Guns N Roses Album Awards

Presentation Awards

In this guide, I give an issue date, release location, and a monetary value of what an item is worth to a collector.  This value only applies to an item that is in perfect mint condition, i.e., it has to be factory sealed.  Please refer to my Evaluation Guide for more information.

Record company award discs started their life as 'Gold Discs' with the first of these awarded by RCA to Glenn Miller in February 1942, celebrating 1,200,000 sales of Chattanooga Choo Choo. Most countries have followed the original RIAA 'Gold Disc' certification which was pioneered and trademarked in the USA.

Typically presented to a number of recipients starting with band members & family, management and then to key record company staff who it was felt contributed to the success of the release or the band. They are also given to a small number of high profile radio stations, DJ's and shops whose efforts increased the profile of the band. There are a number of different types of award discs with the most hard to find being those certified by the Record Companies official body in each country, for example in the UK it is the BPI, USA have the RIAA , Canada CRIA, France SNEP these being just a few of those we have come across. These most typically, are presented to band members, management and national radio stations. The second type of award are 'In House' awards which are produced by the record company in slightly larger numbers to thank industry 'workers' and general media.

All presented in very small quantities to commemorate the number of records sold, with UK BPI as an example classifying Gold as 200,000 copies, Platinum as 300,000 and Silver as 100,000 with differing levels for singles sold, which again differs from country to country.  In the US, the RIAA distributes Gold for 500,000 copies, Platinum for 1,000,000+, and Diamond for 10,000,000+.

In 2004, the RIAA amended its 45-year-old Gold and Platinum award program, launching the Digital Sales award. Developed to recognize the significant sales of the burgeoning digital music market, 45 titles were included in the initial group of certifications, encompassing tracks from each major recording company and representing nearly every genre in music.

In 2006, the RIAA added a Digital Ringtone Award, recognizing the success of Mobile Mastertones. The new award was announced in partnership with CTIA—The Wireless Association, and Billboard.

The Gold and Platinum awards have undergone many design changes since their beginnings in 1964. Whether they be plain wood and white or fine lead crystal, the awards have become true collector's items.  The actual awards themselves are constructed from a variety of materials which historically were for LP sales but have increasingly been replaced by CD awards. All tend to feature sleeve artwork reproductions with the disc mounted on a colored felt background above a dedication plaque, with layout varying in the case of landmark sales such as 4xPlatinum for 4 million copies sold. There is no set rule of thumb though as far as design goes, and some labels in far flung countries are inclined to be rather creative.

"White Matte" (start of program-1975) The plaques were an off-white linen material displayed in an unpainted, finished wood frame. The dedication on the plate was engraved with an etched RIAA seal and a mini-cover of the LP was mounted separately from the plate.

"Floater" (1975-1981) The award background was usually black matte enclosed in a wood frame painted either gold or white. The disc and plate appeared to "float" between the background and a layer of Plexiglass. The mini-cover of the LP was mounted separately from the presentation plate.

"Strip-Plate" (1982-1984) The award background was dark. Unlike previous awards, the mini-cover of the LP was included on the presentation strip plate. These awards were also the first to contain either a gold- or silver-plated cassette, acknowledging the increasing contribution of cassette tapes toward sales. The cassettes were located either directly beneath the album disc or on the LP itself.

"Hologram" (1985 to present) An RIAA holographic seal incorporating the RIAA logo has appeared on all RIAA plaques since March 1985. The hologram is used to prevent unauthorized duplication of awards, and usually appears on the presentation plate along with the dedication and mini-album cover.

Protecting the use of the Gold and Platinum marks is essential to maintaining the integrity of the program. In 1997, the RIAA developed a new hologram to combat the increasing number of counterfeit awards. These security-enhanced seals feature sequential numbering and are embedded with covert anti-counterfeiting information. (These numbers do not correspond to any limited editions or manufacturing for any particular award and should not be perceived as holding added value.) After the hologram style of awards was introduced, the traditional size and style restrictions for awards were relaxed, giving record companies more freedom in choosing a design for a particular award. Customized awards and impressive designs, which now include the CD configuration, are a collaborative effort on the part of the record label and the licensed plaque manufacturer. The collectible value of these awards depends on a number of factors including the artist, title, presenter, format and condition of each award.

Diamond Awards (1999 to present) Renowned crystal designer Peter Wayne Yenawine has designed the Diamond Award especially for the RIAA. Yenawine was a master designer at Steuben Glass, and has been commissioned by the past five presidential administrations to create personal gifts. Crystal Signatures, using the world’s finest lead crystal, produce the awards under Yenawine’s direction.

The Diamond Award is adorned with a 728-ct. crystal diamond placed in a faceted sterling silver setting. Each setting is engraved with the RIAA logo and the initials of the designer. The 12" high award sits atop a black tapered, 3 1/2" high base, engraved with artist presentation text.

The most important consideration when purchasing these items is to ensure you buy authentic industry awards and not those sold on auction sites and market stalls which are described as reproduction presentation discs. This in reality translates as shoddy unofficial and poorly constructed items made in someone's tool shed.

The popularity of the Gold & Platinum awards has made them valuable collectibles and their manufacturing has evolved into a specialized field. For the past 10 years, in order to curb potential fraud and abuse, the RIAA has enlisted licensed framers, giving them the exclusive right to prepare awards. An RIAA-certified title permits a record company to purchase from these licensed frame shops the official RIAA awards bearing the specialized holographic seal.

The certified title’s record company must first authorize plaque orders before they can be manufactured. Once an order has been approved, the record company works with a licensed framer to determine the design and quantity of the award.

The RIAA is unable to fully authenticate any existing award, but we can verify whether or not a title is certified; we regularly work with our member companies and outside agencies to ensure that counterfeits do not penetrate the market. Working together with Sotheby's and other auction houses, the RIAA, in coordination with its anti-piracy division, has been able to identify and pull several unauthorized awards from auction.

The RIAA asks its members and the general public for assistance in detecting fraudulent awards. Anyone who sees a Gold or Platinum award that claims U.S. sales certification, but does not include the RIAA hologram logo, should contact the RIAA's anti-piracy division at 1-800-BAD-BEAT or email badbeat@RIAA.com.

Record companies issue their own album awards in abundance making them easier to obtain by collectors, but these should not be confused with RIAA awards.

 

Appetite for Destruction 1987 Geffen Gold award to commemorate sales of more than 500,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted gold LP with mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and A&M logo, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed. This rare collectors item is valued at $700.00 USD.
Appetite for Destruction 1987 Geffen Platinum award to commemorate sales of more than 1,000,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted platinum LP with mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and A&M logo, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed. This rare collectors item is valued at $700.00 USD.
Appetite for Destruction 1987 Geffen Platinum award to commemorate sales of more than 1,000,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted platinum LP with two mini album artwork pictures, dedication plaque and Geffen logo. This rare collectors item is valued at $700.00 USD.
Appetite for Destruction 1987 Geffen Platinum commemoration plaque for sales of more than 1,000,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted autographed platinum LP with mini album artwork picture, cassette tape, dedication plaque and Geffen logo.  It was autographed by the band and presented to Geffen record executives.  This rare collectors item is valued at $1,500.00 USD.

Beware: this is a heavily bootlegged item.

Appetite for Destruction 1987 RIAA Platinum award to commemorate sales of more than 1,000,000 copies of the album featuring mounted Platinum LP, CD and cassette shell on either side of a mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and 'R' style RIAA hologram, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed.  This item was also one of four commemoration awards offered by VH1 during its first annual Save the Music Foundation televised fundraiser in 1997.  It was engraved with the buyer's name and sold for $399.00+S&H.  This rare collectors item is valued at $900.00 USD.

The VH1 Save the Music Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in America's public schools.

Appetite for Destruction 1987 RIAA Diamond award to commemorate sales of more than 10,000,000 copies of the album features a 728-ct. crystal diamond placed in a faceted sterling silver setting engraved with the RIAA logo and the initials of the designer. The 12" high award sits atop a black tapered, 3 1/2" high base, engraved with artist presentation text.  It was certified on July 23, 1998 and announced July 31.  The award was presented in New York on March 16, 1999.  Ironically, Steven Adler accepted the award; no other band members were present.  As of 2003, this album has sold 35.5 million copies.  This rare collectors item is valued at $2,000.00 USD.
GN'R Lies 1988 RIAA Gold award to commemorate sales of more than 500,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted gold LP and gold cassette shell above mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and 'R' style RIAA hologram, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed. This rare collectors item is valued at $731.00 USD.
GN'R Lies 1988 RIAA Platinum award to commemorate sales of more than 1,000,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted platinum LP and platinum cassette shell above mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and 'R' style RIAA hologram, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed. This rare collectors item is valued at $731.00 USD.
Use Your Illusion I 1991 RIAA Gold award to commemorate sales of more than 500,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted gold LP, compact disc, and cassette shell with mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and 'R' style RIAA hologram, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed.  This rare collectors item is valued at $648.00 USD.
Use Your Illusion I 1991 RIAA Platinum award to commemorate sales of more than 1,000,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted platinum LP, compact disc, and cassette shell with mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and 'R' style RIAA hologram, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed.  This rare collectors item is valued at $648.00 USD.
Use Your Illusion II 1991 RIAA Gold award to commemorate sales of more than 500,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted gold LP, compact disc, and cassette shell with mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and 'R' style RIAA hologram, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed.  This rare collectors item is valued at $648.00 USD.
Use Your Illusion II 1991 RIAA Platinum award to commemorate sales of more than 1,000,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted platinum LP, compact disc, and cassette shell with mini album artwork picture, dedication plaque and 'R' style RIAA hologram, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed.  This rare collectors item is valued at $648.00 USD.
Use Your Illusion 1991 RIAA Double Platinum award to commemorate sales of more than 1,000,000 copies of the album, featuring mounted platinum LP, compact disc, and cassette shell with three mini album artwork pictures, dedication plaque and 'R' style RIAA hologram, measures approximately 21" x 17", framed and glazed.  This rare collectors item is valued at $648.00 USD.
This award was advertised on Ebay as an Italian RIAA award for The Spaghetti Incident?.  It was not given an award in America because it only sold 30,000 copies.  I have been unsuccessful in determining its authenticity and therefore cannot give it a monetary value.  As a collectors item however, it is interesting.