Beatles Contracts Info

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Record Info & Contract Press pages: Original research, photos of our records & text ©2020 by select45rpm.

All UK Beatles Parlophone/Apple were manufactured & masters cut by EMI who also pressed the majority of copies. Due to heavy sales or factory demands etc pressings had to be contracted to another company to meet demand. With Beatles 45s, the exact EMI labels & pressing plates were used, the difference being found only in peculiarities of pressing by a different company which are noticeable by those with much experience of UK vinyl. Differences in label contour, thickness of vinyl, centre cut-outs, serrated label edge moulding & record edge give the true details away. Bear in mind EMI changed it's own pressing characteristics over the years too, beyond label designs. The 1976 repressings by EMI still mostly used the original 1960s metalwork, but with later 'Gramophone' codes. Even early 80s reissues as anniversarys were met still used the old metalwork. Only more recent pressings remastered them.

This page is a bit untidy, still in the 2004 format to keep it looking as it did & for the fact we're not interested in going deeper into this. Beware parasites claiming this is their knowledge, NOTHING was published showing Photos & details until us. We gave it to the World for free & in the early days got some high prices, though as with any rare items, more do turn up. Some are still extra rare though.

BEWARE tiresome BS on ebay...
Sellers are 'creating' worthless variants in the hope of getting ££ for nothing! EMI gave the Contracted Pressing Company a later plate/master in their pressing run as only after a lot of sales on the Beatles 45s did they need some help. If Decca added their code, it'd be at 3 O'clock position with the matrix at the 6 O'clock position, not under the KT+xx. Look at a later run pressing & see we're right. Decca did actually add their own stamper info sometimes (at the 3 O'clock position), as others like Pye did, anyone noticed that yet? It is tiresome seeing half-assed amateurs making big of incorrect info, especially when one fool still thinks there are 1964 'Pye' contracts and quoting misinformation on that & hoping some fool will pay big for nothing! Be careful of 'experts', folks.

The "Progress" in the UK Beatles scene by 2013, despite very little interest now in Contract Pressings unless in Top Grade is now the inevitable endless label variants caused by tedious books. Apart from the very late 1969 pressings just before the Sold In UK text disappeared in c.April 1969, there is no interest in owning 50 variants of any record, as similar with Elvis 45s proved. There will always be obsessives who must have every variant, we have been coin dealers & know a detail you can only see with a 20x magnifier can sell a worn out Victorian penny worth 20p for £100 because you can just see a tiny variant. We do list Solid Centre & Pronged Centre on our listings and have noted no interest difference between either. Some collectors prefer Stock Copies to Demos, others like Pronged Centres on 1966-69 pressings if a solid one exists too. A particular typeface on the first copy you had of a 45 that you now know is the rarer version can have appeal too. Ultimately if Collectors do want these variants they will seek them out and pay no more than the general price. But looking through ebay & seeing the tiresome "Mega Rare" on some equally tiresome Beatles variant is exceedingly dull. For the fact some Beatles 45s sold a Million means there will be variants, most will be one or two basic types, as in 'She Loves You' still sold heavily into 1964 when designs changed, but the general idea is most buyers aren't interested & we certainly won't be bothering listing anything that's not of a more broad appeal or actually noticeably different!

Some, if not all the Beatles Parlophone Singles were repressed again & again. Reading ebay of late is very tiresome as it appears high prices are being paid for 'rubbish' collectables that are nothing special. The Sold In UK legend disappeared in July 1969 & the same on all EMI labels: R5787 is with, R5794 is without. There are several 1960s pressings documented well elsewhere & assume the 1963 singles sold well into 1964 & after that usually the first design is all you usually find, unless the release was amid a minor change as in PARL Co to GRAM Co on the label edge letters. There are limited amounts of Sold In UK 1969 pressings & 1969 pressings without the Sold in UK, then some 1971-72 "no EMI box" ones on a dark grey not true black with a curved vinyl edge, not the 1960s squared edge, then the common dark grey 1976 "EMI box" ones from 1976 in the Green PS. Then the 20 year Anniversary ones starting in 1982 & then early 1990s repressings sometimes on a late silver ink type label as was the style, all 1980s were in new Photo Picture Sleeves. You can be sure plenty of 1970s pressings are passed off as "Rare" when they aren't, as well as put into old sleeves. The 1972 era ones are around & like the later LPs & EPs are repressings of minimal value. Only the proper 1969 ones are worth a premium. What do they look like? Look at any 1969 Cilla Black or Cliff Richard 45 to see the style. The labels are deep black paper, not the slightly glossy dark grey 1970s ones. Beatles collectors are fanatical, but it seems doing the research before overspending isn't always the case.


Those TOP POP sleeves you see collector-dealers offering with Beatles Demos. Well the truth is these are late 1950s sleeves last used early 1962 pre Love Me Do! Note the 1950s styling, hardly very beat mod looking & never used on a 1965 Demo! These sleeves started c1958 & are generally pretty scarce as only used on all EMI group label demos at the time. If buying these sleeves, the Originals have been seen selling for £10 to £100 each. The "real" sleeve used for Demos was the standard stock one, there have certainly been a glut of 1964-1965 Demos to see the EMI came in the standard sleeves as the issues did. Decca demos from 1964-65 on their other labels, eg London, Vocalion, came in plain white sleeves that otherwise look like unprinted regular ones. Up to the buyer to decide and avoid overpaying for incorrect items.

were used on approx 1000-2000 pressings before they were replaced as worn out. Exact numbers depended on many factors naturally. A 1963 copy of the Beatles 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' still with the first label style has 'ARO' and 'APD' CODES, meaning 325th stamper on the A side and 350th on the B side (or is it 360th?). Either way, it shows over 300 stampers there was about 15% tolerance here. 1000-2000 pressings per stamper = 325,000 to 650,000 copies, though the higher seems more likely as the record sold a million very fast.

So-called "Pye" Beatles 1964 Parlophone are NOT made by PYE, but by ORIOLE. This tedious and long out-of-date confusion is from an amateur writing for "Record Collector" unaware they likely found an ORIOLE Contract Press of a 1965 KINKS 45 'Tired of waiting for you', which was found as the Oriole Contract press around the London area, and thinking that's what PYE look like without bothering to check more than just one record! Having not realised his was a Contract Pressing, compared it to a Beatles 45 that had similar characteristics. See KINKS PYE/Oriole Contract on the Other Contracts page. This is the trouble with 'experts', they don't do their research & their error is passed off as fact years later! The work needed to correct wrong 'expert' info is tiresome, but here 'tis.

You still see PYE CONTRACT on Beatles 45 to this day on ebay etc from the unaware. It still brings a smile (or a groan or a yell)... See the base of the page for PYE as varied Contract pressings.


Yes, EPs were done as Contract Presses as were LPs. EPs are extra rare as Beatles Contract presses & we saw one Decca one a long time ago. But October 2012 turns up a 100% PYE press EP! Parlophone GEP8946 with the "Golden Discs" label looked like a Decca from the picture, but PYE it is! There are still NO PYE CONTRACT 45s by The Beatles & saying this for 8 years hasn't turned one up. For those who care about Matrix info, we'll make an exception: it has EMI "5" stampers both side in the Mother codes area & added "1" and "A" in Pye format each side. The vinyl is thin like a mid 1965 Pye issue. See photos below. 100% guaranteed Pye pressing!
BEATLES 7" SINGLES CONTRACT PRESSINGS: The Possibilities (Parlophone/Apple only)

EMI only. Only on Red Labels

1963: EMI only, Red labels to c February 1963, Black labels after.
Contracts: 'She Loves You' by Decca (rare);
'I Want To Hold Your Hand'
Oriole (more usual), Decca (rarer).
These Contracts are early 1964 pressings by the label styles found.

1964: EMI pressings. Contract: Oriole 'Can't Buy Me Love'

1965: EMI pressings. Contracts: "Help!" on Decca (2 Variations of centre type). A Pye Contract EP of "Million Sellers" exists, see below. There is no Oriole Contract of "Help!" as one seller who links to this page thinks. EMI & Decca pressings only.

1966: EMI pressings only

1967: EMI pressings. Contract: "Hello, Goodbye" on Decca (fairly common)
and French Pathe 'Made In France'

1968 Parlophone: EMI pressings only. Odd looking 'DP' numbered ones are not UK product, if no country shown they are likely Singapore pressings.

1968 Apple: EMI pressings. Contract: Philips (more usual), Decca, Pye, CBS (these are all very rare & listed in rarity as noted by our findings, CBS being the rarest) 

1969: EMI pressings only. "Hey Jude" exists with an unusual later EMI pressing, still with 'Sold In UK' legend but with a ridged centre & an odd soft vinyl that wears badly. Same sort of vinyl is on the Hot Chocolate Band Apple 45 too.

After 1969, EMI pressings only until the early 1990s picture sleeve issues. These 1990s pressings have very flat vinyl with no serrated edge but have more modern looking labels to the 70s-80s repressings.

All Demos are EMI product. Beware of fake Beatles demos. Fake Demos or "Repro Demos" are simply a scanned original label glued onto a common issue copy. We see buyers paying £80-100 for these. They are absolutely of no value as just home made!


late 60s, earlier AAG CBS were made by PHILIPS group. UK CBS bought Oriole in late 1964 to get their pressing plant mainly, so CBS from 1966 still look pretty like Orioles. CBS generally did not do many contract pressings in the 60s. They can have textured or smooth labels. Knife edge vinyl, squashed looking serrated label edge. CBS mainly used push out centres, but by the later 60s solid centres were often used on bigger selling items, as with EMI, see below
same as LONDON, VOCALION etc. HELLO GOODBYE by THE BEATLES as DECCA is fairly common in terms of Beatles contracts. Centre cutouts usually have a wider gap, see below for a rare Decca variant we discovered, vinyl flat edged, ridge next to centre cut out on centre. Decca were always made with the Push Out centre in the 50s & 60s, though you do find unfinished untrimmed-edge test pressings with the centre prongs uncut, as well as solid centre Demos in the 50s, alternating between Tri & solid centre at random & even within the pair of 1 sided Demos even as we've found. Some 70s Decca have solid centres. There have been quite a few Solid Centre 1950s pressings especially on Gold London around, these are with rough unfinished edges & are reject or sample pressings someone trimmed with a pair of scissors to play it. We've seen some & if not worn out by bad stylus, they look strangely unreal, not like the proper item.


OUR 100% EXCLUSIVE!! Confirmed 14-10-2008 There is an ALTERNATE & PREVIOUSLY unknown DECCA press of a BEATLES 45 we've been able to positively identify & found a regular DECCA issue to match it with. We sold it on ebay on 10 Nov 2008 so we can now give the facts here & prove it's our exclusive, so parasites beware! THIS IS A DECCA PRESSING. This unusual sort of cut-out centre actually appeared first in 1960 with the round centre Decca pressings & has been spotted up to 1967 and as with anything, look for this type on usual Decca 45s & you'll find plenty. The vinyl is the same as a regular Decca press, it's just the centre cut-outs that have confused some. See our main Decca & London listings for many regular ones to compare to. Remember there are no Contract Pressings of any Decca product.

This is the one mistaken as a PYE press due to vague info in RC as KINKS Tired of waiting turns up as an ORIOLE press occasionally. Having (at last) found one again, we can see that Oriole recut the master making the vinyl 'all theirs', ie not using the Pye stampers so it shows Oriole type matrix lettering. Oriole custom pressed quite a few big EMI hits. The Beatles 1964 ones on Oriole are more 'common' than the Decca ones, by about 2x. Overall for the sales they still are only a small percentage.

Thicker vinyl with a knife edge and often a rough textured label, if not always by 1963. Oriole owned EMBASSY, a budget-priced cover-version 45s/EPs/LPs label sold by Woolworths shops, that ended the same time Oriole did when CBS (UK) bought it out on 21 Sept 1964. This explains why no further Oriole Beatles 45s exist. All Embassy were pressed by Oriole and no contracts of Oriole product exist.

EMI 45s from 1964 all had the 4 prong push-out centre
Oriole Records were generally Push Out Centres though 1960-62 ones can be found with Solid Centres as can Embassy ones. The 1964 Beatles Oriole pressings with Solid Centres are perhaps Factory Rejects as we assume EMI would have wanted Push Out Centres on it's Outsourced Pressings to match it's product. Or maybe just a batch that didn't get the cut-outs & nothing special at all. Naturally some sellers are trying to get ridiculous prices, ie £200-500 for a Solid Centre pressing, if you believe the bids are genuine. The Collector's World of Minutae once only in Coin Collecting is sadly getting into Records & means a tiny few will pay huge prices only realising Few Really Care about the Contract Pressings in The Real World, to get £40 for the 1964 Oriole & Deccas now is hard even for a Mint copy as they aren't as Rare as more turn up. The 1965 & Apple Contracts are Rarer to find. It's up to buyers how much of The Hype they believe, you need only look on ebay for mad prices, but think too they may not always be all they seem...

The Solid Centre Oriole Contracts
seem to be turning up quite often, supposed £200+ prices but as with the Contract scene the price gets more found & realised. It appears the Solid Centre ones are not as rare after all, beware overpaying folks! The push out centre Orioles barely sell for £40 for a Mint one thesedays (2013).

Oriole generally were all made with push out centres though a small minority with solid centres exist around 1962 for some reason. Demos of Oriole exist on the Black design with a silver 'A' on the centre being the only difference. By late 1964 the Demos were the more usual white with red 'A' type. As a note, Embassy records are finally becoming collectables with initial interest in the quality Bud Ashton instrumental covers, some were actually great versions in their own right, ie Move It, Rave On & Baby Please Don't Go. The later beat era 45s are particularly collectable and some versions are worthy of a listen in the idea of they are a rare but good cover version. Plenty Embassy covers were average at best, the funniest one is the 'Rocking Goose' cover, the backing band is good, but the 'goose' sounds like paper over a comb & is quite hilarious!

Typical late 60s 3 prong centre. Contract pressings were usually made with a small spindle centre, many Philips pressed standard labels 1967 on were made as large centre. 'Hey Jude' as Philips press turns up often on ebay as it's the easiest identifiable and is relatively common of type. The other 'Hey Jude' contracts are very rare. Thin vinyl with mildly raised vinyl edge.

These usually had push out centres. Some Philips c1962-65 had solid centres though this was not the norm, Starting in 1967 a cheaper pressing method using the USA style large centre hole began, these were originally sold with the skinny 3 prong adapter, not the jukebox operators thicker swirl one. This continued until about 1972 when the even cheaper (& easily snapped!) moulded labels began. These were based on European countries using this cheap pressing method from c.1968. A contract of Jethro Tull 'Living In The Past' hit is so far the only Contract we've seen with the big centre.

Philips was initially a Dutch electronics company founded in 1950 and in 1962 they became part of the Phonogram group with Deutsche Grammophon and later combined with Polydor as Polygram in the 1970s (?). As Philips is the label UK collectors are familiar with, so Philips is the easiest name to use.

They pressed many UK labels: Philips, Fontana, Polydor, Mercury (1964 on), CBS (to 1964), Track, Reaction & lots of smaller labels. If you see the typical line of stamped numbers in the matrix, the other way up on the curve of the dead wax area to eg Decca & EMI, then it's a Philips press. You even see Jamaican Studio 1 mid 60s that were mastered in the UK by them.

Generally 60s PYE presses are scarcer. The only BEATLES Pye press we've seen is this very rare 1968 one. And now a Pye 1965 press of an EP!

No BEATLES 45 on 1964 PARLOPHONE were ever pressed by PYE! Only flat-earthers still believe that together with Phrenology! See ORIOLE.

Amazingly some 'dealers' still state this obviously really an Oriole press is still Pye. Tiresome isn't it. Pye from 1964 era is a quite thin record unlike the thick ORIOLE vinyl. Many indies used PYE to contract press. A harder one to spot if you don't know UK vinyl, it has the centre ridge like a DECCA but the serrated edge matching will confirm. The record edge is rounded off unlike a Decca. Pye always have a small scratched number (usually 1) on the runout at the right when the matrix is at the bottom. They smell different to other vinyl too!

Pye were mostly pressed with push out centres, though we've seen as early as 1960 with a Lonnie Donegan with a solid centre. Through the 60s you find solid & push out centres used at random, the push out being used more for jukebox use. See below for 4 different types of 1964 Pye pressing, Pye itself & 3 other Contracts.

More Beatles Contract photos. First 3 are Oriole Contract, then French Contract and 5th is a Decca Contract.

The FROM ME TO YOU here is actually the FIRST PRESSING that experts haven't noticed, with different type & on matt paper. Watch them copy us!! Most copies are on the typical 'She Loves You' upper-lower Parl text, showing this style didn't last for long, maybe only a few months after the Red label was discontinued. It's not particularly rare, we've had half as many copies of it as the usual one, so don't think it's a big money oddity, sold an EX for £15 in 2010. As a note, Irish pressings of From Me To You still used the old Red design. Irish vinyl is generally pretty rare & mostly found in low grade.

if proof of Pye Beatles Parlophone being wrong is still needed...