The magic combination of RCA logo and dog's cock intact.
So you scream out of line "I want you! I need you!"...
A copy of the withdrawn version of the original RCA Diamond Dogs album has sold for an astonishing $3,550.00 on ebaY. (Thanks to BowieNetter DEmerson for the original pointer.) The controversial sleeve is very rarely seen at auction, most likely because the few copies out there are already in the heavily guarded collections of those in a position to afford one.
Here's a bit from the seller's description of this particular copy:
I am selling this super scarce LP cover for a gentleman who worked for RCA in the 1970's. He (along with a handful of co-workers) had the foresight to save an early version of this cover with the original artwork before RCA got nervous and had the Bowie-dog's genitals airbrushed off for the final version of the cover that was released to the public. This cover accompanied the U.S. pressing of this LP, released in 1974. He told me that he thought probably fewer than ten of these gatefold covers were saved. Apparently only four or five have found their way into the marketplace before this one.
I've never seen one of these in the real world before, but I do know that versions exist as flat printer's proofs as opposed to finished sleeves. I don't know about the one that just sold on ebaY, but the flat proof I am aware of came complete with the Guy Peellaert jumping dog painting as the inside gatefold, which was later replaced with the Leee Black Childers cityscape photo-montage.
The Peellaert jumping dog painting, above, (sorry about the quality, didn't have time to scan my copy of the poster as it's too big) was later made into a promotional poster by MainMan and was sold as fan club merchandise for a short time. This item is rare enough in itself, though certainly more common than the withdrawn sleeve.
The cover caused confusion among some new collectors when it was re-issued in its full original glory by Ryko in the '90s. But it's the RCA version that collectors hanker after... including this collector.
If you think RCA were overreacting with this infamous piece of censorship, perhaps you should bear in mind a South American version of the original RCA sleeve that I have in my possession, where the complete bottom half of the dog is blacked out! Anyway, I do intend to resurrect