An interesting bootleg album, identical in concept to the Capitol Rarities album, surfaced on the American collectors market several months prior to the official release of Rarities. Titled The Beatles Collector's Items, it was remarkably similar in content to Randall Davis' compilation (Mr. Davis was Capitol's Merchandising and Advertising Director). The LP even bore a fictitious Capitol Records catalog number (Capitol SPRO 9462) and counterfeit Capitol labels.
This limited edition sixteen-track record gained quite a reputation among collectors for its surprisingly well-conceived sleeve design and graphics. The back of the jacket offered concise liner notes on the origin of each track along with black and white photos of all the Beatles' previous Capitol Albums. 1000 copies were initially pressed, with no expense being spared in the graphics design and printing of the jackets and labels.
In September 1979 Collector's Items was re-packaged in a limited edition box set (shown). The box featured the same cover slicks as the original album. Only five (!) copies were made, with the label color being changed to yellow.
In December 1979, A second pressing of 2000 copies was issued that for some unknown reason replaced the true stereo version of I'm Down with Paperback Writer. It was re-numbered SPRO 9463.
A curious point to consider in speculating about where this pirated album actually came from is the fact that both Collector's Items and Rarities contain footnotes regarding the slightly inferior sound quality of the first track, Love Me Do (version 1), and both LPs include composite versions of Penny Lane and I Am The Walrus. Since Collector's Items was available months before Rarities, it seems fair to assume that the source of this underground album was either someone with access to the project materials or else that Capitol used the bootleg for reference in compiling Rarities.
Capitol press spokesperson Stephen Peebles said in a 1980 interview for Beatlefan magazine that he thought that "some collectors/bootleggers in New Jersey had put the album together" (It was made by someone in Hollywood, just a few miles from Capitol Records. A North Hollywood Beatle dealer supplied the memorabilia for the front cover photo.) He also said that "we thought it was highly coincidental that it has so many similarities with our record. We had been very close-mouthed about all the details of our album six weeks before it came out". Beatlefan said that there was some speculation at Capitol that at least one source who helped Capitol might also have had mutual contacts with the bootleggers.
In 1982, Collector's Items was re-issued in a numbered, limited edition of fifty copies, pressed on blue vinyl. Today, any of the versions are very difficult to find. Mint sealed copies have sold for over $100.00. We have never seen a box set version offered for sale since the five copies were first sold in 1979.