Don't Peel Your Butcher Covers!

Back in 1966 the album Yesterday And Today was conceived. The Beatles wanted to submit artwork from their Paperback Writer project for this Capitol Lp. According to the contract they had with Capitol Records, Capitol retained the rights to the U.S. cover designs but they insisted Capitol use the Butcher Cover design for this Lp. The one they submitted was the Butcher Cover. Capitol ran a limited number of this artwork and sent it out for evaluation. The reaction was objectionable and this artwork badly received.

The Beatles quickly had another photo taken (the steamer trunk photo seen at the top of this page) and this one was made into a "slick" and pasted over the Butcher Cover design, shrink wrapped and distributed to the retailers. When people found out about this they preceded to peel them off to see the Butcher cover underneath. Depending on the amount and location of the glue some were very successful in taking the trunk cover off in one piece but many were NOT successful and basically ruined the cover.

From then until now people are still fascinated by the Butcher and are still determined to peel off the covers. In this modern era where the glue has aged and hardened even further, it's strongly recommended that collector's have the peel job professionally performed. In fact, it's only recommended that they only peel them in the cases where the trunk cover has excessive wear. All nice paste-overs should be left alone in their pure state.

There was a limited pressing of this Butcher design with the paste-over covers. After 30 years of people pulling them off the numbers of original paste overs are seriously dwindling making the paste-overs more sought after then the peeled versions. For instance, a near-mint mono pasteover will bring around $700-$800 but one of equal quality that's been peeled off will bring you $600-$700. And as time goes by the pasted over versions will go up in price more quickly because of their scarcity.

If you want to see the butcher cover, find a photo of one or maybe buy an "previously peeled" Lp. Or if your paste-over cover jacket is trashed, go for it. Nothing to lose.

...or, just in case... how to PEEL a paste-over Butcher.

One first has to realize that there are 6 (six) separate incarnations
of the Butcher. These are:
1. First State (never been covered) stereo
2. First State (never been covered) mono
3. Paste Over (second state unpeeled) stereo
4. Paste Over (second state unpeeled) mono
5. Peeled State (third state) stereo
6. Peeled State (third state) mono

Before any attempt is made to peel a butcher cover, one must first
determine the exact condition of the cover to be peeled.

Under a bright light look for any stains on the cover that are the
result of a liquid spilling on it. If you attempt to peel a butcher
that has had water, coffee, etc,etc spilled on it you will ruin the
cover. The butcher slick will come right up with the glue. DO NOT

Check the number on the back lower left on the back cover. You should
see one of the following:

1 or 2 - (pressed in Jacksonville, IL) 5 or 6 - (pressed in L.A.)
12 or 13 - (pressed in Scranton, PA)

Covers with numbers 1,2,5 and 6 use an alcohol soluble glue. Numbers
12 and 13 used a different glue that alcohol will not work on. These
covers must be peeled using saliva (it's the only solvent that I have
found that removes the glue from #12 & 13 covers). The actual method
used to peel covers is the same for all covers, it's just that #12 &
13 covers require saliva instead of isopropyl alchohol. NOTE: The
solvent used (alcohol or saliva) must be applied SPARINGLY! Too
much alcohol can leave the cover with a pink tint. Use a LITTLE AT A
TIME. A syringe with a 26gauge by 1 1/2" needle is a good dispenser
for alcohol. To use saliva, just keep your fingertip wet with it (more
on this later).

Now you are ready to start. The first thing to do is to get as much of
the `Trunk' cover off as possible (but not too much) until you can see
the Butcher slick through the white paper and glue covering it. It's
important to leave a good layer of paper fiber over the glue as this
provides a backing that the glue will adhere to while you are peeling.
For this step you will need a roll of 2" masking tape. Tear off an 8"
strip of masking tape and apply it to the CENTER of the `Trunk' cover
pressing it down firmly. Next, gingerly lift off the masking tape -
the `Trunk' cover will come up with the masking tape. Continue to do
this until all of the trunk cover is removed. NOTE: Be careful not to
get masking tape on any part of the cover except the
trunk portion as this will remove parts of the cover that you want to
keep (e.g. the `File Under: The Beatles' or the `ST 2553' number that
have been pasted over). Again, be careful not to take too much of the
`Trunk' paper off, leave a good backing for the glue to stick to.

Now comes the fun part. Remember, the glue is over 20 years old and
it's pretty crusty and hard. Don't attempt to peel more than 1 square
inch at a time. Starting in the upper left gray area, apply enough
alcohol or saliva to cover about 1 square inch. Saliva is applied
using the finger tip. Let the solvent soak in for about 1 minute so as
to soften up the glue.

Next, use your fingernail to LIGHTLY scrape the paper backing and
glue. Be careful at first to see how far down the Butcher slick is.
DON'T GO TOO FAR. If the Butcher starts to come up or if you see a
`nick' starting to form STOP IMMEDIATELY and move on to a different
part of the cover letting the trouble spot dry completely. You can
come back to it later. Nicks of this kind are usually caused by too
much solvent.

Continue in this fashion peeling 1 square inch at a time until the
cover is completely peeled.

If you do happen to get a nick in the cover, it can usually be taken
care of by LIGHTLY applying a #3 pencil to it (if the nick is in the
gray area) or whatever color you need to cover the nick. There's
something to be said for restoring nicked Butchers like this. It
covers up the ugly nicks and produces an over all better looking peel
job which can up the price and make it more valuable.

This method can be used to `clean' up Butchers that have an excessive
amount of glue on them from a previous attempt at peeling. Since there
is little or no paper backing from the `Trunk' cover for the glue to
stick to on these covers, you must take EXTRA CARE not to nick the
cover. Cleaning a Butcher after it's been peeled requires more care
than peeling from scratch, so BE CAREFUL.

If you do use alcohol and your cover looks like it's starting to get a
pink tint, try using saliva (as far as I can tell, saliva won't turn
the cover pink). Don't worry, the pink tint usually fades with time
(unless you've saturated the cover and left it to sit, but you
wouldn't do that, now would you?).

(BTW - store the record separately from the cover. If you store the
record in the cover, the seams will tend to split with the passage of

1 comment:

jonking said...

I've peeled two second-state stereo LPs, which I guess makes them third-state, is that right? I peeled 'em both within 24 hours ... of release, in 1966. The corner record shop near my house in L.A. had a shipment of the new Beatles LP with the pasted-over covers ... that was how they got them from their supplier. And since the "controversy" over the butcher photo was already red-hot, I knew by the day of release that I wanted that original cover in my collection, not the slapped-on substitute. So I bought the Capitol LP with the slapped-on substitute, paid for with my hard-earned $4, took it home, put the LP on the turntable, and set about ruining both covers -- the top 'new' one and the underlying butcher cover -- by applying too much warm/hot water too quickly. (Who knew? It's not like there was an FAQ on album-cover-removal techniques I could have consulted...) Disconsolate, I somehow scrounged up another $4 -- and hey, this was not easy -- and went down and bought another LP from the corner store. I was pretty patient with that one when I got it home, though I did hit some bumps, with results you can still see today. It's by no means a perfect peel, but the cardboard and colors are still fresh, and I get a kick out of it still. Sometimes I wonder if I'd have done much better if I'd gone down a third time and paid another $4? But then I hear my mother's voice: "Using what for money?"