British Imperial Values

this page first published by John Wright, 3 Dec 1997
last update 14 Mar

Note: values quoted are typical prices paid at a record fair stall where the stall-holder knows the demand for music and records.

A frequently found record label in a 78rpm collection, Imperial is a favourite record label with collectors of hot American dance bands of the 1920's.
The first Imperial records appeared in 1920 as a bright blue label with gold printing. In 1923 American recordings began to appear on Imperial, drawn from the Banner records, including jazz and dance bands. In 1926 the label changed to violet and mauve, then from 1930 the label changed to darkblue and scarlet. The Imperial label disappeared in 1934. Many hot dance band records were issued under pseudonyms like Imperial Dance Orchestra, Hollywood Dance Orchestra. Most Imperial records are worth 2.00 or less, but there are many excellent recordings to be found.
For example:

(Slide the frame left in order to see the table better)

Cat. No.Band or
1420Fletcher Henderson
192520.00American jazz
featuring a young
Louis Armstrong
1578Irving Kaufman19251.00popular tunes of
the day
1741Sam Lanin and his
19262.00pleasant American
dance band titles
1800Imperial Dance
19272.00a pseudonym used for
many American bands,
these titles are by
Adrian Schubert
Dance Orchestra
1820Crichton Lyricals
at the Cafe de Paris
19275.00very good British
dance band (Syd Roy)
1972Jay Whidden and
his Band
19282.00good band but dull
2363Lou Gold and his
19302.00pleasant American
dance titles
2381Elsie Carlisle19304.00popular British female
2559Jay Wilbur and
his Band
19312.00popular British
studio band
2694Jack Payne and
his Band
19322.00popular British band

These records are only examples of what kind of values are put on some of Imperial's popular vocal and dance records. There will be some records by the same artistes worth more or less, depends on the quality of the music and on how many copies of the records were sold.

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