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Rolling Stones, The/Exile on Main street The Stones

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I picked up a excellent copy of Exile in a $1 bin today .The vinyl & sleeves were like they hadn't even taken them out of the cover . The cover had been pinned up on all 4 corners and was clean and crisp I paid $30 last year for a first pressing from a friend of my sons at a good ol boy discount , it was for my son. How can I tell if this is a fist pressing . His friend is no longer with us or I could check with him. Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.

Answer
Hello and thank you for your question.

With regard to U.S. pressings of Exile on Main Street, the easiest way to distinguish a first pressing from all subsequent non-contemporary pressings is to look at the design of the cover.  Only the first pressing had what's known as a 'unipak' design.  This means that the cover opens like a book, but has a pocket which is open at the center.  Essentially, the two discs and thick inner sleeves are in a pocket which is closed by a thin cardstock flap.  All subsequent pressings in the 1970s and '80s had a standard gatefold cover where each disc had its own pocket and both opened on the right side.

In other words, take a look at the cover while it is closed.  If you can pull out the discs (with or without the inner sleeves) without opening the cover like a book, it's a later pressing.  If you need to open the cover like a book to have access to a pocket where the discs are, then it's a first pressing.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask.

Rolling Stones, The

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I'm here to assist in answering any of your questions related to The Rolling Stones. My expertise is in official vinyl record albums, and this includes pressings from everywhere on earth in which Stones record albums were produced (including Chile, Iran, Zimbabwe, and Colombia to name a few) both officially and otherwise. However, I have expansive knowledge in all areas of collecting. Guided by a personal collection and database featuring recordings from every country and in all formats, tour books, tickets, handbills, posters, clippings, autographs, books, photos, and all forms of promotional material, I can offer comprehensive access to information about The Rolling Stones. With regard to my particular expertise of vinyl record albums, feel free to request information about any aspect from basic identification to thorough evaluation. Country of origin, date of release, approximate valuation, matrix information, stampers, mothers, codes, re-issues, alternate pressings, alternate takes, best press sources, alternate sources of particular songs, and whatever else for both covers and discs. Answers are honest, legitimate, and are most often based on information gathered from my own collection and direct experience. Though I specialize in LPs, please note that my knowledge extends to singles and EPs. Expect no plagiarism and no fabricated facts to cover-up lack of knowledge. If I don't have the answer for you, I'll give you another source to review or offer a quote with proper credit.

Experience

Over 25 years collecting Rolling Stones items from around the world. I own many variations of album covers and discs, several of which are otherwise unidentified in all other sources. My public online articles, reviews, and overviews have been quoted and otherwise referenced in countless websites (including this one by other 'experts').

Publications
Rolling Stone (letter), Reader's Digest (quoted information), Exclaim! (quoted information), Boston Globe (quoted information), Boston.com (website review in 2002).

Education/Credentials
The best record-collecting education you can get is by talking with people from all walks of life. Listening and sharing. I live for it.

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