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A Record Collector's Guide

Sub Pop Singles: SP12 to SP50

These were the 7"s that started everything. They shaped 90's vinyl collecting and beyond. Many of the singles on this page can be called legendary. It began with a few singles, mostly on color vinyl. Then, color vinyl stopped for a while, but would return with a vengeance. The earliest Sub Pop singles exist on transparent black vinyl (giving a brown effect), rather than solid black vinyl. This was an unintended effect of the pressing process. Some black copies are thinner, lighter vinyl than others. The lighter ones exhibit this semi-translucent brown effect. The black versions of the first six Sub Pop singles were all translucent black. The Sonic Youth/Mudhoney split 7" (SP26) started to change over, but those are still mostly translucent black, as far as I can tell. I would not be surprised to find a solid one, though. On the Flaming Lips single (SP28), we started to see both solid black and translucent black. Solid black appears to be more common. Basically everything after that point seems to have been on solid black, wit the exception of the SP50 Dwarves single. Almost all of these were on translucent black. I have heard recent reports of solid black ones, but cannot confirm this yet.

SP12a Soundgarden

Hunted Down b/w Nothing to Say

Sub Pop SP12a 7", released June 1987 (U.S.)

The first Sub Pop 7". 500 copies on blue vinyl with a blue paper sleeve. The value bounced around a lot for a number of years, but has shot upward recently. This record was also bootlegged. Beware fakes. They are regularly sold as the real thing. I got burned. The fakes are still rare, but the collecting community is increasingly aware of them. They are not very valuable.

In 2010, Sub Pop re-pressed this single on orange vinyl with a picture sleeve. 5,475 copies were pressed was released for Record Store Day. The price has dropped way down for the orange one.

    Originals
  • Clear blue vinyl with no marbling.
  • "Soundgarden" on label: not cut off at all
  • Matrix codes in trail-off wax: R10866 and R10867
  • Comes with blue paper sleeve

    Fakes
  • Thin blue vinyl with slight marbling
  • "Soundgarden" on label butts up against the edge and can be slightly cut off
  • Matrix code in trail-off wax: 19c87
  • Blue paper sleeve is generally missing

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP12a Blue 350-500 5 Up
SP12a Orange 5-8 1 Down
Original
Fake
Sleeve Plain blue construction paper

This page was last updated on October 11, 2019.

SP13 Blood Circus

Two Way Street b/w Six Foot Under

Sub Pop SP13 7", released June 1988 (U.S.)

The second Sub Pop single. 800 copies on red vinyl and 200 on black. The black ones were mainly used as promotional items. The single had no picture sleeve, but did come in a plain red construction paper sleeve.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP13 Red 20-30 4 Stable
SP13 Translucent Black 25-40 8 Stable
Test Pressing
Sleeve Plain red construction paper
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain silver labels

This page was last updated on October 11, 2019.

SP14 Swallow

Trapped b/w Guts

Sub Pop SP14 7", released June 1988 (U.S.)

Sub Pop single #3. 600 copies on yellow vinyl and 200 on black. The black ones were mainly used as promotional items. The single had no picture sleeve, but did come in a plain yellow paper sleeve.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP14 Yellow 15-30 5 Stable
SP14 Black 25-40 8 Stable
Test Pressing
Sleeve Plain yellow construction paper
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain silver labels
Credits Costa: Test pressing image

This page was last updated on October 11, 2019.

SP18 Mudhoney

 

Touch Me I'm Sick b/w Sweet Young Thing (Ain't Sweet No More)

Sub Pop SP18 7", released August 1988 (U.S.)

Oy. Where to start with this one...one of the most famous 7"s from the Sub Pop era, Mudhoney's debut Sub Pop single exists in almost too many incarnations to discuss. The first pressing was of 800 on reddish-brown vinyl (see pic), with an additional 200 on black vinyl, most of which were used for promotional purposes (these were reportedly on both solid and translucent black, but I have not had either in my hands to confirm). These copies did not have picture sleeves and had the classic toilet labels, which had a light blue-green tint to them. In addition, there were a few other colors of vinyl (10-15 each) that came with toilet labels. Many have now surfaced. I've seen yellow, blue, clear, red, orange, and several mixed colors. There may be more. There are several stories floating around about these, one of which is that they were a gift from the pressing plant for being late with the order. I don't know for certain. What I do know is that these are all preposterously valuable.

Second pressing: Touch Me I'm Sick was later re-released with a picture sleeve. It was released this way during the period in which Erika Records was pressing all of Sub Pop's color vinyl releases on a huge variety of colors. As a result, there are many colors of this one out there. Most colors are more or less equally common. The brown version is quite scarce, though, and has gotten a lot more expensive. The black version is very common.

This was actually a completely different version of the record, with distinct matrix codes. All subsequent versions were from the same mold. The back of the sleeve has "Second Edition" printed on it. Sorry about some of those images...some were scanned with the sleeves behind them. I cleaned them up, and the transparent ones look a little odd.

Third pressing: After the color vinyl parade, a third pressing of the single came out with the same picture sleeve, but on black vinyl with Sub Pop's mid-90's era black labels. The back of the sleeve has "Third Edition" printed on it. This one isn't worth much.

Fourth pressing (3b): Sometime in 2006, Sub Pop threw us a curveball. They released a version of this single with "third edition" picture sleeves, but on black vinyl with toilet labels. This is where it gets screwy. The toilet labels are slightly different from the original ones. These had either a blue background color, much darker than the original, or a white background. Very interesting to see...I paid way too much for one of these when it first showed up on the market. Oh well, at least I wasn't the guy who dropped $500 on one...

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP18 1st Pressing: Reddish-brown vinyl 125-175 4 Stable
SP18 1st Pressing: Black 175-250 8 Volatile
SP18 1st Pressing: Rarer Colors (yellow, blue/purple, clear, red, orange, green, any mixes of the above) 500-700 10 Stable
SP18 2nd Pressing: Green 15-25 3 Stable
SP18 2nd Pressing: Purple 20-25 3 Down
SP18 2nd Pressing: Purple Marble 20-25 4 Stable
SP18 2nd Pressing: Pink 15-25 3 Stable
SP18 2nd Pressing: Blue Marble 15-25 3 Stable
SP18 2nd Pressing: Light Blue w/ Marbling 15-25 2 Stable
SP18 2nd Pressing: Brown 75-125 7 Volatile
SP18 2nd Pressing: Black 5 1 Stable
SP18 3rd Pressing: Black 2-4 1 Stable
SP18 4th Pressing: Black, Blue Toilet Label 5-10 1 Stable
SP18 4th Pressing: Black, White Toilet Label 5-10 1 Stable

1st Pressings

Test Press

2nd Pressings

3rd-4th Pressings

Test Press 3rd/4th
3rd Press
Sleeve 1st pressing: Plain white paper
2nd-4th Pressings: Paper foldover
Test Pressing 1st pressing: Black vinyl, large hole, plain white labels
4th Pressing: Black vinyl, small hole, yellow Erika labels
Credits James: Called my attention to the red 1st press
Ryan: Orange 1st press image
Costa: Green, brown 2nd pressing images, 3rd press image
Stan Ballard: Most of the other 2nd pressing images

This page was last updated on October 12, 2019.

SP19 Tad

Daisy b/w Ritual Device

Sub Pop SP19 7", released August 1988 (U.S.)

Dear world: meet Tad. This one was released with no picture sleeve - instead, it came in a PVC sleeve. 964 copies were on clear vinyl. The clear ones seem to go through big value waves. It spiked again a few years ago and has now settled back into the $40-60 range.

There are 200 black copies out there as well. Those sell consistently for above $100, but have never really taken off. Then, there are the gold ones...Sub Pop said there were 70 of these. I have only seen this one a couple of times.

If you are buying this record, pay extra attention to the condition. The PVC sleeve can cause the vinyl to deteriorate over time, resulting in a hazy appearance and distorted sound. This now came out over 30 years ago (!)...that's a long time to sit if the record has been in the PVC the whole time.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP19 Clear 40-60 4 Stable
SP19 Translucent Black 100-125 7 Stable
SP19 Gold 150-200 9 Volatile
Test Pressing
Sleeve Plain white paper, some in clear PVC
Test Pressing Black vinyl, large hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP23 Nirvana

 

Love Buzz b/w Big Cheese

Sub Pop SP23 7", released November 1988 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #1

Nirvana's legendary first single. 1,000 hand-numbered copies, 200 additional copies with red marker across the number space on the sleeve. All are on transparent black vinyl. The value fluctuates a bit on this record, but $2000 is the minimum these days. Even if you catch it in a downswing, though, it will cost you an awful lot of money. For some reason, the "red stripe" copies seem to sell for more than the numbered ones, which never made any sense to me. It's the same record...these were just theoretically used as promos. Of course, the most valuable copies are the low numbers. Again, it's the same record. People just like low numbers.

There are more complete guides out there, but the basic ways to recognize a real one are: 1. The names Alice Wheeler and Susan Sasic on the back of the sleeve are legible. 2. The side A trail-off wax reads: Why don't you trade those guitars for shovels? L-31540 SP-23-A kdisc; side B reads: L-31540X SP-23-B kdisc.

Check out the Love Buzz owner's list over at lovebuzz7.com, recently reconstituted from the sadly defunct sliver.it.

Please note that there are MANY bootlegs out there. They are not terribly difficult to spot once you know what to look for. Remarkably, the bootlegs also sell for a considerable amount of money...at one point back in 2008, the fakes were going for over $300. Asinine.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP23 Translucent Black - Hand-numbered Sleeve 2200-2500 5 Stable
SP23 Translucent Black - Red marker stripe Sleeve 2000-2500 7 Volatile
Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover, hand-numbered or w/ red stripe in place of a number
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP26 Sonic Youth/Mudhoney Split 7"

 

Touch Me I'm Sick b/w Halloween

Sub Pop SP26 7", released December 1988 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #2

Glitterhouse GR0056 12", released 1989 (Germany)

Blast First BFFP 46 12", released 1989 (UK)

500 on clear vinyl and 2,500 on translucent black (some may be on solid black). Sonic Youth and Mudhoney cover each other. A classic.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP26 Clear 35-50 5 Stable
SP26 Translucent Black 15-25 2 Down
Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP28 Flaming Lips

Drug Machine b/w Strychnine/(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding

Sub Pop SP28 7", released January 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #3

Glitterhouse GR0043 7", released 1989 (Germany)

1,500 copies, all on black vinyl. Many of these are on solid black vinyl, but some are out there on translucent black. Based on the number of these I have seen, I would guess it is about 2:1 solid/translucent. A version of this record also appeared for sale in 2017 with a small center hole. I had never seen this before. Looks to be very scarce.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP28 Black 20-25 2 Stable
SP28 Translucent Black 20-25 4 Stable
SP28 Black, Small Center Hole 35-45 9 N/A
Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP29 Les Thugs

Chess and Crimes b/w Sunday Time

Sub Pop SP29 7", released February 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #4

1,500 copies, all on black vinyl.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP29 Black 10-15 2 Stable
Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP30 Helios Creed

Nothing Wrong b/w The Sky

Sub Pop SP30 7", released March 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #5

1,500 copies, all on black vinyl.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP30 Black 6-10 2 Stable
Sleeve Paper foldover

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP32 The Afghan Whigs

I Am the Sticks b/w White Trash Party

Sub Pop SP32 7", released April 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #6

Limited to 1500 copies, all on black vinyl. This single was one one of the songs that originally got me into this band. The version of "White Trash Party" on this single is a different version from the one that was released on the Up in It album.

After many years, I came across an interesting copy that contained an early loose Singles Club insert (pics below). This one appears to have been designed specifically for this release.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP32 Black 20-30 4 Stable
Loose Insert
Test Pressing
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels.

This page was last updated on October 10, 2019.

SP33 Mudhoney

 

You Got It (Keep It Outta My Face) b/w Burn It Clean

Sub Pop SP33 7", released May 1989 (U.S.)

Glitterhouse GR0060 12", released 1989 (Germany)

According to Sub Pop, the first 3,000 of these were released with poster sleeves (see image above). There were 300 on white vinyl, and the rest were on black vinyl. Some of the white copies come with a slightly different poster sleeve. They are on a glossier, magazine-like paper, while all of the black (and some of the white) have a poster sleeve with a thicker stock paper - more of a cardboard feel. For a record that supposedly only has 300 copies, the white one seems to show up for sale pretty often and does not sell for that high a price. I only have anecdotal evidence for this, but it leads me to believe there were more than 300. I also know that some white copies were sold without poster sleeves, so it may be that there were more white copies pressed at some point.

There were also 2,000 pressed on black vinyl with normal sleeves. These later black copies came with loose inserts. I have seen another breakdown of the numbers that says that there were 1,000 poster sleeves and 3,000 total copies. Not sure. None of the above are particularly hard to find.

A couple of other variants have surfaced over the years. First, there does seem to be a white vinyl version without the poster sleeve. I got one of these once and assumed that the sleeves had been switched, but enough of them have now surfaced that I no longer think that to be the case. Also, there were some misprinted black copies with no text on the A side labels.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP33 White w/ poster sleeve 25-30 6 Stable
SP33 White w/ normal sleeve 20-25 6 Stable
SP33 Black w/ poster sleeve 6-8 2 Stable
Black w/ normal sleeve 5-8 1 Stable
Loose Insert
Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover, poster printed on inside of sleeve (3,000); Paper foldover, no poster
Credits JB: Info on the white copies
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on April 6, 2020.

SP35 Mad Daddys

Take Me Back to Woodstock b/w Alligator Wine

Sub Pop SP35 7", released May 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #7

Limited to 1,500 copies, all on black vinyl. The labels are misnumbered; they say it is SP31...it isn't.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP35 Black 3-5 2 Down
Sleeve Paper foldover

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP37 Tad/Pussy Galore Split 7"

Damaged I b/w Damaged II

Sub Pop SP37 7", released June 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #8

Limited to 2,500 copies, all on black vinyl. Both bands cover Black Flag songs. This was the first real appearance of the Singles Club enrollment form insert. The inserts started showing up with every Sub Pop single for a year or two in this photocopied cutout format, before eventually giving way to the attached printed insert.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP37 Black 20-25 1 Stable
Loose Insert
Sleeve Paper foldover

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP39 Das Damen

Sad Mile b/w Making Time

Sub Pop SP39 7", released July 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #9

Limited to 1,500 copies, all on black vinyl.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP39 Black 5-8 2 Stable
Loose Insert
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP40 Rapeman

Inki's Butt Crack b/w Song Number One

Sub Pop SP40 7", released August 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #10

Limited to 2,500 copies, 1,000 on clear vinyl and 1,500 on black vinyl. The clear vinyl version can occasionally be expensive, but it has settled into a consistent range.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP40 Clear 35-45 4 Stable
SP40 Black 25-30 2 Stable
Loose Insert
Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP43 Lazy Cowgirls

Loretta b/w Hybrid Moments

Sub Pop SP43 7", released September 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club single #11

Limited to 2,000 copies, 1,000 on clear vinyl and 1,000 on black vinyl. I always thought there were 1,200 clear, but Sub Pop says it was 1,000, so...well, I am going with that.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP43 Clear 10-15 4 Stable
SP43 Black 8-12 4 Stable
Loose Insert
Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels. Mislabeled as "SP44" on one label on the copy that I have. "Mudhoney SP44" is also written on the sleeve.

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP44a Mudhoney

This Gift b/w Baby, Help Me Forget

Sub Pop SP44a 7", released 1989 (U.S.)

Glitterhouse GR0070 12", released 1989 (Germany)

Released in conjunction with Mudhoney's self-titled album, the first 3000 copies of this single were on purple vinyl. Most of the rest (I do not know how many) were on black vinyl. There is a very rare version on a maroon-purple color. It looks to be the same purple as the SP46 test pressing. There is also an absurdly rare green vinyl version. It surfaced in an auction. The seller called it a test pressing, but...I don't think that's accurate. I think it's just a very rare version.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP44a Purple 6-10 1 Stable
SP44a Black 4-6 1 Stable
SP44a Maroon-purple 80-100 7 Up
SP44a Green 300-400? 10 Up
Test Pressing
Purple
Purple vs. Maroon
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels
Credits Gregg Conover: Maroon-purple images
STOUTR: Green image

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP45 Love Battery

Between the Eyes b/w Easter

Sub Pop SP45 7", released 1989 (U.S.)

Love Battery's first record, a two song 7" on Sub Pop. The two songs on this single were both released on the Between the Eyes EP. The first 500 copies were on red vinyl, and the next 2,500 were on black. One interesting note on this one: there is a rejected test pressing of this record with a different mix of the songs on it. The matrix code of this test pressing reads as follows: Side A - "Dial M for Muzak SP-45-A Kdisc ch L-33610" / Side B - "SP-45-B Kdisc ch L-33610-X". The matrix code of the final release is: Side A - "Dial M for Muzak SP-45-A Re-1 Kdisc ch L-33610" / Side B - "SP-45-B Kdisc ch L-33610-X". The "Re-1" in the final version is the indicator of the second test pressing. The rejected and final test pressings look the same and are really only distinguishable by the matrix codes.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP45 Red 6-10 5 Down
SP45 Black 3-5 1 Down
Rejected Test Pressing
Final Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Rejected/Final: Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP46 Lonely Moans

Shoot the Cool b/w Texas Love Goat

Sub Pop SP46 7", released October 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club single #12

Limited to 2,000 copies, 1,200 on red vinyl and 800 on black vinyl. The test pressing of this record was on purple vinyl.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP46 Red 5-8 3 Down
SP46 Black 4-6 4 Stable
Loose Insert
Test Pressing - Maroon
Test Pressing - Purple
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Purple or maroon vinyl, small hole, plain white labels

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP47 Skin Yard

Start at the Top b/w Watch

Sub Pop SP47 7", released October 1989 (U.S.)

The first 500 copies of this single were on white vinyl, and the rest (3,000) were on black. Originally, after the first 500 were pressed, the next 500 were supposed to be on clear vinyl. At this point, it is clear that never happened.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP47 White 6-10 6 Stable
SP47 Black 2-4 1 Stable
Loose Insert
Test Pressing
Sleeve Paper foldover
Test Pressing Black vinyl, small hole, plain white labels
Rumors Clear vinyl version. I am now fairly sure this does not exist, but if anyone has one of these, please email me and send pics.

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

SP48 Screaming Trees

 

Change Has Come

Sub Pop SP48 2x7" released 1989 (U.S.)

Sub Pop SP48b CD / SP48a Cassette, released 1991 (U.S.)

Glitterhouse GR0080 12" / GRCD 80 CD, released 1990 (Germany)

Finally...a 7"!!! This was Screaming Trees' only release on Sub Pop, a double single in 1989. Most copies of this one either contain two black 7"s or one white and one black. Both discs exist on white vinyl, but SP48C on white seems to be slightly more difficult to find. There is a version with both records on red vinyl (~60 were supposedly made). It has always been a really tough find. It took me several years to track that one down.

I heard a rumor that there was a double purple copy out there...the test pressing was on purple vinyl. It's possible that's where the rumor started. I have never seen one with the Sub Pop labels.

There was also a concurrent German release of this EP on Glitterhouse, but it was a 12" with one extra song (the same track that is on the Sub Pop cd version).

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP48 2x7" White 20-30 6 Stable
SP48A White/SP48C Black 15-20 4 Stable
SP48A Black/SP48C White 15-20 4 Stable
SP48 2x7" Black 10-15 1 Stable
SP48 2x7" Red 50-75 9 Volatile
GR0080 Black 15-20 1 Stable
Loose Insert
SP48A White
SP48C White
SP48A Black
SP48C Black
SP48A Red
SP48C Red
Sleeve Poster w/ loose insert
Test Pressing 7": Purple vinyl, white labels

Recent Sales Data - Red Vinyl:

Year Sold Quantity Median Price ($) Platform
2019 0 N/A N/A
2018 1 50 Discogs
2017 2 65 eBay

This page was last updated on January 24, 2020.

SP50 Dwarves

She's Dead b/w Fuckhead

Sub Pop SP50 7", released February 1990 (U.S.)

Sub Pop Singles Club #16

Limited to 3,000 copies, 1,500 on white vinyl and 1,500 on black vinyl. There are solid and translucent black versions, but the translucent black is MUCH more common. There was a rumor that there was a second pressing of this one of about 50 on purple vinyl. I have never been convinced of this and have never seen one.

Version Value ($) Scarcity Price Trending
SP50 White 25-30 2 Stable
SP50 Translucent Black 12-15 Stable
SP50 Black 15-18 Stable
Loose Insert
Sleeve Paper foldover
Rumors Purple vinyl version. If anyone has one of these, please email me and send pics.

This page was last updated on October 17, 2019.

Sub Pop Singles: Next Page 
Sub Pop Singles Club V1
Sub Pop Singles Club V2
Sub Pop Index
Home

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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