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A Record Collector's Guide

SP34 Nirvana

        
       

Bleach

Sub Pop SP34 LP, released 1989/1992/2000/05/09/14/15/20 (U.S.)

Sub Pop SP34b CD / SP34a Cassette, released 1990 (U.S.)

Tupelo TUPLP6 LP / TUPCD6 CD / TUPMC6 Cassette, released 1989/90 (UK)

Waterfront DAMP114 LP, released 1989 (Australia)

Geffen GFLD 19291 CD / GFLC 19291 Cassette, released 1991/92 (UK)

Geffen GEF24433 LP / GED24433/GEFD24433 CD / GEC24433 Cassette, released 1992 (Europe)

BMG/Geffen 170.8067/GEF-24433 LP / GEFD-24433/CD 30019 CD / 717.8067/GEFC-24433 Cassette, released 1992 (Brazil)

Sub Pop/Warner Music Canada SPCD 34/98787-0034-2 CD, released 1992 (Canada)

Geffen GED24433/GEFD24433 CD, released 1992/93/94 (Austria/Israel)

Geffen 13824433 CD, released 1992 (Chile)

Geffen MVCG-93/GEFD-24433 CD, released 1992 (Japan)

Geffen GEFD-24433 CD, released 1992/95 (Australia/Australiasia)

Geffen GEFC-24433 Cassette, released 1992 (Australia)

Geffen CDGEF 20020 CD / L4GEF(N)20020 Cassette, released 1992 (South Africa)

Geffen GEC24433 Cassette, released 1992/93 (Hungary/Poland/Turkey/Philippines)

DGC DGCC24433 Cassette, released 1993 (Australasia)

Geffen TMS 24433 Cassette, released 1992 (Argentina)

Geffen 02116107025 LP, released 1993 (Colombia)

Geffen 24433 Cassette, released 1993 (India)

Geffen GEFD-24433/M30019/CDM 30019 CD, released 1994 (Brazil)

Geffen BMGFL 5053 LP / BMGFD 5053 CD / BMGFM 5053 Cassette, released 1994 (South Korea)

Geffen GEFD2-4433 CD / 1116207025 Cassette / 321319454 Cassette, released 1995 (Colombia)

Geffen GED24433 CD, released 1995 (Spain)

MCA GED 24433 CD, released 1995 (Argentina)

Geffen GEFC2 4433 Cassette, released 1995 (Mexico)

Geffen GEF-8005 Cassette, released 1995 (Bolivia)

Geffen MVJG-25002 LP, released 1996 (Japan)

Geffen MVCG-19321/GEFD-24433 CD, released 1998 (Japan)

Geffen GED 24433/GEFD 24433 CD, released 1999 (Venezuela)

Geffen/Universal MMTCD 2088 CD, released 1999 (South Africa)

Geffen GEC24433/424 433-4 Cassette, released 1999 (Europe/Poland)

Geffen/3AO GED24433/424 433-9 CD, released 2001 (Russia/Belarus)

Geffen GEC24433/424 433-4 Cassette, released 2001 (Europe/Poland)

Universal Music Russia 424433-4 Cassette, released 2001 (Russia)

Universal/Ukrainian 424433-4 Cassette, released 2001 (Ukraine)

Sub Pop/Warner 9878400341 LP, released 2002 (UK)

Sub Pop 9878-70034-2 CD, released 2002 (Europe)

Warner Music Japan/Sub Pop WPCR-11525 CD / WPCR-13269 CD / WPCR-13726 CD, released 2003/08/09 (Japan)

Geffen GEFD2•24433 CD, released 2004 (Mexico)

Sub Pop 987870034-2 CD, released 2005 (Brazil)

Никитин 4607173158338 CD, released 2007 (Russia)

Sub Pop SP834 2xLP/SPCD834 CD, released 2009/2016 (U.S.)

Sub Pop SP34 CD, released 2009 (U.S.)

Sub Pop 5051865614623 CD, released 2009 (Europe/Mexico/Philippines)

Sub Pop/Warner Music Argentina 5186-56146-2 CD, released 2009 (Argentina)

Sub Pop 5186561462 CD, released 2009 (Australasia)

Sub Pop/P-Vine SP834/PLPT-2/3 2xLP, released 2009 (Japan)

Sub Pop/Warner Music Taiwan 5051865614623/5186-56146-2 CD, released 2009 (Taiwan)

Sub Pop SP34 Cassette, released 2015 (U.S.)

Sub Pop/Octave OTCD-9001 CD, released 2017 (Japan)

Geffen GFLD 19291 CD (UK)

Sub Pop 9878700342 CD (Australia)

Geffen/Sub Pop GED24433/GEFD24433/CD-BQ 0002-2 311 CD / BMG International BG 0002-4 311/GEF24433 Cassette (Australia)

Geffen GED24433/GEFD24433 CD (Germany/Ukraine/Taiwan)

Geffen GEFD-24433/CD 30019 CD / 2-24433 CD (Mexico)

Sub Pop AVU-1447/SP34b CD (Japan)

Geffen GED24433 CD (Indonesia/Malaysia)

Geffen GEC24433 Cassette (Italy/Indonesia/Malaysia/Singapore/ Thailand/Taiwan)

Geffen/Universal Music Russia 424 433-4 Cassette (Russia)

Geffen GEC24433/GEFC24433 Cassette (Saudi Arabia)


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. I've tried to hit on all of the major vinyl editions above, but there are just way too many variants to get all of the CDs and cassettes, not to mention the unofficial versions. Initially, I only focused on the U.S. Sub Pop pressings for this page, but as I finally dove in and tackled a more complete Nirvana discography, I had to expand the Bleach page a bit as well. I am going to do this one a little differently than others. Rather than go chronologically with the vinyl pressings, I will break it into Sub Pop, Tupelo, Waterfront, and then, the ever-popular "other".

Sub Pop

The first pressing of Bleach was of 1,000 on white vinyl. Some of these came with posters. It has been expensive forever, but the price of this pressing 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 Sub Pop pressing was of 2,000 on black vinyl. Most of these came with posters. Those that didn't came with giant letter-size Singles Club ads. You will often see this referred to as the "A4" insert...it's not A4, silly Europeans. It's U.S. letter size. It's different, dammit. There were at least two different Singles Club forms that were used in this capacity: one started with Lazy Cowgirls and another started 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 am now fairly sure they are legit. Presumably, Sub Pop had some copies in stock for several months, and the Singles Club was a monthly thing, so they presumably updated the insert used as time went on. Anyway, the black ones with posters generally go for more than those with inserts - lately, a lot more. Copies with posters have shot up in price - I have seen several copies sell in the $350-$500 range, which I find completely insane. The copies that come with neither poster nor insert are much less expensive.

The 3rd generation pressings, manufactured by Erika Records, 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. Pink is most common. Red, pink marble, purple marble, and green marble are all roughly even in scarcity. The yellow-green marble one is rarer. Blue marble has always been the rarest and most expensive of this group. For some reason, the price of the purple one has taken off in recent years, while most of the others have stayed more or less stable. The yellow-green marble one has gotten a bit more expensive.

There is one specific standout edition from the third generation era: 500 copies on red & white swirled vinyl. Most of these came sealed in plastic along with a blue vinyl Sliver 7". They were also numbered. All of these things combined to make this a very expensive edition. Some copies have surfaced with no numbers and no 7" - these go for much less than the full sets. The price of any version of the red & white copy has been all over the map in recent years.

There was also one pressing that does not fit with the rest: the so-called "iceberg" pressing. As the story goes, the color didn't come out as intended, and they were not used by the label because they were too similar to the original white pressing. I don't know how true this is. They aren't really similar. Anyway, not many of these were made, and there is a definite possibility that most copies ended up in the dumpster. As you might imagine, it sells for an obscene amount of money. I haven't seen one for sale in many years.

Next, we had the fourth generation pressings. These are pretty straightforward. They were on black vinyl, but were easily distinguished from the earlier black pressing. First, there was a bar code and the Sub Pop URL on the back of the sleeve (I could have sworn there was one with the bar code but without the URL as well, but I can't fully recall). Next, the Nirvana logo on the front of the sleeve was in a different position. On all earlier pressings, the logo butted right up against the top edge of the sleeve. On these later editions, it was evenly spaced between the top edge and the picture.

Generation 5: In 2009, Sub Pop reissued Bleach again. This new version ("Deluxe Edition") was a double LP, and carried a different catalogue number (SP834). The second record contained the band's live performance from February 9, 1990, in Portland, OR (the original source of the live version of "Molly's Lips" on the Fluid/Nirvana Split 7"). The first 10,000 copies of the Deluxe Edition were on white vinyl. Some copies had some dark streaks running through them. Sub Pop used heavyweight vinyl for this pressing. There have been some reports of these records not playing very well on some people's turntables. I cannot confirm this. Sub Pop also did black vinyl copies. The deluxe release came with a download coupon. In addition, there was a Japanese version of the white vinyl deluxe edition, which was just the U.S. version with an extra sticker on the outside of the sleeve. It's not super common, and sells for more than the U.S. one.

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.

Somewhere in here (2015), Sub Pop did another single disc black vinyl edition. This was the remastered version that they did for the deluxe edition, but without the second record.

Done? Nope. There were two more Newbury Comics exclusives released, this time of the double LP deluxe edition. There were 1,400 copies each of blue vinyl with black swirl and clear vinyl with black swirl.

In 2020, there was another exclusive pressing, this time from Zia Records in Arizona. I learned about it just after it went on sale...which, naturally, was too late. This pressing was of 500 on blue-green marble vinyl (they're calling it "Blew vinyl"...ha). These sold out instantly and have been going for a lot on the re-sale market. The price will come down after the initial flurry. Well, probably. The first two Newbury Comics ones never did. I guess we'll see. And with that, we conclude the Sub Pop section. But we're just getting started...

Tupelo

Tupelo had the original UK pressings covered. This would have been a simple section, if not for the damn counterfeiters. The Tupelo pressings changed up the tracks slightly from the U.S. version - they contained "Big Cheese" where "Love Buzz" appeared on the U.S. one. There were three official colors: white, which was limited to 300 copies, dark green, limited to 2,000, and black. The labels were a light blue-ish/green-ish grey. The white vinyl version, as you might imagine, is very valuable. Unfortunately, there are fakes on the market, and some are very convincing. I would bet the value of the white Tupelo pressing would be a lot higher if not for the high-quality fakes. This one is a minefield for that reason. There are a couple of ways to tell real and fake apart, but most are difficult if you are not looking at both at the same time. The best way is still the matrix codes. Real ones have matrix codes that say MPO TUPLP 6 A1 / MPO TUPLP 6 B1. The fakes are missing the the MPO part. This is not fool-proof, though, as some copies have surfaced with this part added by hand. One big thing is that the fakes play "Love Buzz" as track 5 instead of "Big Cheese". Not helpful if you are looking at one in a store, but a useful check after the fact. Also, the trail-off wax area is larger on the fake than on the original. And I am pretty sure the labels on the fake are a little more on the blue side than the originals. Not positive on that one.

There was also a counterfeit made of the green version. The real green one is a mostly opaque, darker olive green. The fake is a brighter, mostly transparent green. It has the same matrix codes as the white fake, missing the MPO piece. The black version was not initially counterfeited, but one of those came along later. It is easily recognizable as fake by the matrix codes, which just say Bleach A / Bleach B.

So then, later, all sorts of other colors stated popping up. We had red, pink, yellow, clear, purple, clear with blue splatter, and even a picture disc. These are all fakes. Ignore anything other than the first three legitimate colors above. Really, the overall message here is be careful when purchasing any Tupelo variant.

Waterfront

Oboy...these are tough. The Waterfront variants are the real reason I never wanted to go beyond the Sub Pop pressings. These all came out in Australia. There were a bunch of color variants right at the beginning, in 1989. Not just vinyl colors; the sleeves varied as well (the sleeves more or less matched the vinyl colors). Here's a quick rundown of the different versions:

  • Black vinyl, black sleeve, silver font
  • Blue vinyl, black sleeve, blue font
  • Blue vinyl, black sleeve, silver font
  • Light blue vinyl, light blue sleeve
  • Purple vinyl, purple/magenta sleeve
  • Red vinyl, red sleeve
  • Red/Orange-red vinyl, black sleeve, silver font
  • Yellow vinyl, black sleeve, yellow font
  • Green vinyl, green sleeve, with poster and additional outer fabric sleeve

That wasn't so bad, right? The different versions vary a bit in scarcity. The blue one with the standard sleeve seems to be the most common. The red/orangey-red one in the standard sleeve and the blue one in the black sleeve with blue font are the next tier - both comparably common. I realize the orange-red one in the pics below looks exactly like the red one. I promise there's a difference. Anyway, the versions with the full-color sleeve variants are next in line. The red vinyl/red sleeve and light blue vinyl/blue sleeve versions are in the same general scarcity tier. The green one was a 1992 tour pressing of 500 copies - it seems to be roughly as rare as the red sleeve and blue sleeve variants, but sells for a lot more. An intact one with poster and outer sleeve is a very pricy item. The yellow one in the black sleeve with yellow font is slightly more scarce, but its price has never seemed to fully reflect how uncommon it is (this could be due to the counterfeits, which we'll get to, or it could be because people like the pretty full-color sleeves of the other versions). The purple one in the purple/magenta sleeve is rarer, and has commanded a high price for many years. And then, there's the black one, which you might expect to be common. 'Tis not. In fact, it seems to be the rarest of the bunch. It's very rare, and its price has not caught up to its scarcity. However, it is not quite as rare as some would have you believe - I have seen that some think there were as few as 30 copies made, and there's zero chance that is true. It is sold often enough that I would be shocked if it were anywhere close to that. 150-200 I would believe. Even 100. Maybe.

Right. Now, let's discuss the dirty-bastard counterfeits. It was a long time before any of these started to surface. As far as I know, the first was a copy of the yellow vinyl version. I have seen little agreement over when this first surfaced. A tidal wave of other colors then followed in 2013, though: we had blue, green, green marble, yellow-green, neon yellow, orange, red, white, purple, and yellow w/ orange marble. Many of these had varying degrees of marbling, and they came with a huge variety of sleeves with different accent colors. Fortunately, they are easy to spot. First, the matrix codes are different. On the originals, the matrix codes read DMX 71211 ®2AC / DMX 71211 ®2C or DMX 71211 ®2B / DMX 71211 ®2C. The fakes all have matrix codes that say DAMP 114-A1 / DAMP 114-B1. See? Easy. Even easier: the labels are different. The originals have white borders around the labels, while on the fakes, they are black.

Other International Versions

Now that we have covered Sub Pop, Tupelo, and Waterfront, we have a few other pressings to discuss. Let's start with the 1992 European pressing. There were two variants of this one: one had the Geffen Records logo on the labels with no text, and the other said "GEFFEN RECORDS" on the labels underneath the logos. Both were on black vinyl and remain common. Next up, the 1992 Brazilian pressing: This one was on black vinyl, but for some reason, they changed the sleeve font to dark green. I guess Australia made them feel left out. This one is still relatively available and affordable. There was a Colombian pressing in 1993 on black vinyl. It is pretty easy to find, but it can command a few bucks. In 1994, a South Korean version came out on Geffen. It is fairly rare and not the cheapest. The Japanese Geffen pressing was released in 1996. It was on black vinyl, and the sleeve came with a purple obi strip. It is easy to find, but has gotten way more expensive in the past few years. It was always pretty affordable, but all of the Japanese Nirvana pressings from that era seem to have appreciated recently.

In 2002, there were some UK reissues. I guess these were technically on Sub Pop, but they felt like major label versions. The catalogue number for these variants was 9878400341, which doesn't follow Sub Pop's catalogue numbers - those are Warner numbers. Sub Pop sold a 49% stake in the label to Warner in the mid-'90s, so...yeah, these were Warner pressings. Anyway, it came out on white marble vinyl, clear vinyl, and black vinyl. The first run of white vinyl was reportedly limited to 2,500 copies. This one came with 13 tracks, so it included all of the tracks from the CD version. It's still affordable and easy to find. There was a second white marble pressing, this time as the original 11-track version of the album. It is even more common and affordable than the first. The other two colors also contained 11 tracks. The black one is fairly common and quite cheap. The clear one is much rarer than the others. It can sell for a decent amount now. And that, friends, wraps it up for Bleach for the moment.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
Sub Pop First Pressing
SP34 White 600-1,200 6 Up/Volatile
Sub Pop Second Pressing
SP34 Black w/ Poster 300-600 6 Up/Volatile
SP34 Black w/ Singles Club Insert 100-140 5 Stable
SP34 Black w/o Poster, Insert, or Bar Code 90-120 4 Stable
Sub Pop Third Generation Pressings
SP34 Iceberg 2,500-3,500 10 Up/Volatile
SP34 Pink 60-100 4 Volatile
SP34 Pink Marble 90-130 5 Stable
SP34 Red 70-100 5 Stable
SP34 Purple Marble 130-170 5 Volatile
SP34 Green Marble 80-140 5 Volatile
SP34 Yellow-Green Marble 140-190 6 Up
SP34 Blue Marble 200-350 7 Volatile
SP34 Red & White Swirl w/ Number + Blue Sliver 7" (500) 1,000-1,400 5 Up/Volatile
SP34 Red & White Swirl (No Number or Sliver 7") 800-1,000 6 Volatile
Sub Pop Fourth Generation Pressings
SP34 Black w/ Bar Code 15-20 1 Stable
Sub Pop Fifth Generation Pressings
SP34 Maroon (Newbury Comics) 50-65 4 Stable
SP34 Clear/White (Newbury Comics) 40-60 4 Stable
SP34 Black (Remastered) 12-15 1 Stable
SP34 Blue-green Marble (Zia) 50-70 5 Volatile
Sub Pop Deluxe Pressings
SP834 2xLP White 30-40 1 Stable
SP834 2xLP Black 20-25 1 Stable
SP834/PLPT-2/3 2xLP White (Japan) 50-70 5 Stable
SP834 2xLP Blue/Black Swirl (Newbury Comics) 45-60 3 Stable
SP834 2xLP Clear/Black Swirl (Newbury Comics) 45-60 3 Stable
Tupelo Pressings
TUPLP6 White 300-400 7 Stable
TUPLP6 Green 100-130 5 Up
TUPLP6 Black 30-40 1 Stable
Waterfront Pressings
DAMP 114 Blue (Black Sleeve, Blue Text) 125-150 6 Volatile
DAMP 114 Blue (Black Sleeve, Silver Text) 150-200 8 Volatile
DAMP 114 Light Blue (Blue Sleeve) 175-250 7 Volatile
DAMP 114 Red (Red Sleeve) 200-250 7 Up
DAMP 114 Red/Orange-red (Black Sleeve, Silver Text) 100-150 6 Stable
DAMP 114 Purple (Purple/Magenta Sleeve) 600-750 8 Volatile
DAMP 114 Green (Green Sleeve, w/ Poster + Cloth Outer Sleeve) 550-750 7 Volatile
DAMP 114 Green (Green Sleeve, no Poster or Cloth Outer Sleeve) 300-450 7 Volatile
DAMP 114 Yellow (Black Sleeve, Yellow Text) 250-400 8 Volatile
DAMP 114 Black 250-400 9 Volatile
Other International Pressings
Geffen GEF24433 LP Black (Geffen logo w/ no text) 30-35 3 Stable
Geffen GEF24433 LP Black (Geffen logo w/ text) 30-35 3 Stable
BMG/Geffen 170.8067/GEF-24433 LP Black (Brazil) 35-45 5 Stable
Geffen 02116107025 LP Black (Colombia) 60-75 5 Stable
Geffen BMGFL 5053 Black (South Korea) 60-75 6 Up
Geffen MVJG-25002 LP Black (Japan) 60-100 2 Volatile
Sub Pop/Warner 9878700341 White Marble (13-track) 35-45 4 Stable
Sub Pop/Warner 9878700341 White Marble (11-track) 30-40 2 Stable
Sub Pop/Warner 9878700341 Clear 65-85 6 Up
Sub Pop/Warner 9878700341 Black 20-25 4 Stable
Sub Pop: First, Second, and Test Pressings
Test Pressing (1st)
Test Pressing (3rd)
1st Pressing - White
2nd Pressing - Black
Sub Pop: Third Generation Pressings
Iceberg
Red & White Swirl
Yellow-Green Marble
Green Marble
Red
Purple Marble
Pink
Pink Marble
Blue Marble
Sub Pop: Fifth Generation Pressings
Maroon - Newbury Comics
Clear/White - Newbury Comics
Blue-green Marble - Zia
Sub Pop: Deluxe Pressings
2xLP White
2xLP Black
2xLP Blue/Black Swirl - Newbury Comics
2xLP Clear/Black Swirl - Newbury Comics
Tupelo Pressings
White
Green
Black
Waterfront Pressings
Black
Blue
Light Blue
Purple
Red
Red/Orange-red
Yellow
Green
Credits Discogs: Waterfront vinyl/sleeve images, white Tupelo image
Enrico: Test pressings, iceberg images

This page was last updated on June 4, 2020.

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Scarcity Score Definition
10 Near impossible: Fewer than 50 copies or publicly sold every few years
8-9 Very rare: 50-199 copies or publicly sold 1-2 times per year
6-7 Rare: 200-499 copies or publicly sold a few times a year
4-5 Medium: 500-999 copies or publicly sold ~10 times a year
1-3 Common: 1000+ copies, readily available, or publicly sold 20+ times a year

Estimated values are based on recent auction results or online sales. Commercial use of images on this site is not permitted. Non-commercial use of images permitted, with attribution to Pette Discographies. All images copyright their respective owners.

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