25 Sep 2013
Facs In The Attic Part 1 
Interest in antiques and collectables is currently experiencing something of a renaissance - blame the TV all you want but the Bargain Hunts, Flog Its and Antiques Roadshows of this world have all inspired many of us to reassess our prized possessions with a little more confidence, as opposed to slinging our 'tat' out with the week's rubbish.

Yet to appear on any of these shows are Factory Records collectables, although the nearest related item recently presented for valuation was on the ubiquitous Antiques Roadshow - a copy of Sex Pistols' God Save The Queen included in a 'guess the value' spot that garnered a nervous cough from Fiona Bruce when it was revealed that the rare 7" was worth over £10,000.

Sadly (or perhaps, happily), nothing on Factory commands such sums but there are a few treasures to be found. Here's our guide to the most valuable items to be found christened with a FAC or FACT number. We haven't included any posters, videos, egg-timers, bits of the Hacienda floor, Peter Hook's plectrums or anything else non-audio. Most of the items mentioned are worth more than £10 in mint or near-mint condition (that's minus fingerprints and without half the sleeve being used for illicit drug use), according to Record Collector and the Discogs* website.

Factory Benelux and Les Disques du Crepuscule rarities by Factory artists will be looked at a later date. So, without further ado and in no particular order...

Joy Division

Joy Division's Still

Arguably the label's most revered band, JD may have sold thousands of records over the years but many are worth a decent amount. The big hitters include the first vinyl pressings of Unknown Pleasures (FACT 10) with its textured inner and outer sleeves (£50), the original hessian double-vinyl edition of Still (FACT 40) at £70 and all three of the band's albums in those lovely purple cassette boxes, valued at approximately £35 a pop. Not surprisingly, Love Will Tear Us Apart doesn't represent a rare item since it's sold shed-loads in numerous formats since its 1980 release. However, there's a respectable £8-£10 price tag on the original 12" (FAC23-12).

New Order

New Order's Xmas Flexi

As with Joy Division, New Order's catalogue has been immensely popular over the years and isn't as rare as you may think. But dig deep and you'll unearth a few pricey gems. CD video collectors will be aware of the band's foray into this maligned format, namely Blue Monday '88 (FACDV 73R) and True Faith (FACDV 183), both of which command £50 or £30 respectively, the metallic CD edition of the Brotherhood album (FACD150SP) comes in at £25 and the rare 7" version of Thieves Like Us (in a turquoise generic bag - FAC 103) warrants a spend of £15. Vinyl editions of all of their Factory albums pitch in at around the £15 - £25 with Substance (FACT 200) worth around £30. The aforementioned boxed-cassette albums are also worth in excess of £15. Our image above depicts the hard-to-find Christmas flexi-disc (FAC51b) - provided you haven't sat on it or played it more than once, you'll be hard-pressed to find one for less than £20 these days. Blue Monday on vinyl is a priceless record that will fetch you a tenner if you've a copy in mint condition with the die-cut sleeve and silver inner, otherwise it's a fiver at most.

Durutti Column

The Durutti Column's Vini Reilly

Vini Reilly's elegiac history is also worth collecting, especially earlier vinyl releases. The infamous Return of the Durutti Column album (FACT 14) was initially housed in a collection-wrecking sandpaper sleeve and came with a flexi-disc featuring producer Martin Hannett instrumentals. Complete and original pressings can be worth anything from £200 a go, such is their rarity value. A proposed replica re-issue by Factory Benelux in the coming months will do little to bring this price down but it should make availability of an incredible piece of art all the more easier. DC's other money-spinners include all of the boxed-cassette albums at around £35 each and the super Vini Reilly album (FACT 244) with the bonus Steven and Vini 7" (or CD, depending on format), priced at a healthy £45 complete.

Section 25

Section 25's rare Girls Don't Count 7

Blackpool's finest are no strangers to expensive valuations either. Their debut-single Girls Don't Count (FAC 18), produced by Ian Curtis, is a great place to start - the easier-to-find 12" (with three different sleeves) can fetch £15 upwards while the tracing-paper housed 7" edition is worth around £25 in a downwind. But it's the band's albums that strike gold. Always Now (FACT 45, with the poster) and From The Hip (FACT 90, with orange inner sleeve) can raise over £25 each, while both boxed-cassette album versions are a heady £80 - £100! Section 25's last Factory album Love and Hate (FACT 160) is keenly priced from £18 by Record Collector, although the same magazine has omitted the band's landmark 12" Looking From a Hilltop (FAC 108) - I've seen copies on sale from £10 upwards.

A Certain Ratio

A Certain Ratio's Graveyard tape

The first outfit to release a single on Factory, A Certain Ratio's rarities a little more modest in price than most but there are plenty of them. A sticker bearing the legend 'pressed on poor quality vinyl' is enough to have purchasers running for the hills but ACR's All Night Party 7" (FAC 5) bears the very same wording on its sleeve, making it something of a collectable at £25. The band's next release is also worth a few quid, namely The Graveyard and the Ballroom (FACT 16C). The original came packaged in a PVC style wallet with a card insert and fetches anything from £20 upwards. Rather rarer is the boxed-cassette version that appeared a few years later, along with reissues of The Old and the New (FAC 135c) and Force (FAC 166c), all of which can earn you £25 each. Finally, absent from Record Collector's latest guide, due to them being overseas pressings, are The Double Twelve Inch (FAC 42 - contains Flight and Do The Du 12" together in a gatefold sleeve) and the Australian 12" release of Bootsy (FAC 166-12). Both are currently on sale at around £12.

Happy Mondays

Happy Mondays' Delightful debut

And finally in our first instalment of Facs In The Attic, Happy Mondays. As with New Order and Joy Division, the Mondays shipped a fair few units in their time but were initially an unknown force, hence the decent earners from the first half of their career. Debut single Delightful (FAC 129) is understandably collectable and fairly difficult to find in decent condition (or in any quantity outside of the North West). Expect to fork out £10 upwards for a decent copy (RC keenly aims for a £40 price-tag!). Their first album Squirrel and G-Man (FACT 170) is collectable on both vinyl and cassette formats - the former should come in a PVC outer-sleeve with the album's title printed on it and the Beatles-sampling (and withdrawn) track Desmond included (£25). The boxed-cassette version, with or without Desmond, can command over £30. If you own a UK copy of the Pills Thrills and Bellyaches album (FACT 320) with its withdrawn 'sweets' sleeve, you'll be justified in flogging it for £20.

Next time, in part 2 of Facs In The Attic, we study the acts with smaller catalogues, the one-offs and the unlikeliest of rarities.

(* Discogs is a catalogue listing site with an active marketplace for music formats - prices can be, er, ambitious. Cerysmatic holds no responsibility for anyone paying £500 for an Adventure Babies white label).

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Peter Saville colour wheel
A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

The Durutti Column