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Collector's Item: Album Art

ROCK impresario Denny Somach is trying to create the same buying frenzy for rock-and-roll memorabilia that surrounds sports collectibles. Mr. Somach, a radio producer, focuses on album-cover art, which he says is dying out with the advent of the compact disc.

``If somebody doesn't preserve it, the only way you're ever going to find it is if you go to a used-record store,'' Somach says. ``People used to actually buy albums because of the cover art. We don't have that luxury today.''

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Somach and his company, Musicom International, have put together the Record Art Collection, a group of 18 lithographs, plate-signed by the visual artist, of some of the best-known album covers in rock history. They include four Beatles albums, the Eagles's ``Hotel California,'' and Cream's ``Disraeli Gears.''

``There's nothing for our generation to collect,'' Somach says. ``There's nothing for the average person to buy that's within reason, other than little things you buy at collectors' shows....''

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