Sam Cooke Fan Club

Vinyl Records

The best place to find original Sam Cooke records now is on eBay. Most items you will have to bid on. Some items will be available at a firm price. Prices on eBay may fluctuate up and down from the averages posted here. You may luck out and get a steal. On another item, you may get caught up in a bidding war and end up paying more than you had anticipated.

If you've ever wondered what your stack of old Sam Cooke records is worth, you've come to the right place. Here you'll find a handy guide to Sam's original records, along with their estimated value. While checking out the values given for these discs, please keep in mind that dealers' prices vary greatly according to region. Also, shops that specialize in soul music may charge more for these discs that shops that cater to a broader customer base. Still, this list should give you a good idea of a record's actual value.

Sam's most collectible singles were issues on the Keen label. The earliest-issue mono Keen labels have multi-colored vertical stripes with the letters KEEN in gray circles around the top of the label. The second-issue mono Keen label is black with "Keen" to the left side of the center hole and a five-color vertical stripe next to it. Keen also issued gold-label stereo singles in 1959, including Sam's "Win Your Love For Me," "Only Sixteen" and "Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha." These stereo singles are quite rare - the values below are for the mono versions.

These prices reflect the value of the discs alone. Picture sleeves are often sold separately from the records. Many of Sam Cooke's RCA singles were issued with picture sleeves. These are among the more valuable Sam Cooke collectibles today, often selling for a higher price than the records they housed. One reason for that is RCA's practice of using unique color photos that didn't duplicate album art. While the designs were often uninspired, some of the sleeves are fairly attractive, such as those for "Cool Train" and "Another Saturday Night."

Most of Sam's picture sleeves are valued at about $20 each if they're in excellent or near mint condition - but the actual condition of these thin paper sleeves varies greatly. Sleeves in near-mint condition are very hard to come by because of ring-wear from the records and the paper's tendency to wrinkle and tear.

For some reason, the sleeve to "I Belong To Your Heart / You Understand Me" is valued at three times the price of other Sam Cooke sleeves. The higher value for this sleeve may be attributable to the fact that the single tanked on the charts, so relatively few copies were printed.

You'll also find a detailed explanation of the 'Goldmine Grading System' for discs and sleeves. The grading system, developed by the folks at Goldmine Magazine, is the industry standard and is used by most reputable dealers.

The Singles

Specialty 596 (1957)
Forever / Lovable
(released under the name 'Dale Cook')
$30 in NM Condition

Specialty 619 (1957)
I'll Come Running Back To You / Forever
$10 in EXC Condition

Specialty 627 (1958)
I Don't Want To Cry / That's All I Need To Know
$8 in VG Condition

Specialty (SPBX-6)
Box Set (Six Colored Vinyl Records)
$45 in VG Condition

Keen 4013 (September 1957)
You Send Me / Summertime
$10 in VG Condition

Keen 4002 (December 1957)
For Sentimental Reasons / Desire Me
$12 in NM Condition

Keen 4009 (March 1958)
You Were Made For Me / Lonely Island
$7 in VG Condition

Keen 2005 (July 1958)
Stealing Kisses / All Of My Love
$10 in NM Condition

Keen 2006 (August 1958)
Win Your Love For Me / Almost In Your Arms
$35 in NM Condition

Keen 2008 (October 1958)
I Love You Most Of All / Blue Moon
$8 in VG Condition

Keen 2018 (February 1959)
Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha / Little Things You Do
$15 in VG Condition

Keen 2006 (1959 Re-Release of Keen 2006)
Love Theme From 'Houseboat' (Almost In Your Arms) / Win Your Love For Me
$100 in NM Condition

Keen 2022 (June 1959)
Only Sixteen / Let's Go Steady Again
$8 in VG Condition

Keen 2105 (November 1959)
There, I've Said It Again / One Hour Ahead Of The Posse
$8 in VG Condition

Keen 2112 (April 1960)
Wonderful World / Along The Navajo Trail
$7 in VG Condition

Keen 2118
So Glamorous / Steal Away
Value Unknown

RCA 7701
Teenage Sonata / If You Were The Only Girl
$15 in NM Condition

RCA 7783
Chain Gang / I Fall In Love Every Day
$8 in VG Condition

RCA 7816
Sad Mood / Love Me
$8 in VG Condition

RCA 7883
Cupid / Farewell, My Darling
$7 in VG Condition

RCA 8088
Somebody Have Mercy / Nothing Can Change This Love
$7 in EXC Condition

RCA 8129
Send Me Some Lovin' / Baby, Baby, Baby
$6 in VG Condition

RCA 8215
Frankie and Johnny / Cool Train
$6 in VG Condition

RCA 8247
Little Red Rooster / You Gotta Move
$10 in EXC Condition

RCA 8368
Tennessee Waltz / Good Times
$5 in VG Condition

RCA 8539
It's Got The Whole World Shakin' / Ease My Troublin' Mind
$6 in EXC Condition

RCA 8631
Sugar Dumpling / Bridge of Tears
$7 in VG Condition

The Albums

In a nutshell, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 for one of Sam's albums in mint condition, with the possible exception of "The Best of..." compilations and "Live at the Harlem Square."

The Goldmine Grading System

Vinyl Records

M10 = Mint
This record appears new, as though never played. If it has indeed been played, the record shows no wear at all.

NM9 = Near Mint
This record appears new at first glance, but a closer look reveals that it may have been played. It shows minimal wear, if any.

EX8 = Excellent
Better than VG but below NM. Although this record seems to have been played, it is in great condition. It is likely that this record has had only one previous owner who took good care of it.

VG7 = Very Good
This record looks and sounds very good. It has some wear, but should play nicely for a long time.

VG6 = Better than G, Below VG
This record has visibly seen some play. It may have some scratches as well as writing on the label. Still, this record plays well and assures listening pleasure for years to come.

G5 = Good
This record looks and plays OK. It shows considerable wear, likely from years of play and perhaps changing hands. There may be writing and/or stickers on the label, as well as visible scratches on the vinyl, although play may not be affected.

G4 = Better than POOR, Below G
This record shows a lot of wear and may have markings and/or stickers on the label. It plays OK, but it has visibly seen a lot of handling.

P3 = Poor
This is the lowest grading. A record in this condition may be difficult to play, showing many pops and hisses as it goes. Major scratches, writing as well as stickers on the label are common with a record of this low grading.

The Goldmine Grading System

Picture Sleeves & LP Covers

M10 = Mint
A cover/sleeve in this condition appears as though it was just picked off a shelf at a retail store. It shows no marks or damage at all.

NM9 = Near Mint
This cover/sleeve is flawless at first glance. Any wear at all should be minimal.

EX8 = Excellent
Better than VG but below NM. This sleeve looks great - it may have some minor wear, but there is no real damage of any kind.

VG7 = Very Good
Although it looks great at first sight, a closer look at this cover/sleeve may reveal some minor damage such as wear, some writing and/or minor tears.

VG6 = Better than G, Below VG
This sleeve looks very good, but a closer look may show some wear and markings.

G5 = Good
This sleeve looks good, but may show some flaws such as considerable wear, writing and scribbles and/or fading of colors and/or tears.

Good = Better than Poor, Below VG
This sleeve looks OK, but it may have major wear, slight tears, markings, etc.

P3 = Poor
A sleeve in this condition is not good to look at. It may have major flaws, including tear, fadings, markings and/or tears.