Beatles Picture Sleeve Price and Reference Guide

Picture sleeves for 45's Picture sleeves for EP's Beatles solo picture sleeves Solo singles

Collecting picture sleeves has always been popular among Beatle fans, and one of the toughest challenges has been to find true near mint to mint examples. Due in part to the thinner paper used, most sleeves show at least some sign of ring wear or impression marks from the disc, light wrinkles, and other wear and handling/storage marks. Near-perfect copies are of course the most sought after and have become increasingly difficult to find over the years. Sleeves at or near the top grade can bring prices well beyond what is listed in this guide.

Capitol's rush release of I Want To Hold Your Hand on December 26th, 1963 was the first Beatles picture sleeve issued in the U.S., followed a week or so later by Swan's She Loves You/I'll Get You (while Swan issued the She Loves You single in September of 1963 they did not print any sleeves until January 1964). Since that time, there have been more than 50 Beatles sleeves issued by a variety of different record companies, mostly Capitol.

Picture sleeves were prepared for all Capitol singles issued from 1963 to 1968. The Capitol sleeves were pressed at two different plants - Bert-Co Enterprises in Los Angeles printed sleeves with a dropped-center "thumb tab" at the opening while Queens Litho in New York printed sleeves with a straight-cut top. These are known in the marketplace as either "West Coast" or "East Coast" sleeves.

For the 1960s Capitol sleeves, Can't Buy Me Love is the only title that did not have a West Coast thumb-tab printing. On the Lady Madonna West Coast sleeve the left and right sides of the folded paper, visible on The Inner Light side, are bowed outward at the bottom (as opposed to the straight sides on the East Coast sleeve).


Picture sleeve grading in the marketplace - due to the thinner paper stock typically used for picture sleeves, the majority of sleeves that come up for sale have impression and/or wear marks from the discs. It is also common to see light bends and dent marks along the opening side of the sleeve, from the disc being removed and replaced back in the sleeve. It is very difficult to take photos or scans that reveal all of the handling marks on a given sleeve, resulting in most images of sleeves offered for sale appearing to be in better condition than they actually are. More often than not, on-line sellers simply assign an overall grade, but fail to disclose additional condition related information or details. A group of collectors here in the Pacific Northwest have a favorite saying when it comes to buying Beatles rarities - "Don't tell me what's right with it, tell me what's wrong with it". As sleeves become more and more valuable, it becomes more critical to have as much information as possible regarding exact condition.

What I have found in my recent quest to re-assemble a high-grade set of East and West coast Beatles picture sleeves is that a large number of sellers out there over-grade sleeves. For collectors like myself, who have always used a strict grading system when selling Beatles collectibles, this can be very frustrating. Not only do I often see cases of over-grading, some sellers fail to disclose information that would affect the overall condition and value, and I have seen cases where descriptions of condition is not all that accurate. This may not be quite as important for the more common and later releases of lower priced sleeves, but becomes more critical when one is spending hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on a purchase. Fortunately, there are some established dealers and collectors who do grade accurately and can be trusted, those are the ones to seek out and buy from. You also want to buy from someone who has a guaranteed return policy if you are not satisfied.


Capitol alternate sleeve variations - so far there are at least thirteen known different Capitol 1960s sleeve titles in which the 'A' side header title is printed on the opposite tab-cut/open side, and some of which have "Printed In USA" on different sides of the sleeve. Here is the complete list:

West Coast:

1. "All You Need Is Love"
A-side "All You Need Is Love" title on top on tab side is scarcer

2. "Help!"
A-side "Help!" title on top on tab side is scarcer

3. "I'll Cry Instead"
A-side "I'll Cry Instead" title on top on tab side is scarcer

4. "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
B-side "I Saw Her Standing There" title on top on tab side is much scarcer

5. "Matchbox"
B-side "Slow Down" title on top on tab side is scarcer

6. "Paperback Writer"
A-side "Paperback Writer" title on top on tab side is scarcer

East Coast:

7. "All You Need Is Love"
A-side "Baby You're A Rich Man" title on top on open side is scarcer

8. "And I Love Her"
A-side "And I Love Her" title on top on open side is much scarcer

9. "Hard Day's Night"
A-side "Hard Day's Night" title on top on open side is somewhat scarcer

10. "I Feel Fine"
B-side "She's A Woman" title on top on open side is scarcer

11. "Matchbox"
B-side "Slow Down" title on top on open side is slightly scarcer

12. "We Can Work It Out"
"Printed in USA" not on open side is much scarcer

13. "Yellow Submarine"
"Printed in USA" (circular logo) not on open side is much scarcer



Apple picture sleeves - of the six Apple Beatles singles released from 1968 to 1970, only three were issued with picture sleeves:

- "The Ballad of John and Yoko" has the Queens Litho straight cut and the West Coast Bert-co tumb tab versions.

- "Let It Be" can be found in either the usual East Coast straight-cut version or in a rounded top version. It is believed that the rounded top version was also manufactured on the East Coast by Queens Litho, most likely during the later part of the production run.

- "The Long and Winding Road" has the usual East Coast straight-cut and West Coast thumb-tab versions; however, the West Coast sleeve was produced in extremely limited quantities and is very scarce - only a few copies are known to exist.


Beatles sleeves collection

An impressive picture sleeves collection comprising multiple variations and duplicates, most in upper-grade condition.

Below is our complete list of all picture sleeves issued in the U.S. from 1963 to present, along with their current value, photo, and other information. Values listed are in U.S. dollars, for strict near mint copies, and DO NOT include the associated disc. Copies in lower grades are worth significantly less. Next to the NM value price we have listed, where applicable, a "W" for West Coast values, and an "E" for East Coast values. The West Coast sleeves were for the most part printed in smaller quantities and typically sell for roughly 20%-25% more than comparable East Coast sleeves.
Beatles picture sleeves for singles

(last updated 11/13/2021)
Company Number A Side B side Released NM Value
Atco 6308 Ain't She Sweet (Some copies were later released as factory "cut outs", having a drill hole through the sleeve (and disc), which reduces the value by at least 50%. All copies with a curved cut at the top of the sleeve are fakes, as are copies with an even straight cut at the top of both sides of the sleeve) Nobody's Child 07-06-64 $350.00
Capitol 5964 All You Need Is Love Baby You're A Rich Man 07-20-67 W - $175.00
E- $125.00
Capitol 5235 And I Love Her If I Fell 07-20-64 W - $200.00
E- $150.00
United Artists UA-745 And I Love Her (George Martin with instrumental versions from the A Hard Day's Night soundtrack LP. Picture sleeve features photos of The Beatles. Very scarce due to a limited press run) This Boy 05-17-65 $500.00
Vee Jay DJ No. 8 Ask Me Why (This promotional title sleeve is by far the rarest of all Beatles picture sleeves ever issued. It was released in spring/summer 1964 to promote the VJ EP, Souvenir of Their Visit To America.) The back of the sleeve is plain white with no text or images. In December of 2014 an upper grade "7.5" copy sold at Heritage Auctions for $8,437. A near mint copy was sold by Heritage Auctions in November 2017 for $15,000 (including buyers premium). It is believed to be the only known NM copy) ---- 1964 $12,000.00
Apple 2531 Ballad of John & Yoko Old Brown Shoe 06-05-69 W - $300.00
E- $250.00
Capitol 5150 Can't Buy Me Love (Produced in limited quantities, one of the most popular Beatles picture sleeves. Copies in true near mint or better condition are difficult to find. For more information, visit our Can't Buy Me Love page) You Can't Do That 03-16-64 $1,200.00
Capitol 5150 Can't Buy Me Love (2011 reissue. Exclusive 7-inch vinyl and t-shirt package sold at Target. The number "5099967807574" is printed on the lower left corner of the sleeve on the B-side) You Can't Do That 2011 $15.00
Vee Jay 587 Do You Want To Know A Secret (Due to the very thin non-glossy paper used for this sleeve, copies in true near mint to mint condition without handling or impression marks are extremely scarce) Thank You Girl 03-23-64 $250.00
Capitol 5371 Eight Days A Week (East coast copies are a little scarcer than the West coast issues, the latter of which a couple hundred upper grade copies turned up in the late 1970s, flooding the market into the early-mid 1980s) I Don't Want To Spoil The Party 12-15-65 W - $100.00
E - $140.00
Capitol NR-58497 Free As A Bird (Released as part of the promotion for The Beatles Anthology video documentary and the Anthology 1 compilation album) Christmas Time Is Here Again 1996 $5.00
Capitol 4506 Girl (Manufactured for the unreleased 45, never commercially released. For more information, see our page on the Girl picture sleeve in our Beatles Rarities section) You're Going To Lose That Girl 10-77 $50.00
Capitol 4274 Got To Get You Into My Life Helter Skelter 05-31-76 $5.00
Capitol 5222 Hard Day's Night, A I Should Have Known Better 07-13-64 W - $300.00
E- $250.00
United Artists UA-750 Hard Day's Night, A (Features George Martin with instrumental versions of Beatles songs from the movie. The sleeve was issued with photos of The Beatles. Due to a very small press run, it is one of the rarest and most sought after "Beatles" related picture sleeves. Copies rarely turn up for sale, and only a handful have turned up in true near mint or better condition) I Should Have Known Better 1964 $1,400.00
Capitol 2056 Hello Goodbye I Am The Walrus 10-27-67 W - $400.00
E- $350.00
Capitol 2056 Hello Goodbye (2011 reissue. Exclusive 7-inch vinyl and t-shirt package sold at Target. The number "5099967820375" is printed on the lower right corner of the sleeve on the A-side) I Am The Walrus 2011 $15.00
Capitol 5476 Help! (The East Coast version has "Printed In USA" on one side) I'm Down 07-20-67 W - $200.00
E- $150.00
Capitol 5476 Help! (2011 reissue. Exclusive 7-inch vinyl and t-shirt package sold at Target. The number "5099967820474" is printed on the lower right corner of the sleeve on the B-side) I'm Down 2011 $15.00
Capitol ---- Holiday Innkeeper, A Gift From (Fold-open flyer, issued as a promotional item designed to be issued with Capitol Records Beatles singles from 1964) ---- 1964 $1,500.00
IBBB ZTSC 97436/37 IBBB Interview by Tom Clay "Remember, We Don't Like Them, We Love Them". Interview by former disc jockey Tom Clay on the set of A Hard Day's Night. This promotional 45 with a fold-open insert was available via mail order only. Ringo & George interview Spring 1964 $60.00
Capitol 5234 I'll Cry Instead I'm Happy Just To Dance With You 07-20-64 W - $350.00
E- $300.00
Capitol 5112 I Want To Hold Your Hand (East Coast copies show all of Geroge's head, the West Coast copies crop off part of Gerrge's head. Originals do not have periods placed at the end of the small print "REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.") I Saw Her Standing There 01-13-64 W - $300.00
E- $250.00
Capitol 5112 I Want To Hold Your Hand (Custom promotional-only picture sleeve, issued with commercial copies of the single in 1964. Only 1,000 of these picture sleeves were printed. The front of the sleeve is the same as the standard Capitol 5112 issue, while the back features a picture of the six New York radio station WMCA "Good Guys". These were given away to listeners in a station-sponsored Beatles wig contest. This sleeve is one of the scarcest and most sought after of all Beatles pictures sleeves). I Saw Her Standing There 1964 $7,500.00
Capitol 5112 I Want To Hold Your Hand (Capitol's 20th anniversary re-release of the original single. Same photo as original 1964 sleeve. Distinguishable by the small date "1984" printed on the lower left hand corner of sleeve and by the absence of the cigarette in Paul's hand, as found on the original) I Saw Her Standing There 2-10-1984 $8.00
Capitol 5112
(NR-58123)
I Want To Hold Your Hand (Capitol's 30th anniversary re-release of the original single. Nice replica of the original thumb tab version. To tell the difference note the oval Capitol logo on the sleeve. The original does not have periods placed at the end of the small print "REG. U.S. PAT. OFF." The reissue has the periods added. Issued in a clear mylar sleeve with a small round 30th Anniversary sticker adhered to one side with a UPC sticker on the other side. Deduct 25% if bag is missing. Note: Capitol also released a promo-only version of this release on CD, Capitol DPRO-79319) I Saw Her Standing There 02-94 $8.00
$10.00 w/
mylar bag
Capitol 2138 Lady Madonna (Another sleeve that is almost impossible to find without ring wear or disc impression. Original pressings included a fan club flyer which is valued at $60.00 in NM condition. The Beatles' faces on the West Coast Lady Madonna sleeve have a greenish tint, as opposed to the reddish tint found on the East Coast copies. Also on the West Coast issue, the left and right sides of the folded paper, visible on The Inner Light side, are bowed outward at the bottom (as opposed to the straight sides on the East Coast sleeve). The East Coast version of the sleeve has its larger side as the Lady Madonna side while the West Coast version of the sleeve has its larger side as the Inner Light side) The Inner Light 03-18-68 W - $200.00
E- $150.00
Capitol B-5439 Leave My Kitten Alone (Produced in limited quantities, this was to be the first single from the aborted Sessions album which was shelved due to legalities. This sleeve was the only finished product from the project. For more information, see our detailed page on the Kitten sleeve) Ob-La-Di, Ob-La Da 01-18-85 $75.00
Apple 2764 Let It Be (Can be found in either the usual East Coast straight-cut version or in a rounded top version. It is believed that the rounded top version was also manufactured on the East Coast by Queens Litho, most likely during the later part of the production run) You Know My Name 03-11-70 W - $300.00
E - $250.00
Apple 2764 Let It Be (2011 reissue. Exclusive 7-inch vinyl and t-shirt package sold at Target. The number "5099967820573" is printed on the lower right corner of the sleeve on the B-side) You Know My Name 2011 $15.00
Apple 2832 Long And Winding Road, The (As of January 2021, only three West coast copies have been verified to exist, one coming from a former Capitol records employee, which was last sold back in 1996 for $375.00. The east coast copies are among the hardest sleeves to find without ring wear or disc impression. On most you will find impression marks caused from the circular serrated "anti-slip" ridges around the area just outside the label. The sleeve may have to be viewed tilted in strong lighting to see these marks.) For You Blue 05-11-70 W - $4,000.00
E - $250.00
Tollie 9008 Love Me Do P.S. I Love You 04-27-64 $250.00
Capitol B-5189 Love Me Do (Capitol's 20th anniversary reissue) P.S. I Love You 11-19-82 $5.00
Capitol 7-PRO-79551/2 Love Me Do (Capitol's 30th anniversary reissue, a promo only limited edition available only with mail-in offer from Capitol Records in November 1992. Reportedly only 5,000 were made. Some copies issued with a gray 3-1/4" x 6" card (value: $10.00) from Capitol thanking them for responding. Original 9" x 12" mailer (value: $10.00) has Capitol mailing label) P.S. I Love You 11-02-92 $20.00
Capitol 5255 Matchbox Slow Down 08-24-64 W - $250.00
E- $200.00
Capitol B-5100 Movie Medley (withdrawn just prior to release, supposedly due to royalties issues, replaced with new B-side, see next entry below) Fab Four On Film 02/82 $20.00
Capitol B-5107 Movie Medley I'm Happy Just To Dance With You 02/82 $5.00
IBC (no #) Murray The K & The Beatles (Due to the manner in which this was distributed, most of these sleeves have staple holes. These holes, if clean with no resultant tears, do not detract from the value. Copies without holes would be valued at least 60% higher) Interview 1964 $150.00
IBC F4KM-0082/83 Murray The K & The Beatles (reissue) Interview 1976 $10.00
MGM K-13213 My Bonnie The Saints 01-27-64 $300.00
Capitol 5587 Nowhere Man What Goes On 02-21-66 W - $200.00
E- $150.00
Capitol 4347 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Pressed at Capitol Records Winchester Pressing Plant) Julia 11-18-76 $8.00
Capitol 5651 Paperback Writer (The East Coast copy has a "Printed In USA" logo on one side) Rain 05-27-66 W - $200.00
E- $150.00
Capitol 5810 Penny Lane (Known counterfeits have inferior quality photo and print, straight cut top, and perforated outer edges) Strawberry Fields Forever 02-13-67 W - $250.00
E- $200.00
Vee Jay 581 Please Please Me (Issued with several different variations of the single but most often with the first issue - black with colorband and oval logo. Known counterfeit has a curved cut at the top while original is straight cut. Photo print on fake is faded and blurry. For more information, see our VJ-581 page) From Me To You 01-30-64 $600.00
Vee Jay 581 Please Please Me (Promotional title sleeve, "The Record That Started Beatlemania", issued with promotional copies of this single. It is one of the scarcest, most sought after and most valuable of all Beatles pictures sleeves worldwide. The references on the sleeve to the spread of Beatlemania in America gives this special sleeve historical and significant importance.

Copies in true Near Mint upper-grade condition are especially scarce and rarely turn up for sale. Almost every known copy that has surfaced over the past decades have a printing blemish on the "B" side, consisting of two or three round circular blue ink smudge marks in the center of the sleeve. These rings were caused by the small suction cups that lifted the sleeves coming off the printing press to the stacking area.

As of November 2021, there has only been a few verified copies that have turned up that do not have the circular printer blemishes, or any other printer defects. One example, in beautiful near mint condition, with a near mint disc, was recently sold for just under $9,000. Some of the existing 581 promo sleeves have also had blue vertical ink marks/streaks in the light blue shaded area on the "A" side. An example is shown Here).

From Me To You 1-64 $6,000.00
Capitol NR-58544 Real Love (Released as part of the promotion for The Beatles Anthology video documentary and the Anthology 1 compilation album) Baby's In Black 1996 $5.00
Capitol 4612 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band With A Little Help From My Friends 08-14-78 $12.00
Swan 4152 She Loves You (Although the single was originally released in September 1963, picture sleeves did not appear until the black label reissue in January 1964) I'll Get You 09-16-63 $350.00
Capitol 5407 Ticket To Ride (Print defect: all West Coast copies have a small black dot below the 'A' in 'Beatles' on both sides of the sleeve. The East Coast release has "Printed In USA" on one side) Yes It Is 04-19-65 W - $275.00
E- $225.00
Capitol 5407 Ticket To Ride (special edition, part of a 4-disc 45 rpm box set issued for Record Store Day in 2011. The number "5099968004378" is printed in the lower right corner of the A-side of the sleeve) Yes It Is 4-16-11 $15.00
Capitol 5555 We Can Work It Out Day Tripper 12-06-65 W - $200.00
E- $150.00
Vee Jay (no #) "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" (This sleeve was issued with many Vee Jay and Tollie Beatles singles during the Christmas seasons of 1964 and 1965. Copies not having the visible vertical glue lines from aging do exist, but are extremely scarce and would be worth double the NM price listed here) ---- 1964 $250.00
MGM K-13227 Why (This is the second of two Beatles picture sleeves issued by MGM, and by far the scarest of the two. True near mint to mint copies rarely turn up for sale. One of the known counterfeits is only 7" wide - which does not allow a disc to fit in!) Cry For A Shadow 03-27-64 $400.00
Capitol 5715 Yellow Submarine (Due to its dark cover, this is one of the hardest sleeves to find without disc ring-wear. Known counterfeits have only the die-cut top, and the photo and print quality is inferior) Eleanor Rigby 09-08-66 W - $250.00
E- $200.00
Capitol 5715 Yellow Submarine (special edition, part of a 4-disc 45 rpm box set issued for Record Store Day in 2011. The number "5099968004477" is printed in the lower right corner of the A-side of the sleeve) Yes It Is 4-16-11 $15.00
Capitol 5498 Yesterday (Known counterfeits have inferior quality photos and print, and are straight cut along the top) Act Naturally 09-13-65 W - $200.00
E- $150.00
Capitol RB-2637 You Can't Do That (Title sleeve/mailer, 7-1/4" square manila envelope with red print. Known counterfeit has a smaller opening flap of 1-5/8" whereas original is 2-1/16". The fake also has heavier darker red print, only discernible when compared to a verified original) KFWBeatles Interview 06-64 $900.00


Different photo quality and resolution between Capitol picture sleeves

Usually one side of the country or the other would provide the original artwork for the picture sleeves. The other side would then receive a 2nd generation print or negative of the artwork with which to construct their sleeves. This resulted in sometimes drastic photo quality/resolution differences among sleeves of the same release. Here a a few of the extreme examples:
  • And I Love Her - The East coast copies are much sharper
  • I'll Cry Instead - Since the same photo as the Hand sleeve was used, the East coast copies are much sharper. The West coast copies have a pinkish tint to the photo while the East copies have a tannish tint.
  • I Want To Hold Your Hand - The East coast copies used the original artwork, resulting in the West coast sleeves having somewhat of a blur on the photo.
  • Penny Lane - On this title the West coast plant used the original artwork, resulting in a much sharper photo and more realistic colors.


Picture sleeves for EP's
Company Number Title / Songs Released NM Value*
Polydor PRO-1113-7 Ain't She Sweet / Cry For A Shadow / My Bonnie / The Saints (promotional copy only, given away free by Polydor and Gramercy Pictures to promote the movie BackBeat) 1994 $25.00
Capitol / App. NR-58348 Baby It's You / I'll Follow The Sun / Devil In Her Heart / Boys (From Live At The BBC, this 4-track EP features 3 songs not released on the album) 4/95 $10.00
Capitol SXA-2080 Beatles Second Album Compact 33 (Issued for use in jukeboxes, contains 6 tracks from the LP, hardcover jacket with blank back) 1964 $1,200.00
Capitol SPRO-2905 Capitol Souvenir Record (Promotional issue only, compilation EP, includes excerpt of I Want To Hold Your Hand as well as excerpts from the Beach Boys abd other artists. This EP was issued to celebrate the grand opening of Capitol Records Jacksonville pressing plant.) 1965 $1,200.00
Capitol EAP-2121 Four By The Beatles (The first of only two commercially released Beatles EP's issued by Capitol) 05-11-64 $500.00
Capitol R-5365 4 By The Beatles (The second of only two commercially released Beatles EP's issued by Capitol) 02-11-65 $300.00
Capitol SXA-2047 Meet The Beatles Capitol Compact 33 (Issued for use in jukeboxes, contains 6 tracks from the LP, hardcover jacket with blank back) 1964 $1,200.00
Capitol PRO-2548/9 Open-End Interview with The Beatles (Promotional issue only, issued to promote the Meet The Beatles album. Contains an open-end interview with the group and 3 LP tracks.) 2/64 $1,200.00
Capitol PRO-2598/9 Second Album Open-End Interview (Promotional issue only, issued to promote The Beatles Second Album. Contains an open-end interview with the group and 3 LP tracks.) 4/64 $1,200.00
Capitol SXA-2108 Something New Compact 33 (Issued for use in jukeboxes, contains 6 tracks from the LP, hardcover jacket with blank back) 1964 $1,200.00
Vee Jay EP 1-903 Souvenir of Their Visit To America (The only Beatle EP issued by Vee Jay) 03-23-64 $300.00
 * Prices listed include the sleeve and disc

   ©1997-2021 Mitch McGeary. Special contributors: Perry Cox, Steve Leicht and Roy Morlen. Thanks also to Tom Vanghele at Fab4Collectibles for additional information on the alternate Capitol sleeves.


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