Black & Gold Parlophone Label - 1963
In general, the 1st and 2nd pressings have the Black & Gold Parlophone label. The 3rd, 4th, 5th (1964), 6th (1965) and 7th (1968) pressings have the Yellow & Black Parlophone label. The later re-pressings from 1969 have Black & Silver labels with the EMI boxed logo.
So, if you are being presented with a Yellow & Black Parlophone label, and the seller is telling you it's a 1st pressing, you can politely correct them. It could indeed be a very "early" 3rd or 4th pressing, for example, as denoted by the stamper matrix numbers (don't worry this will be covered in a leter post), but it certainly won't be a first pressing.
The best place to start is with what is generally considered to be the Holy Grail of Beatles vinyl: The first album 'Please Please Me' with the Black & Gold Parlophone label in Stereo.
In mint condition, this item (in STEREO) will range in value from around £3,000 to £10,000 depending on condition and rarity. The MONO version follows closely behind at around £750 upwards. There are several various versions of Please Please Me which I will get to, but this will hopefully serve as an introduction.
Now if it's your lucky day and you happen to see a 'Black & Gold' label Please Please Me (in any condition) at a car boot sale or in a second hand shop (unlikely), my advice would be to buy it immediately and without hesitation. They are scarce and becoming harder to find every day which makes them an appreciating investment set to rise year on year into the future. Pretty obvious really, as one thing is certain: they definitely won't increase in quantity.
Please Please Me was released in the UK on 22nd March, 1963. The main difference between the 1st and 2nd pressings is the music publishing credits. The more sought after 1st pressings have the Dick James Music Co. Publishing credits and generally achieve a higher price than the 2nd pressings with Northern Songs credits.
Please Please Me (1963) - PCS 3042 - STEREO
Notice the rim text begins with "The Parlophone Co Ltd.." Also, the early First Pressings have Dick James Mus. Co. credits.
Please Please Me (1963) - PMC 1202 - MONO
Note the embossed MT Tax stamp in the centre near the spindle hole.
This next label pic clearly shows the difference between the Black & Gold and Yellow & Black Parlophone labels. They are two completely different designs. Notice there is still no date shown on the 3rd press label. This lack of date is an important distinction between the 3rd and 4th pressings, as we will see.
Please Please Me (1963) - PMC 1202 - MONO - Third Pressings
SIXTH PRESSING - YELLOW & BLACK PARLOPHONE (1965)
Here we see (in the label pic below) some differences in the label text on the later 6th Pressing Yellow & Black. Most notably, we now have "THE GRAMOPHONE CO LTD..." rim text and also the "SOLD IN UK..." text. (Note: All previous pressings from 1st to 5th all have "The Parlophone Co.. rim text)
Please Please Me (1963) - PMC 1202 - MONO - Sixth Pressing 1965