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What Is An 'Uncut' Picture Disc?

What Is An 'Uncut' Picture Disc?

Tom |

An ‘uncut’ picture disc, simply put, is a shaped vinyl record that has not had its outer lacquer trimmed, meaning it still retains its original, circular shape. These uncut records were not intended for public circulation, and so in many cases, can demand a much higher price when found on the secondary market.

Why do uncut picture discs exist in the first place?

Well, the short answer is that they are normally created in order to carry out certain quality assurance checks (like image alignment, for example) before the finalised design goes into mass production. When a shaped record's final design was confirmed, these test pressings were destroyed in a controlled environment - meaning acquiring them on the open market can be considered a pretty rare occurrence. 

In some cases, these test pressings will actually feature no playable music on them whatsoever, as they were printed purely to test other aspects of the record's design. 

In other cases though, uncut pressings can resemble a near-complete product with fully playable tracks and complete artwork design and alignment. 

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson's 1988 release of 'Man in the Mirror' as an uncut, square picture disc. This particular version is an example of an incredibly rare and valuable uncut record.

So, how valuable are uncut picture discs?

Well, it depends on which record you have - but generally speaking, they can be worth a fair amount. For example, Michael Jackson's 1988 release of ‘Man In the Mirror’ was released as a square picture disc upon its initial release in the UK, however, an unknown amount of uncut test-pressings made their way onto the open market shortly afterwards - with most recent sales coming in at around the £750 mark!


Another example of a highly sought-after uncut picture disc would be that of Guns N' Roses' Paradise City. This particular release was crafted to resemble a pistol, with the final release being cut down to accommodate the intricate details of its perimeter. The uncut version, however, maintains its completely circular lacquer, with estimates pricing it at around £250 in playable condition.

Gun's N' Roses' Paradise City in its cut and released state.  Uncut copies of this record can potentially sell for hundreds of pounds!

What other records are known to have uncut pressings?

Gary Numan | Gary Numan's 'Berserker' as an uncut, shaped record

The following list is not in any particular order…

  1. Gary Numan: Numan's 1984 release of ‘Berserker’ was released as a 12" shaped picture disc, with uncut versions fetching hundreds of pounds on second-hand auction sites.


  2. Whitesnake: Taken from their 1989 album ‘Slip Of the Tongue’, the single ‘Now You’re Gone' was released as a shaped picture disc featuring David Coverdale in profile. This version is a little less expensive, however, with playable versions selling recently for between £50 and £70.


  3. Kate Bush: This shaped picture disc plays an interview that Kate Bush recorded immediately after the ‘Hounds of Love’ album release in 1985. Playable, uncut versions are uncommon and normally sell around the £50 mark. 


  4. Madonna: Madonna had several picture disc releases during her career, which in turn meant that a larger-than-normal quantity of uncut versions became inexplicably available on the second-hand market. Many of these releases will sell for around £100. 


  5. Aerosmith:  A few variants of Aerosmith's band logo were released as shaped picture discs that played hits such as ‘Dude (looks like a lady)’, and ‘Janie's Got a Gun’. Uncut releases of these have sold recently from anywhere between £100 and £200. 



Do you own an uncut picture disc record? Have you ever seen any of the records featured in this blog for sale? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

1 comment

Hello nice side and a lot of Infos about uncut shapes. If anyone needs pictures of uncuts maybe i can help. I have about 400. Also i am still searching. If you want to sell something i would be happy for contact. Best wishes Michael.


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