copies have surfaced with no numbers and no 7" - these go for much less money than the full sets.

There is one pressing that does not fit with the rest: the so-called "Iceberg" pressing.  As the story goes, these were not used by the label for fear that they would be mistaken for the white pressing.  There were very few of these.  As such, it sells for an obscene amount of money.  

There was another later pressing on black vinyl, but is easily distinguished from the earlier black pressing.  First, there is a bar code and the Sub Pop web URL on the back of the sleeve.  Next, the Nirvana logo on the front of the sleeve is in a different position.  On all earlier pressings, the logo butts right up against the top edge of the sleeve.  On this later edition, it is evenly spaced between the top edge and the picture.

In 2009, Sub Pop reissued Bleach again.  This new version ("Deluxe Edition") is a double LP, and carries a different catalogue number (SP834).  The second record contains the band's live performance from February 9, 1990 in Portland, OR.  The first 10,000 copies of the Deluxe Edition are on white vinyl.  Some copies have some dark streaks running through them.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to this.  Heavyweight vinyl was used for this pressing.  There have been some reports of these records not playing very well on some people's turntables.  I cannot confirm or deny this.  Sub Pop has also done black vinyl copies.  The release comes with a download coupon.

But why stop there?  In 2014, Sub Pop and Newbury Comics collaborated to release two more versions of Bleach, one on maroon vinyl and one on clear vinyl with white mixed in.  Each of these was limited to 750 copies.

Version Approximate value ($) Price Trending
SP34 White (1000) 450-900 Up/Volatile
SP34 Black w/ Poster (2000) 300-500 Up/Volatile
SP34 Black w/ Singles Club Insert 100-140 Stable
SP34 Black w/o Poster, Insert, or Bar Code 70-80 Stable
SP34 Iceberg 1200-1500 ?
SP34 Pink 50-70 Stable
SP34 Pink Marble 90-120 Stable
SP34 Red 90-120 Stable
SP34 Purple Marble 120-200 Up
SP34 Green Marble 70-90 Stable
SP34 Yellow-Green Marble 120-150 Stable
SP34 Blue Marble 160-200 Stable
SP34 Red & White Swirl w/ Number + Blue Sliver 7" (500) 1000-1200 Up
SP34 Red & White Swirl (No Number or Sliver 7") 500-600 Stable
SP34 Black w/ Bar Code 15-20 Stable
SP834 2xLP White 20-25 Stable
SP834 2xLP Black 20-25 Stable
SP34 Maroon (750) 40-65 Up
SP34 Clear/White (750) 40-65 Up
Test Pressing (1st)
Test Pressing (3rd)
SP34 Bleach - Error Pressing
1st Pressing - White
2nd Pressing - Black
Iceberg
Red & White Swirl
Yellow-Green Marble
Green Marble
Red
Purple Marble
Pink
Pink Marble
Blue Marble
Maroon
Clear/White
Credits Enrico (sliver.it): Test and error pressings, iceberg, red/white splatter images

This page was last updated on February 10, 2016.

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