Volume I

Their Biggest Hits - The "Tollie" EP

The infamous "Tollie EP" - This bootleg EP was custom made by two northwest USA collectors and was released in 1975. Issued with a hard picture sleeve, this was the first fake Beatles record that was designed and passed off as being a newly discovered and previously unknown official release.

The four-track disc included the cuts that Tollie Records (a division of Vee Jay) had released on two separate singles. There were only three legitimate Beatles EPs released in the U.S. in the 1960s, two from Capitol and the VJ EP. So the idea was comically born to "discover the previously unknown Tollie EP".

The cover was painstakingly designed and printed to match the jacket style of the VJ EP, right down to the thickness of the cardboard - measured with a micrometer. The covers, printed in Seattle, were hand-assembled and then later "roughed up" so that no mint copies would be circulated and to add a little "aging". The label color was picked from dozens of shades to exactly match a 1960s Tollie 45 release, with the text and logo matching as well. The artwork was then sent to California for the disc pressing.

The discs were then slowly "discovered" and sold, causing initial excitement in the collecting world. Every top collector at the time believed them to be real. The bootleggers knew that at some point it would eventually be detected as a fake, but wanted to see how long they could fool everyone. Just a few months later it was indeed found to be bogus by several leading Beatles experts. A few minor imperfections in the design of the disc and label gave it away. The main clue was that close inspection of the cover revealed "ring wear" - exposing the fact that the photo was copied from an original Capitol picture sleeve. Since several of the records had been sold for the then-large sum of $150-$200, a full refund was offered by the bootleggers to those who had purchased the EP. Amazingly, not one single person returned their EP, even though upset from being fooled into paying so much for a bootleg. Only a couple known copies have been seen for sale since they came out in 1975!

Pictured below is the rarer "Promotional Copy", and only a few of the ten copies made were ever offered for sale. One hundred copies were pressed of the stock issue of which only ten were released. More than twenty years later, the remaining ninety-five unassembled copies still remain stored in a collection near Seattle.

It had been originally decided that only a few copies would ever be distributed, in order to maintain its uniqueness and rareness. Less than fifteen total copies exist in collectors hands today. In the early 1980s a collector-dealer from California "bootlegged" the Tollie EP and pressed several hundred copies. They were sold at the time for $3.00. Both the cover and the record are noticeably inferior to the "original" 1975 pressing. Later in the 80s, someone pressed a terrible copy of the same 4 songs on a black label "VJ" disc and issued it sans a picture sleeve.

The Tollie "promo" EP, and the original 45 from which the EP was designed from.

The 1980s bootleg issue EP using a fake VJ label.

Tollie EP CD

Tollie EP CD

Compact Disc versions of the Tollie EP, both "promo" and "stock", were issued in the mid 1990s. The original cover and label art were reproduced perfectly. Click on either photo for enlargement.

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