Mr. Pop History – Got a nice e-mail some some friends over in England. They’re getting ready for the BRIT awards 2011. Some great information – and the Beatles are still on top:
Something for the Fans Guide to Priceless Pop Memorabilia
Compiled by David Hepworth
1. The Beatles are more collectable than any other act before or since.
Everyone else had better get used to it. It doesn’t matter how many records an artist has sold; an association with the Fabs imbues any item of memorabilia with magic powers and trumps all the competition. Over the years auctions have offered everything from the white piano at which John Lennon sat to play “Imagine” to the old lavatory seat on which he sat at his house in Ascot.
2. If it’s in a famous picture or video it’s worth twice as much.
Half a million pounds was recently paid for the drum head from the Beatles’ iconic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album cover. Collectors like to be able to put their treasures on display next to a picture and say, “look, there it is”. The same trend goes for costumes that artists wore in certain music videos such as the Dolce and Gabbana bra that Madonna wore on “The Girlie Tour” which sold for $24,000. That was nothing compared to Michael Jackson’s single jewelled glove, which fetched $300,000 last year. And that was after his death…..
3. It helps if the artist is dead.
It’s small comfort for the deceased but the fact is that Elvis outsells Cliff Richard, Lennon beats McCartney, Jimi Hendrix outranks Eric Clapton and Kurt Cobain trounces Noel Gallagher when it comes to the value of their associated memorabilia. When an artist is dead they are clearly not going to flood the market with sub-standard product. Although their relatives might.
4. Digital has killed the collectable record.
Nobody wants an autographed CD but everybody wants an autographed LP. The former appears worth less than it is and the latter appears worth more which is what some may call “materiality”. Now that CDs are being replaced by downloads, music fans no longer have an object of any kind to fondle. This means that all the truly rare records have already been made. They’re out there right now and they’re only going to get rarer and pricier.
5. Video has killed the autograph hunter.
The autograph is going the same way as handwriting – in ten years it will be extinct. Even if a fan
wanted somebody’s autograph, these days the likelihood is they have neither pen nor piece of paper at
hand. Instead there is the mobile phone; the all-purpose recorder of experiences, ready to capture the
moment in flash, in audio, in video… Will they still have it in ten years time? Probably not.
6. Collectability is the true measure of charisma.
Some acts are simply more collectible than others. It’s not to do with how many tickets they sell or how many awards they get, it’s far more deep rooted than that. It’s to do with a special sort of charisma. Queen, Oasis and the Smiths attract more interest from collectors than Take That, The Police or U2, for instance. Where there is mystique, sibling rivalry, scandal, early death or the prospect of a good falling-out there is money to be made in the collectors market.
7. Everything is memorabilia in online auction houses.
Auction houses are renowned for their collection of collectables, whether it be one of Jimmy Page’s guitars or some handwritten David Bowie lyrics. But crucially they also offer a certificate of authentication. On the other hand, if you desire a piece of chewing gum allegedly chewed by Britney Spears (retrieved from a bin by a security man who saw her dispose of it backstage) then the world wide web and its various online marketplaces is the place to go. It was claimed recently that said chewable item was sold for $14,000… although no one has seen the receipt.
8. Memorabilia is a waiting game.
Hold onto the item of clothing that you recently bid for, even if it is from a ‘small-time’ artist right now. History shows that we won’t really know for twenty years or more until 2030 has decided whether it’s really interested in that artist or not.
9. You can’t invent memorabilia.
All attempts by merchandising companies, museums or dead rock stars’ estates to invent instant souvenirs – such as the officially licensed “All Shook Up” collection of Elvis Presley wines (glass of Blue Suede Chardonnay, anyone?) – are as tacky as those Royal Wedding plates on the back of the colour supplement – and about as appealing.
10. The best memorabilia is your memorabilia.
The best memorabilia has little value to anyone but the holder. Autographs, photographs and memories; if you’ve got something that means something to you, never let it go. To you, it’s Priceless.