Collector Background

Hello, my name is Stanley Panenka. The following is a little background about myself, and how this collection came to be.

I have lived in California for over forty years. I went to college in Sacramento and received a Masters degree in Computer Science at Sacramento State University.  I currently am retired after working twenty years as a Computer Programmer Analyst for the state of California.  

Like so many other Beatles fans, I have always considered myself to be THE “#1 Beatles Fan”.  I have loved The Beatles since I was a kid, and around 1987 I decided to seriously begin collecting Beatles records. Although many collectors jump at the opportunity to add a sought-after title to their collection, I would buy only Near Mint or better examples.  It’s very hard to sell me a record.  This is because when it comes to buying Beatles records, I am very meticulous in my pursuit of authenticity & quality, and very few dealers or collectors could ever satisfy my very high standards. (Just ask Perry Cox and John Tefteller!)  As my record collection grew, I continued to obtain what was considered by Beatles record experts as the very best quality records using my standards to the point where the collection now includes the finest known examples of many titles that WE (Perry Cox, John Tefteller and myself) known of.

It all first started when I heard the song, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” on the radio, back in December of 1963. (This will always be my favorite song!)  I told my mom then, that The Beatles would be the greatest, even better than Elvis!  A few years later in 1970, I was with some friends on a warm summer night.  We were sitting at the end of the pier at the Lakewood Lodge in Minnesota and we were taking turns telling each other what we thought we’d like to do when we “grew up”.  I remember saying that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or even if I wanted to grow up, but that I did know that I wanted to be THE #1 Beatles Fan of all time.
Sometime in the 80’s, the idea occurred to me that one way I could show the world my commitment to being THE “#1 Beatles Fan of all time”, was to assemble a collection of the finest examples of The Beatles records in existence and thus have The All-Time Best Beatles American Record Collection In The World!!

In 1988, I picked up a copy of Goldmine Magazine at a San Francisco record convention.  Through Goldmine I really got my start in collecting.  I bought a few good records and met some real good dealers.  I told the dealers what I was doing and that only the finest examples known would be considered for this collection.  Unlike most other record collectors, simply acquiring an example of the particular rare cover or disc to be placed in the collection was not acceptable.  Any record acquired for this collection had to be among the finest known examples of each title in the hobby and for the most rarest  and valuable records and picture sleeves that particular example had to be verifiably known as the best condition example known in the hobby and be at least in Near Mint condition.  The ultimate goal was to possess the finest known example of each Beatles record and picture sleeve made if possible and most importantly to have the best American Beatle record collection known to exist.

In 1990, I started to obtain what was verifiably considered to be the best quality example of each of the rarest and thus most valuable American Beatles records.  I found Beatles record dealers who were considered to be THE EXPERTS in the hobby and who had the connections and resources to provide me with these records and picture sleeves that I was looking for.  I told the dealers about my quest for only the finest examples of Beatles records that ever existed.   After having many conversations with these dealers I obtained information about which Beatles records and picture sleeves that were considered by them to be the rarest and thus most valuable and what condition was considered to be the absolute best condition example that they have ever seen or heard of for each one of them.  From these conversations I also discovered just how tough it truly was to acquire exquisite quality Beatles records from the 1960’s, especially when it comes to the rarest of the rare records and picture sleeves.  A collector could not just pick up a price guide and call all of the dealers and get their “shopping list” filled.  I accepted the challenge even though I thought at the time that this may take me a lifetime to achieve my lofty goal.  Since The Beatles came from the Top 40 Music era I decided to create a “TOP 40” list.  It makes the most sense using a “TOP 40” list than any other number because they came from the Music era of Top 40 Music.  From those conversations and using my first few years of Beatles record collecting knowledge I created my own “TOP 40” list of Beatles records and picture sleeves which I felt were the most rarest and valuable (some changed as the years went by).  During the first couple of years of dealing with them, they may have doubted my commitment to my standards.  They tested me several times and after I had rejected several “inferior condition” records, they then decided that I was for real!   Some of the first purchases I made from them is the finest example known by them of the Decca Commercial “My Bonnie” single and a factory sealed 4 By The Beatles EP on the Capitol label.  I also discovered that it was harder to find a Near Mint disc than it was to find an album cover in Near Mint condition.  Most dealers and collectors (90%) agree with this.  This is probably so because the discs were played to death (they didn’t last too long either due to the heavy needles back in the 1960’s) while the covers got little wear and tear because they usually rested on the shelves!

As time progressed, we began to appreciate the quality of our business relationship as much as the exquisite quality of records and picture sleeves that we were dealing with.  Through these dealers, I was able to acquire most of the rarest and thus most valuable Beatles records, including: the “THE BEATLES & FRANK IFIELD ON STAGE” Stereo album, “Can’t Buy Me Love” Picture Sleeve, and a Near Mint Hard Days Night PROMOTIONAL Album.  The records I have acquired from these dealers over the years are pretty much the foundation of this collection.

While these dealers have definitely been the most dependable sources on my long and winding road to assembling what we believe is The Finest Quality American Beatles Record Collection that is known to exist today, other opportunities have presented themselves along the way.  I’ve also acquired a number of exquisite quality records from both private collectors and auction houses such as the best examples known by us of the “Please, Please Me” DJ title sleeve and the Songs, Pictures And Stories stereo album.

Beginning in 1988, my goal was to put together a collection of the finest existing examples of all rare and important American Beatles records.  Ultimately, it would be recognized as being the finest quality American Beatles record collection known in the hobby!  In 1996, I acquired a few more very rare albums.  Upon acquisition of those extremely rare albums, these dealers said that I had succeeded in putting together “THE FINEST QUALITY AMERICAN BEATLES RECORD COLLECTION THAT IS KNOWN BY THEM IN THE HOBBY”, and I haven’t stopped yet!

Please remember the fact that there are several hundred records in pristine condition.  As stated above, many of the records that are from the Top 40 are considered to be the best known example of that title that we know of in the hobby! Please keep in mind that record price guides tend to reflect values on a conservative basis including my Beatles record price guide which just came out which contains up to date pricing information.  There are many times when a dealer will call one of their customers and sell a record that is in near mint condition for more than what the guide states that the value is for that record in near mint condition.  When I purchased many of these records I had to pay anywhere from two to four times price guide values.  This especially applies to the records and picture sleeves that are in my Top 40 list.  So don’t expect to go strictly by price guide values.  One should expect to pay a premium price for the ability to buy a collection that is all in one place and all in one time.  This saves years of time of putting a collection together one record at a time.  Please keep in mind that in our opinion, if you were to spend the time that it would take to accomplish this task that you still would NOT have a collection that is as good as mine is PERIOD.

There is an adage that I have always used for inspiration as the collection was coming together: “You can always make the money, but never the original Beatles records!”  I have always been willing to pay what it took to acquire a pristine example of a rare record knowing that I would probably never see that example again if I had passed on it.   If I did ever see that record again it would cost me a lot more money to acquire it.  And, time and time again, my confidence in the Beatles marketplace has been rewarded, as exquisite quality Beatles records and picture sleeves continue to escalate in value!

My name (and likeness) and pictures of many of the records from this collection have appeared in many Beatles books such as the book Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles Records on Vee-Jay published by Bruce Spizer and Beatles price guides.

For many years I kept a very low profileA few years ago I decided to shed my low profile.  Once I did this many record collectors and dealers discovered just who I was (I AM “THE COLLECTOR” WHO WAS BUYING UP ONLY THE BEST EXAMPLES KNOWN TO EXIST SINCE 1990’S) AND JUST HOW FAB THIS TRULY AMAZING BEST ONE OF A KIND BEATLES RECORD COLLECTION REALLY IS!  These collectors and dealers told me that through the years they had heard stories about someone who lived on the West Coast who was amassing an incredible Beatles record collection by buying only the best known condition examples of American Beatles records and picture sleeves that they and anyone else who they knew existed.  Now, I am recognized in the World of Record Collecting as being an expert in Beatles record collecting and owning THE FINEST QUALITY American Beatles Record Collection that is known to exist!  I have been on CBS television, radio, VH1 and there were featured articles about my record collection that appeared in Goldmine magazine (which is best printed source of news in the record collecting world) as well as other magazines.  I had a representative appear for me at the Las Vegas Beatlesfest record show in July 2007.  I heard from many sources that my Beatles record collection caused “QUITE A BUZZ” at the show.  VH1 came to the show to film some of the records from my collection and then they broadcast it over their station.

I bought THE ABSOLUTE BEST QUALITY BEATLES RECORDS from private collectors, dealers and auction houses!!!!  I WAS NEVER AFRAID TO SPEND WHAT IT TOOK TO OBTAIN THE ABSOLUTE VERY BEST EXAMPLE OF EACH BEATLES RECORD AND PICTURE SLEEVE!!!!  If there was a better example that someone knew of I passed and waited until that particular example came on the market.  For example, if there were only two known examples of a particular record I would ONLY BUY the best example of the two records or if the best example was not in Near Mint or better condition I would pass on both examples!!  I did not want to compromise the quality of my collection for even one record!  That is simply why I do not have all of the records and picture sleeves which I consider to be in the “TOP 40” at this point in time.

The ONLY REASON why I would sell THE world’s best Beatles Record Collection is to enable me to purchase THE “Dream Home” for my dear mom, who is 90 years old.  SHE IS THE BEST MOM IN THE WORLD AND SHE DESERVES IT!

Thinking back on that summer night on the pier in ’70 and our wishes for the future, I’d have to say that I DID IT!  Nobody can and will ever take that away from me…