The self-titled Bathory LP (Bathory – Bathory LP 1984 Black Mark Production – BMLP 666-1) with the “yellow goat” album cover is considered one of the “holy grail” scores for heavy and black metal record collectors the globe over. But, unfortunately, it is also one of the most counterfeited records out there because of its value. So let’s find out how not to get fooled into buying a fake, or if you don’t have thousands to spend — what a replica is worth.
Why Is This Album So Valuable?
The first album from Bathory is a landmark album from the metal genre. While it sounds recorded in a garage, it became the template for countless black metal bands afterward. The first thousand copies were pressed independently on Quarthon’s Black Mark Productions with a gold-colored goat on the front cover before being picked up by Combat and Under One Flag for broader distribution. The first press with a yellow goat can fetch $5,000 or some for an authentic copy.
FUN FACT: The original goat was supposed to be gold, but due do budget issues, the fledgling Black Mark Productions label had to settle for yellow.
How To Spot A Fake Bathory Album
The iconic artwork for this album is very simple. Therefore there are some very convincing knockoffs available in various markets. Listed below are the main things to be looking for:
- Examine the dead wax or the “runout matrix” on the album. It is the engraving in the vinyl after the playing surface. The engraving in a real copy should read as follows on Side A (“Darkness”): 840905GP with BMLP 666 1 A PD-CR Pentagram image] [666 image in pyramid shape] and then on Side B will have this etching 840905GP BMLP 666 1 B PD-CR [Cross image]
- The most prolific bootlegs came out in Europe in the mid-1990s. The most common runouts are 666-1, or you may see some copies with nothing in the dead wax at all.
- Most of the original pressings came with a printed inner sleeve. However, these can also be faked. Also, some authentic copies may be short an inner sleeve if the original owner lost it.
- If the album looks “too new” you should look more carefully. Remember that this album came out in 1984 and is 37 years old at this point. You should expect to see some wear.
- If the color looks “wrong”, it is likely a fake. This is a common problem among cheap bootlegs.
Despite how rare this album is and eBay’s policy to not allow the sale of counterfeit albums, there always seem to be 2-3 copies available for $2200-$2500 at any given time. Most likely, they are not authentic, but here is how you stay safe if you want to spend big money.
- Contact the seller and inquire about the runout matrix. If they don’t respond or refuse to provide it, you should hard pass. You can also request they provide pictures, though they can be difficult to see.
- Whether on Discogs or eBay, look for a reputable seller that has many reviews and a lot of items for sale — not someone who could pack up and disappear overnight.
- If the seller does not accept returns, you should not buy from them.
As I said, this iconic album artwork is quite basic. Here are some pictures from one of the common European bootleg pressings. Notice how tough it is to tell if it is fake or authentic.
How Much Is A Yellow Goat Bootleg Worth?
If you want to have a yellow goat Bathory, but don’t feel like forking out two grand, it is totally understandable. If you can get past the moral dilemma of not paying the Quarthon estate, you can get replica copies for 50 bucks, sometimes less.
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