Pop, rock and movie memorabilia has been collected by fans since the dawn of cinema and then rock n roll in the 1950’s, but its boom did not begin until the early 1980’s when Sotheby’s held their first ever auction dedicated to pop. The auction sold items belonging to the Beatles. Beatles memorabilia is still the most popular and most costly – John Lennon’s name appears consistently at the top of lists of most expensive items sold at auction.
Just about anything ever touched by a popular celebrity eventually becomes collectable. Programmes, concert tickets, photographs or even napkins can all be valuable, especially if they are signed by the artist. The most sought after signatures belong to dead stars like John Lennon, but also Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe and Janis Joplin. Nonetheless, even relatively recent material can fetch high prices
The clothing and accessories worn by actors and rock stars are also in demand. This is especially true if a particular item is closely identified with a particular star. Buddy Holly’s glasses were sold for £30,000 and even Elton John can expect £2,000 - £10,000 for each pair of his old specs! The iconic white halterneck dress Marilyn Monroe wore as she stood over a subway vent in “The Seven Year Itch”, has been voted the most iconic movie dress of all time, and is believed to be worth £1.5 million.
Collecting pop, rock and memorabilia can be great fun, but there are things you should think about before you start buying:
• Is the item genuine? Is there any supporting documentation to verify its authenticity?
• Signatures add value to everything.
• Is it anything to do with the Beatles? They are always collectable and their memorabilia fetches the highest prices.
• Is the artist dead? Whilst death isn’t necessary an automatic increase in value, it does mean there are limited supplies.
• Did the artist have a major effect on the music or film industry? The Sex Pistols were not around for long, but they made such an impact, they too are collectable.
• Is this item something you would immediately recognize as being owned by this artist?
Finally collecting memorabilia is a booming business and there are some people who will work hard to part you from your money – beware of the fakes!