With the rise and rise of online auctions like Ebay and with more people turning to Memorabilia for investment, it pays to be aware of the pitfalls of buying memorabilia. Dig has come up with this Top 10 of rules for buying Memorabilia. Be careful, it’s a jungle out there!
1) Always do your research on the seller - Wherever you consider buying from, whether it be online, through a dealer or auction house, make sure you fully research the person selling it and if you are in any doubt about the item being sold, just don’t buy it.
2) Only buy from reputable sellers - There are many many dealers out there, not all of whom are trustworthy. Make sure you only buy from well-established and reputable dealers and auction houses.
3) Seek a second opinion – Ask around about the item you are considering buying. Get second opinions from other dealers and from auction house specialists.
4) Check condition carefully – If you are buying over the internet or from a catalogue and can’t see the item in person, make sure that the picture is a true representation of the item and if in doubt about the condition, ask for a condition report. All dealers and auction houses should be more than happy to oblige.
5) Research the provenance - Find out what you can about the provenance of the item. Where was it obtained? What date? The more provenance an item has, the easier it is to research the authenticity and the more interesting the item is.
6) Research the asking price – Check auction house databases and dealers’ websites for similar items to get a sense of the true value and ensure you are not paying over the true market value.
7) Beware of so-called forensic examinations - Although there are some reputable forensic document examiners practicing around the world, there are also some who have not undergone the proper training.
8) Beware of Certificates of Authenticity - Just because an item is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, it doesn’t automatically guarantee authenticity – after all, anyone can print off a certificate. Make sure that any documentation comes from a reputable dealer and ideally, comes with a money back guarantee too.
9) Always buy what you love - Buying memorabilia should be an emotional journey rather than being primarily motivated by investment. That way, if the market does change, you will still own something that brings you pleasure for years to come.
10) If it’s too good to be true, it usually is - Trust your instincts!
Last week, www.obsessedwithfilm.com published their Top 10 pieces of Film memorabilia that fans lust over and I was inspired to concoct my own list for Rock and Roll Memorabilia. Call it my fantasy Rock Memorabilia collection, subject to having unlimited funds and the ability to beg, borrow and steal the possessions of the people who currently own them. Sadly, my fantasy Rock Memorabilia Collection would probably cost me around $3-4 Million Dollars so I’d better start saving now.
10 - Roger Daltrey’s Fringed Waistcoat worn at Woodstock, 1969
The Who would have to make my fantasy Top Ten and something from Woodstock in 1969, signaling the end of the decade that brought us the best in rock and roll music, would complete my collection. The image of Roger Daltrey on stage at Woodstock with those fringes circling around him is an enduring tribute to the Sixties. I believe this outfit was last seen at the British Music Experience in London.
9 - David Bowie Ziggy Stardust stage costume
I would give my right arm to own one of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust stage outfits, probably the stripy, pointy-shouldered number he wore during the last date on the Ziggy Stardust Tour at Hammersmith Odeon in 1973. Wow, he was so cool! One of his Ziggy Stardust era outfits came up at Christie’s a few years back - the asymetrical flame-covered costume he wore at the Marquee Club, London in 1973 - and it made £10,800 ($21,600).
8 - Original Beatles concert poster
If I was going to own an original Beatles concert poster, it would have to be one for one of their early Liverpool concerts at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton in 1962. Beatlemania didn’t hit the U.K. until 1963 so in 1962, the Beatles still shared equal billing with other acts at the Tower Ballroom like Gerry and the Pacemakers, Bruce Channel (Direct From America!!) and Ringo’s old band, Rory Storm and The Hurricanes. If I had one of these on my wall, I would sit and contemplate how musical history might have taken a different turn if this group of four guys from Liverpool had stayed on the local circuit playing venues like the Tower Ballroom and the Barnston Women’s Institute. The last Tower Ballroom poster that came on the market made around $40,000.
7 - Jimi Hendrix Jacket
I was going to add one of Hendrix’s guitars to the list but seeing as I’ve already chosen two guitars, I thought I’d opt for one of Hendrix’s outfits. I think the jacket most closely associated with him is the military-style jacket he wears during Monterey Festival in 1967 and in the legendary photographs of Gered Mankowitz. Such a classic and probably worth at least $100,000, given that other less famous Hendrix outfits have made as much as £60,000.
6 - Jim Morrison’s leather pants
There isn’t anything more rock and roll than Jim Morrison’s leather pants. What a God! There are a few pairs of his trousers in various Hard Rock Cafes around the world but there hasn’t been an important piece of Jim Morrison clothing on the market for many years and a key item like this from the Lizard King himself would have to be included in my dream rock memorabilia collection.
5 - Sid Vicious’ chain and padlock necklace
This list has got to include at least one piece of Punk Memorabilia so for me, nothing sums up the Sex Pistols and Punk fashion more than Sid’s chain and padlock necklace. THere has been one of these on the market before but I know there is also one of Sid’s chains on display in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland. I would expect to pay at least $20,000 for such a gem of Punk Memorabilia and I would probably want to wear it as often as possible.
4 - John Lennon lyrics
I’ve thought long and hard about this one. A set of lyrics in John Lennon’s hand would have to be on the list, but which song? Do I choose one my favourite tracks, “Sexy Sadie”, “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” or “Glass Onion” (currently in the possession of Yoko Ono) or do I go for a 1963 Beatles classic like “Please Please Me”? The earlier tracks from the first album have so much more historical importance that I’d probably opt for the lyrics for “Please Please Me”. Imagine having those on your wall?! I have never seen lyrics from the first album come up for sale but given the recent price of $1.2 Million achieved for the lyrics for “A Day In The Life”, John Lennon’s hand-written lyrics for a track like “Please Please Me” could be a record-breaker.
3 - Kurt Cobain’s Martin D-18 guitar used on Unplugged
Probably one of my favourite albums ever. Cobain’s appearance on Unplugged was so incredibly mesmorising, even more so in light of his death soon after, and the guitar he used during that show would encapsulate everything that was the talented Kurt Cobain for me. Courtney Love still owns this guitar but if it were ever to come on to the market, I predict that fans better be ready to fork out at least $500,000 for this gem of Kurt Cobain memorabilia.
2 - Janis Joplin’s Porsche
If I was building a collection of the best Rock Memorabilia in the world, it would have to include a rock star’s car and Janis Joplin’s psychedelic painted Porsche would fit in very nicely indeed. Joplin owned a 1965 Porsche 356-C Cabriolet and had Big Brother And The Holding Company Roadie paint it for her with a psychedelic design including butterflies and images of her band. The Porsche is still owned by Janis Joplin’s family and currently resides in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland. Kind of ironic that she owned a Porsche when she sang about owning a Mercedes Benz.
1 - John Lennon’s guitar from the Bed In
This is for me the ultimate piece of John Lennon memorabilia. My favourite John Lennon period has always been his hippy 1968-1969 period when I think he wrote his best songs and the Bed In has become a symbol of everything Lennon stood for - Peace, Music, Love. The guitar Lennon used at the Bed In was a Gibson J-160E and had been used by Lennon on stage as early as 1964 when it was a sunburst finish before Lennon had it painted by The Fool. Later, he had the guitar stripped back and for the Bed-In, drew caricatures of himself and Yoko Ono on the body. This guitar is currently at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland and is still owned by Yoko Ono so it is never ever likely to come up for sale but if it ever did, I would wager it would be one of the most important pieces of John Lennon memorabilia to come on the market ever. As such, the budget would probably have to stretch to at least a million dollars, if not more.
Article published at Dig.
Genesis Publications have very kindly donated one of their beautiful limited edition books to a friend’s charity auction in aid of Motor Neurone Disease. The book is by George Martin about the making of the Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and is signed by George Martin himself. A great piece of Beatles memorabilia and what’s more, Genesis books have proven to be fantastic investments.
You can bid in the auction here:
Helen Hall is an Entertainment Memorabilia Expert and has appeared on various U.K. and U.S. television and radio shows including BBC Breakfast, Chris Evans Drivetime, Access Hollywood, Late Night With Conan O’Brien and Good Morning America. Helen has also appeared as a guest speaker at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, the Experience Music Project, Seattle and for the Appraisers Association of America.
For Media enquiries, contact Helen at email@example.com or Jo Wander at Jo Wander Management - jowandermanagement.com.
Anarchy In The UK one-sided 7” acetate with “swirl” Abbey Road label. Obtained from E.M.I. rep in 1976 prior to release. Condition is Excellent.
God Save The Queen 10” acetate with Townhouse Studios label. Originally purchased at Phillips auction in 1988. Condition is very good.
These acetates hardly ever come up for sale. Provenance is excellent, letters of authenticity provided. For more information, contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE - God Save The Queen acetate sold on Ebay - Sold price was £14,600.
My Blog has moved to my Dig Gallery website. Read my blog for news, thoughts and articles about Entertainment Memorabilia, Pop Culture and Collecting. Dig Gallery is where you will find limited edition fine art photographs of Rock and roll and Film icons, memorabilia for sale and specialist related books. I’ve got a Twitter account and a Facebook page for the gallery so you can sign up for updates, news and interesting articles and facts.
I often get asked about concert posters, whether they are a good investment, which bands to look out for, whether it is the band or the poster artist which is the most collectable. Read the full blog at Dig Gallery.
We are pleased to offer for sale Sid Vicious’ own copy of “Never Mind The Bollocks”, inscribed by him with various inscriptions including: bambi; 100 club; sid vicious was here so fuck off; sid loves nancy xx; drugs,drugs, sex,sex, rock n roll more sex sid; ad boot, ray, roger; cigs, booze; god save sid; kingfisher usa; on the bus pissed with paul.
With impeccable provenance from Anne Beverly and a letter regarding the provenance from Steve Jones, this is an incredibly unique piece of Sex Pistols history.
More images available on request. Contact me for more details email@example.com.
We all know Kurt Cobain as a musician, guitarist, Nirvana frontman and lyricist but few people are aware of Cobain’s incredible artistic talent. Artwork by Kurt Cobain rarely appears on the collectors market, a handful of pieces Cobain did at school were sold from the collection of one of his former art teachers back in 2004 but the piece featured here dates from the Nirvana era. This formed part of a collection from a close associate of Cobain that was recently sold by Dig Gallery to a private collector. Interest in Cobain’s artwork continues to grow and collectors are viewing his art as a serious investment.
T-SHIRT NOW SOLD!
Attention all Sex Pistols Memorabilia Collectors - Sid Vicious’ red swastika t-shirt is being offered for sale.
Vicious wore the t-shirt in 1978, most famously creating outrage when he wore it to stroll around the streets of Paris in footage shot for the film The Great Rock N Roll Swindle. The t-shirt was designed by notorious manager of the Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren, who recently died of cancer.
This iconic piece of clothing has impeccable provenance and is perhaps one of the most memorable worn by Sid Vicious. It sums up everything that Punk and the Sex Pistols stood for – rebellion, controversy and provocation.
For enquiries and images, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org