November 22nd, 2015
When I started collecting early CDs, I was perfectly happy finding any early Japanese or West German pressing. It was Japanese or West German, so it was first or early. Good enough. Then, not good enough. As time marched on, I learned that there were degrees of early or real first pressings. So, not all early pressings are created equal.
For an example of early and earlier pressings of a particular title, click here. The two Delos classical titles shown in that post were pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. Here, we consider two similar early CBS/Sony pressings. They are of a compilation of easy listening composer Mantovani titled Digital Spectacular. This Mantovani compilation was originally released on CD in Japan in 1982 on the Canyon label and was assigned catalog number D35Y0001. The 0001 suffix suggests that Digital Spectacular was the first title released on CD by Canyon. The 35 in the catalog number reflects the retail price, ¥3,500.
So let’s consider the early and later Japanese CBS/Sony pressings of Digital Spectacular. They are found with identical inserts, and the discs share the same label design. The devil is in the details. Let’s go in reverse order. The later pressing has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, where CSR stands for CBS/Sony Records. The matrix code on this later pressing is “D35Y-0001 11B9”. The matrix code is stamped in the typical “neat” font found on Japanese CBS/Sony pressings. This disc came in an early jewel case with smooth top and bottom edges. The disc and inserts are dated 1982, but it is estimated that the later pressing was manufactured in 1983 or ’84.
The early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Digital Spectacular has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “D35Y 0001-1 1B3”. Note the different grouping of matrix code characters for this disc versus the later pressing cited above. Additionally, the matrix code on the early pressing is stamped in the original “crude” font used by CBS/Sony. Some collectors called this the “chiseled” font. Interestingly, this disc came in a very rare early jewel case that has one long “stopper bar” to the right of the booklet (the jewel case for later pressing has the more familiar two booklet stoppers). The jewel case with the early pressing also has smooth top and bottom edges, and it has “Patent pending” embossed on the back. The disc and inserts are dated 1982, and it is assumed that the early pressing was manufactured in 1982 by virtue of the jewel case and matrix code.
Shown below are the cover and back insert for Digital Spectacular, as well as both the later and then the early Japanese CBS/Sony pressings. Both discs are rare, but the early pressing is likely the rarer of the two.
The cover for the Japanese CD release of Mantovani Digital Spectacular (Canyon, catalog number D35Y0001). It is shown in the jewel case for the early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing. Note the long stopper bar to the right, a feature of a very rare early jewel case. The later CBS/Sony pressing is found with the identical cover artwork.
The back insert for the Japanese CD release of Mantovani Digital Spectacular (Canyon, catalog number D35Y0001). It is shown in the jewel case for the early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing. As noted in the lower left corner, the retail price is ¥3,500. “Patent pending” is embossed on the lower right corner of the jewel case. A Phonogram date of “’82•11” along the bottom of the back insert indicates that Digital Spectacular was first issued in November 1982. The gold triangular label in the top left corner is an “obi sticker” that is adhered to the back of the jewel case. It contains the type of information typically found on a Japanese obi strip. The later CBS/Sony pressing is found with the identical back insert. The particular copy of the later pressing reported here did not come with the obi sticker on the jewel case.
The later Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Mantovani Digital Spectacular (Canyon, catalog number D35Y0001). The disc has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “D35Y-0001 11B9”. The matrix code is stamped in the typical “neat” CBS/Sony plant font. The disc shows a Phonogram date of 1982 at 3 o’clock, indicating the year of the original release of the album.
The early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Mantovani Digital Spectacular (Canyon, catalog number D35Y0001). The disc has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “D35Y 0001-1 1B3”. The matrix code is stamped in the early “crude” CBS/Sony plant font. Like the later pressing above, the early pressing is dated 1982. It is believed that the early pressing shown here was manufactured in 1982.