Hank Mobley BN1568 (1957)

Track Selection:Mighty Moe and Joe”


Bill Hardman (tp) Curtis Porter (“Shafi Hadi”) (as, ts) Hank Mobley (ts) Sonny Clark (p) Paul Chambers (b) Art Taylor (d) Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, June 23, 1957


A better than average bop outing, graced with Sonny Clark and Bill Hardman, and Curtis Porter (Shafi Hadi in his Muslim name, best known for his contributions to Mingus recordings in the Fifties ). What is probably the most iconic cover in the entire Blue Note catalogue. Once seen, unforgettable.

Vinyl: Toshiba-EMI Japan

(No no, I am not the lucky owner of an original copy!! I have a Japanese press! )The legendary BN 1568 – a legend for the extraordinary price it commands, based on the small number of copies pressed in 1957. Collectors speak of little else – somewhere around only five hundred to one thousand copies pressed, numbers coming to market in near mint condition today, can’t be more than a few dozen.

The original near mint pressing below sold last week for $4,600 –  over $100 a recorded minute – maintaining its status as one of the rarest and most collectible Blue Notes in existence. There must be many serious collectors out there with this little gap at 1568 in their collections.

My copy is, of course, not an original, but a mere Japanese pressing by Toshiba EMI from the 1980s. It sounds very good, but how it compares with the original is anybodys guess.I for one will certainly never know.

Collectors Corner

The recent eBay sale of 1568 prompted me to take my copy from the shelf and remind myself what this is all about. It is a good bop outing with some very good players, and I love Mobley’s tone on this recording especially, but is it worth $4,600? It certainly is to some collectors, to judge from the auction report on this item.

A little Excel graphics magic tells the story from eBays close of auction report:

Auction timeline reconstruction from eBay bid data

As usual a few optimistic rookies at the start. Seventeen bidders in total, mostly with a score of 100 to 300 eBay purchases (=”collectors” rather than professional dealers), of whom ten were realistic bidders. In reality this was only really a fight between two bidders, both of whom bid only in the closing two minutes, although a third laid down his challenge at $2,700 on Day 1.

Over the ten days of the auction, which attracted a lot of watchers no doubt, the price was confounded by bidders trying to probe where the reserve had been placed, which I would guess from the flurry of bids a day before close, was at around $3,500. The seller was taking no chances.

With 24 hours still to run there were just four premier league bidders playing in the game.  The  bidder destined to be placed second pitched his snipe at $4,500 – a guess which in the event didn’t pay off, as the final winner was prepared to go higher, to probably around $5,000. Ebay auctions can be a great armchair spectator sport, and from time to time auctions like this can be quite exciting – viewed from a safe distance.

I bet that winner is very very  excited, waiting for the postman to call. That must be a very special feeling. I sure hope he likes the music.

13 thoughts on “Hank Mobley BN1568 (1957)

  1. I just ordered a 33 copy of Hank Mobley 1568 from music matters jazz. I do own several of the 45 titles and I like the sound very much , however I must admit that changing sides every 7 to 10 minutes is a pain .
    Does anyone out there have one yet?

  2. I recently found an original of this for 20 dollars. It is not NY23 but whatever. It has some writing on the label and is visually VG but plays beautifully! I could not believe it

  3. oh oh, lazy summer Sunday: when LJC was getting over 850,000 page view I suggested Andrew to present the millionaire reader with a mint copy of 1568, so, as the million is reached:
    happy million Andrew, thanks for your/our daily pleasure in Jazz exploring.

  4. Finally grabbed a reasonably priced Japanese mono pressing (marked 1981 on the LP label) in NM condition and giving it a spin for the first time. I must say, the sound is really quite good. In fact, I like it better than my stereo Liberty pressing of Roll Call in fact (although I suspect that is end of stamper).

    A very good session that sounds traditional and classy. The tempo of the songs is just right, not too fast and not too slow. Reminds me of a toned down Soul Station just without quite as much, well, soul.

    All in all very happy. And I much prefer spending around $46 as opposed to $4600!

  5. Scary – it’s like the most expensive records are not about the music anymore. They are more like ART-objects. You can listen to the music for a very modest sum of money online and/or plastic and in “good enough” quality too. I’m quite happy with my BN Works Toshiba CD (in stereo too 😉

    The LP will most likely never be in my possession unless anything remarkable happens to my finances. At least I’ve hold an original at a fellow collectors house in Sweden. It was just a record after all 😉

    • There’s the thing – these rare original pressings are also “antiques”, as well as “containers of music”, and so attract antique-collectors, especially those for who the rare items is often a gap in their collection. Many of us “collected” things as kids, seems not everyone grows out of it.

      For all of modern science and technology they don’t seem to be able to make them sound as good. I’m told a lot of these high-end collectors never play them. They were made to be played. It’s like owning a painting and never looking at it. That I call a waste.

      • Meant to be played. I agree and play all my records and take care of them.

        But what if you “downplay” your $4000 M- LP to a VG+ or heaven forbid drop it and make a substantial scratch or your kids play frisbee with it. I’ve heard stories about that. Ouch!

        About the sound quality – I think you’ll be as well off with a king pressing or a Music Matters. Your original copy would also have to be very minty to sound it’s best but a king is of course not “magic” in the same way as an original.

        Personally I think the search for originals sometimes go to far. A second pressing can be very very good as to the point that it is the condition of the record more than the pressing that dictates the sound. So many pressings from the fifties are in quite bad condition and were played with the wrong needles and pressure etc.

        I suspect that the value of second and third pressings will go up in time.

  6. Ah… The proverbial 1568. No Japanese pressing here: I have the Scorpio reissue. Laughed at for their bad quality pressings, I still have to say that I thoroughly enjoy their version of 1568. And as said before: it’s in stereo, too! 😉

  7. I’ve never seen a bad Mobley record cover… in fact they’re all pretty fantastic. The designers must have really liked him!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s