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Reference Library: Anna

From: normk@cts.com (Norm Katuna)
Newsgroups: rec.music.beatles.moderated,rec.music.beatles
Subject: The rarest Beatles 45 (Anna)
Date: 12 Jan 1997 18:22:50 GMT

I am a collector of mainly pre Apple Beatles 45s. This originally appeared as an article in the January 1992 issue of Discoveries magazine. It was for the special Beatles issue. This was to have just been a letters to the editor article, but Jerry Osborne liked it so much that he gave me a half a page in the regular part of the magazine with my own by-line. That was a thrill.

*******************************

It was the summer of 1975 at the old Capitol record meet. Garry Shrum (who owned Blue Meannie records at the time--and who was a big Beatles collector) was looking through a box of 45s and came across a couple of interesting items. One was a fairly nice dee jay copy of the Beatles Vee Jay EP without the promo cover; the other, the first known copy of the VJ DJ No.8, "Anna/Ask me why". It wasn't in the greatest shape, G with a crack, but it was the first known among collectors. This was to be the only copy we knew the existence of for the next seven years. It is also the one later pictured in "The complete Beatles U.S. record price guide."

In 1982, record collector Alan Ostroff was in a used book store in or near Redondo Beach, California. He came across a box of Vee Jay-Tollie promo 45s. In this box was not one, but TWO mint minus copies of the VJ DJ "Anna". He bought the Beatles records and filed them away.

This is where I enter the picture.

Larry, one of the owners of "Off the record", in San Diego, and I were talking on the phone one day. He said that since I collected Beatles promo 45s, I might be interested in something his friend Alan found. He said it was some special dee jay Beatles 45 on Vee Jay. Larry gave me Alan's phone number and when I called, Alan said he wasn't a Beatles collector and since he had two copies, he would be willing to trade one. I told Alan that I knew of one other copy (Garry Shrum's) and there were probably others out there somewhere. This was before the Beatles guide first came out. We worked out a trade for one of my Elvis Suns, and I then became the owner of a near mint copy of VJ DJ no. 8 (which I still have).

Next, in 1985 Alan met Christopher Chatman of "Beyond Records" who traded him $1,300 worth of Elvis and rockabilly items for the other "Anna". After that, the disc then changed hands several times, first for $3,900 in 1985, for $4,500 in 1986, then in 1988 for $7,000. Amazingly, this same disc recently sold for over $11,000.

Before I forget, one other copy surfaced around 1988. This copy was VG or so with writing on the label and a crack in the lead-in groove. No other information is available at this time on this copy.

As for mine, in 1990 I turned down an offer of $10,000 for my copy, and this was a year before the $11,000 sale.

Strange isn't it that in 27 years (now 31 years), there are only four known copies. Two in so-so (or worse) shape and two near mint. Where are the others --Vee Jay didn't manufacture only four? Do any of you in the "Discoveries" family have one?

Publisher Jerry Osborne, who was a California dee jay throughout the early '60s told me he received promo copies of nearly all the Vee Jay 45s, even including No. 498 with two "Ts". Yet, there never was a copy of "Anna" sent to him or the station where he worked. Morrie Horowitz, who once owned Groovy Treasures in San Diego, told me he was a sales representative for Vee Jay in 1963 and 1964 and he also received promotional copies of every Vee Jay 45 but no "Anna" (until I showed him mine, he didn't believe that it existed). I do know that Capitol won a lawsuit against Vee Jay restricting sales to its existing stock of Beatles records. Was "Anna" pressed merely to plug the Vee Jay EP and LP? If so, the law suit eliminated any need to send out "Anna" and all but a few copies may have been destroyed.

Some collectors I've met consider the commercial Decca issue of "My Bonnie" to be the rarest and most valuable of all Beatles singles. I do know there are only four "Anna" 45s, whereas there are 12 to 15 Black label "My Bonnie" 45s and probably at least 100 dee jay copies. Furthermore, on Decca the Beatles are simply the backup band for Tony Sheridan. They are not the Beatles, but the Beat Brothers, as you know.

Conclusion: Surely the "Anna" disc has got to be the most desirable Beatles 45 in the world.

*******************************

A few things in the article have probably changed. I think there are a few more Decca's that have turned up. I found out later that the amount in the envelope that was the offer was $15,000, not the $10,000 that I thought it was. I also have talked to other dealers and collectors that have gotten into rock radio stations, and they have never turned one of these up. You would have expected that after the article there would have been at least one more copy that someone said they had, but that wasn't the case.

Another ironic thing. I mentioned that there was a promo copy of the VJ EP with the "Anna" that Garry Shrum found. Alan Ostroff found 2 mint copies of the same EP with his two "Anna's". Also, there were no other promo Beatles 45s in the group. Just other VJ and Tollie records.

Norm Katuna


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