Lot #: 144359

Asking Price: $39,999.00

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THE HOLY GRAIL OF ISRAELI VINYL RECORDS - original "CHURCHILL'S" ALBUM **TEST PRESSING/PROMO** LP; 1st Israeli "Hed-Arzi" 1969 pressing, BAN #14106 catalogue number + unique matrix

This is an original test press / promotional copy of the first pressing of the 1969 first full length, 10-track, album (and only one) recorded by "Churchill's" (also known as "The Churchills"). The cover/jacket is the original two-piece laminated type with the cover portion's taped pink edge fastened to the back board; a person's nickname "Yozi" is written in black cursive Hebrew marker on the back.

The cover is seller-graded as VG; the white record sleeve is not original and it's possible that these were not issued with the actual record (and that the record was manufactured without accompanying jacket or sleeve) on account of its own condition, physically appearing as EX+.

The record bears Hed Arzi's ("National Airwave") mute promo labels on the front and back side, imprinted in English and in Hebrew "SAMPLE | PROMOTION ONLY | NOT FOR SALE": the first side (6 tracks) bears the handwritten word "TEST #1" in English, in faint thin orange-pink marker; on the second side the label bears the band's name written in Hebrew in black-dark blue thin marker, here written as "HaCherchelim" (הצרצרלים) as the band was known in Israel, rather than as a transliteration of the English to "HaCherchils" ('The Churchills').

The etched and stamped matrix numbers on the run-off groove are unique to this promotional copy - the A side matrix reads from left to right: the block/capital Hebrew letters "Alef Yud" (or possibly "Alef 1") in a circle, the stamped number "2023", and the etched sequence "EBS 1031 A S", and the cursive Hebrew letters "Kuf Vav" ("קו") - possibly for the word "kav", meaning "line"; on the B side the matrix reads from left to right: the etched sequence "EBS 1031 B S", "Alef Yud" in circle, and the stamped number "2124". The letters "Alef" and "Yud" are likely the abbreviation for "Eretz Israel" (Land of Israel), as these letters usually mean; in the years up to the 1980s Israeli produced merchandise was often labelled in Hebrew "Totzeret Haaretz" (Produce of the Land), and these circled initials may mean the same.

On the publicly sold 1st pressing of this album the matricies are - MATRIX SIDE 1: EBS1031 A II 1p (also reported as EBS 1031A II 2123) / MATRIX SIDE 2: 2124 O Ip 1031B SII (also reported as 1031B SII 2124). As the A Side is marked "Test #1" and bears a unique imprinted number (2023) and the B Side bears the band's name with the same stamped number as on the copies sold to the public (2124), it may be that Side A is the test press while Side B is the completed, approved pressing.

This album is widely considered the rarest Israeli vinyl record, and also highly sought-after worldwide with a regular 1st pressing reportedly selling for $6000 according to discogs.com. The original 1st pressing numbered about 1000 copies, according to the recollections of lead singer Robb Huxley. The album was a commercial failure at the time, selling only a few hundred copies, but very influential locally and internationally. Here, beyond being a promotional copy of this rare album, in this period (1969) there were only 3 Hebrew radio stations in Israel (Reshet Alef and Bet of the "Voice of Israel" national broadcasting authority, and Army Radio of the military) - as such there may only have been another one or individual promotional copies produced for what was in any case a very small production.

Of discographic note the green-yellow Hed Arzi label on this record is of the type that was in use in this period; in the 1970s a different single column form version, in yellow on yellow, with the additional Hebrew imprint "FOR BROADCASTERS ONLY", came in to use.

The company's cataloguing numbers, from 1956, had begun with the letters "AN" (for the Hebrew words "Arich-Nagan", translating to "Long Play" - LP): in 1968 Hed Arzi received new recording equipment to cut records in Stereo, and for the occasion it created a new cataloguing number starting with the letters "BAN" and series number "14000" - "BAN 14000", although in practice the initial records were still recoded in Mono until BAN 14034, the first Stereo recorded record (Martin Moskowitch & Orchestra's "Surprise Party 'Israel'") from Hed Arzi. The significance of the "B" in the cataloguing system is presently unknown but the company created various 3-letter initialled series numbers for different types of records, using the root "AN". This information comes from the Hebrew website stereo-ve-mono.com by Yehuda Or.