some tombstones- my earliest RCAs, including my earliest record of any kind


Alex Steinweiss memorably called the record covers that existing in 1938 “tombstones”. You can easily see why by looking at the last two of these RCA Victor sets.

I thank http://shellackophile.blogspot.com for explaining to me the dates on RCA 78 rpm sets. The earliest of these is AM 23 – Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. It dates to 1928. There is a richness to the detail – the all cloth cover, the individual holders which have a pattern in the paper, that seems like the 1920s. I collect any cover of Scheherazade that I can find – I have around 300 of them. As for 78 rpm sets that are not by Steinweiss, I collect anything that I like, either for the design or for historical reasons.

AM269 dates to 1935, and is my second oldest cover. The green one is the original. The white one is a reissue. These are also Stokowski conducting the Phildadelphia Orchestra, but I don’t know if they are the same recording.

Finally, DM 509 from 1938. This is a different recording, Antal Dorati conducting the London Philharmonic. I misnamed the caption on the record, sadly. The front cover is identical, but the spine is in a different font from the AM 269 one. RCA packaging was very spare on all of these – no names on the covers or spines, no numbers on the cover, nothing on the inner spaces. Perhaps they came with booklets that I am missing.

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