It's not hard to understand why so many people love collecting Beatles memorabilia. When the Beatles first arrived on the musical scene in 1962, they were an instant pop sensation the likes of which the world had never seen. Not since the days of Elvis Presley had anyone seen music have such a profound effect on so many people, and very seldom has it happened since.
Even more than 45 years after they recorded their last song together -at Abbey Road Studios on August 20, 1969- John, Paul, George and Ringo are still as beloved as they were when they made their first appearance. Though they shocked some with their "long" hair and emotive lyrics, their playful personalities endeared them to just about everyone who had a chance to meet them and made the value of such mundane objects as their clothes and signatures even higher.
Popular Beatles Memorabilia
Most popular of all Beatles collectibles, as with most celebrity memorabilia, are record covers or photographs signed by one or all of the members of the band. Since only two members of the Beatles are still alive, items autographed by the entire complement have skyrocketed in value. Collectors who are in possession of any of these Beatles memorabilia are considered extremely lucky, and those who want them are growing in numbers.
Another popular, but much rarer piece of memorabilia is any article of clothing or costuming worn by the band while performing. The costumes from the famous Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover are an extreme example, with the "backup" set selling at a Sotheby's auction for several thousand dollars. However, any piece of clothing is valuable to collectors when the signature of one of the band members is on it.
A word of caution, though, beginning collectors must be very careful when trying to buy autographed Beatles memorabilia on the secondary market, such as online auctions. Due to the enduring popularity of the boys, thousands of items bearing forged signatures have entered circulation and are being sold daily to unsuspecting fans. Some are just passing on fakes that they unwittingly purchased, while others are manufacturing them specifically for sale.
If you're planning on purchasing a piece of autographed Beatles memorabilia, you should first check out the reputation of the seller. If it is an online seller, you want to go off more than just feedback scores. Other fans and collectors are a good source of information on a particular seller, whether good or bad. Make sure your Beatles memorabilia comes with a certificate of authenticity or similar documentation, and that the seller has a comprehensive return policy. Sadly, it's not unusual for an unscrupulous dealer to sell a forged autograph and then disappear into the night.
However, there are other kinds of Beatles collectibles that are a little less difficult to find and a little kinder to the wallet. In fact, you might be surprised at the sheer volume and variety of things out there! Album covers kept in excellent condition or framed when they were brand-new are quite popular, even without autographs, and posters of all sizes that bear their images are also available for Beatle-maniacs who don't have a lot to spend. If the cover happens to have the album still inside and in mint condition, it's an added bonus! Many collectors like to frame these if they aren't already mounted, and it's best to take it to a professional framing shop if you want to preserve it for future generations to enjoy.
Beatlemania inspired more than just albums for the intrepid collector and fan, with Beatles memorabilia ranging from sneakers and hairbrushes with the faces of the Fab Four printed on them to lunch boxes and dolls of all kinds, so that you could have a little piece of music history right in your bedroom. Of course, one of the most popular "strange collectible" items is the famed Beatle Wig, which allows anyone to sport the most shocking hairstyle of the day, even if just for a few hours.
With so many different kinds of Beatles collectibles, it can be hard to put a value on your collection. Your best option, especially if you are trying to price items that you have rediscovered after a long while, is to consult a professional collectibles dealer. While other fans and collectors can be a big help in giving you a general idea of what your collection is worth, if you are planning on reselling it or insuring it, then you will almost certainly need the kind of documentation only a professional can provide. If you are planning on reselling or just want to preserve your collection, remember that the better the condition of the items (no matter what they are), the more valuable they are on the secondary market.
Even today, the Beatles are as popular as ever. Modern artists who remake Beatles songs on tribute albums or play them at concerts ignite new interest in the band and create a whole new generation of fans, although older fans are most certainly the most avid of collectors. There are still fan clubs devoted to the Fab Four, as well as conventions, festivals and even entire stores dedicated to Beatles memorabilia and merchandise, giving collectors plenty of chances to pick up a new or odd collectible and meet other fans from all over.
However, nearly all of them can agree on one thing; there will never be another band like the Beatles!