When I first moved to SF I had a job at Mordam Records distribution, where one of my tasks was to prepare test pressings for advance solicitation to other distributors, We'd staple a one sheet on the white inner sleeve they came in and send them out with orders, this pre-dated CD advances and was just only about on the nexus were things were then being issued ON both LP and CD in the early to mid 90's. No one ever thought of these are particularly collectible ( and admittedly when you're stapling together 50 copies of SCHERZO, SKRAPYARD, TALES FROM THE BIRDBATH, BUTT TRUMPET or Whatever, why would you??) and Mordam had even sold these off at a Gilman Swap before I worked there for $1 a piece.
PRANK has always liked to send out tests as well, ordering 20 or 30 extras and giving friends of the label and occasionally random fans an advance listen of the upcoming releases. Ironically tests are NOT the best sounding representation of the LP, the earliest pressed off the plates sure, but you need about 50 tests to wear the plates in and get an accurate representation of the record's sound....
Increasingly while the bands are demanding stupidity like "test covers", these have just seemed to now mostly seep their way onto Sale lists and Ebay as a way for people to score a few extras bucks on Prank's dime when their chips are down- like this dude in Australia we gifted an Iron Lung test pressing and he didn't even bother to listen to it.
So because of you, Mate, In your honor ( honour?). No more gifts. No more freebies for anyone.
While when you give a gift to someone the receiver is free to do as you please with it, the downside of this, which kind of bums us all out-is not so much the selling it, but that people couldn't even be bothered to listen to or respond to it...stifling the enthusiasm we'd hope to create by giving the person a gift of records we think are really great and work really hard to make... plus the way things seep out on the internet, it's just a policy we're sadly ending. We really love the records we make and love to do whatever we can to get people as excited as we are about them, but so it goes.
I joked that My next "test covers' would just be a white sleeve with a share of google or apple stock attached, but we'll just be making 5 or 6 tests here out for the band and I, I swear this on a humungous box of WORLD BURNS TO DEATH "the graveyard of utopia" test pressings I'm now taking outside to smash! ;)