written by Alexander Bitar
Pop and rock music, though relatively quite recent phenomena, are so deeply embedded into the cultural makeup of society that you could likely go anywhere in the world, and most people would be familiar with at least some tunes of either genre.
Enjoyed by a worldwide variety of people, surpassing the boundaries of class, background, socio-economic status and more, it is no wonder that there is such a large International market for pop and rock memorabilia, as generation after generation rediscovers the nostalgia and charms of past decades’ popular music. Do you have an item of this category that you think may be worth something? Read on to find out!
Pop & rock memorabilia is a wide category, consisting of anything from original vintage albums, concert and film posters, vintage band tees, vintage instruments, clothing or accessories worn by a music figure, programs, flyers, record players, film stills, and so much more; the possibilities are endless.
Another important field that's central in therms of music memorabilia is handwritten and signed material. Signed photographs of famous musicians, handwritten music lyrics by the songwriter, autographs from band members, signed vintage band tees etc.
Most pop and rock memorabilia is owned and dealt privately, as the majority of museums have not yet added such items to their public collections. Therefore it is important to have your item authenticated, as unfortunately there are a number of false copies in circulation online! The best way to authenticate music memorabilia is to get an expert opinion. Major auction houses often does that work for you. Otherwise it could be handled for example by contacting serious dealers and ask for their opinion. Some will charge for that information, other might do it for free. Regarding valuations, the best way is to contact a non biased party, such as Value My Stuff.
Value your pop and rock memorabilia here!
Once you have identified your item and are sure of its authenticity, one of the first steps to take in assessing its worth is observing its condition. As there is such a broad scope of the types of objects that may fall under the category of pop and rock memorabilia, it is important to take this into consideration.
For example, if you have a signed object, special attention ought to be given to the quality of the signature, ensuring it is not faded, smudged or otherwise. If you have an item that is made of paper, like a flyer or poster, it will always be worth more the closer it is to like-new condition, with minimal rips, tears, stains, etc. If valuing a clothing or costume item, it is important to make sure it is not compromised in quality, with all seams and stitching remaining secure and no unintentional staining or tearing. However, if the item is worn down from the use of the musician or musical figure, this may actually increase the price! Likewise, an instrument that was smashed or ruined on stage by its original owner may be worth even more than a similar item of still functioning condition!
Determining the existence of an established connection between the item and the musician or musical figure is crucial. As the market is comparatively unregulated, fakes do exist and can unknowingly be circulated amongst the online collecting community, and also disreputable sellers do exist that may intentionally misrepresent an item and its true use; for example an item that was signed but not used by a celebrity is not at all the same as something that was owned and used by the famous figure in question, despite at times being presented as such. If a pop or rock memorabilia object cannot be explicitly connected to the era and person or group of people that ensure its status, it will be worth little to nothing at all.
Related: The Tragedy Behind the Most Expensive Concert Poster
As with any other collectable, it is important to take into consideration the current demand on the market for your particular item. If its demand exceeds its supply, its value will likely see an exponential increase. However, just because your item is rare does not necessarily mean it will be worth as much as you might expect. For example if you possess a flyer from a relatively obscure show from a band that was not as widely recognized as to earn the status of a staple of pop culture, there may not be anyone looking to buy such an item and thus it will sell for very little if anything at all. Likewise, for another example, if you have an original album from the last few decades from even a top tier musician, if many copies exist on the market it will likely not be worth much.
"Original handwritten lyrics are always go high demand, especially when the author is one of the all-time greats!"
Of course, the best thing to do when embarking on the journey to value or sell an item is to remain patient. Even if there is not necessarily a huge demand for your item on the market now, that is not to say that there never will be, and certain niche collectors are viable to pop up and take an interest in what you have to offer, and perhaps be willing to pay nicely for it. The market is always changing!
Related: Kurt Cobain’s ‘Unplugged’ Cardigan Heads to Auction
As the global interest in music memorabilia grows yearly, the hammer prices for items within the category reaches new heights very often. Major auction houses like Julien's Auctions and Heritage Auctions is considered as some of the best auction houses for music memorabilia. To date, the most valuable music memorabilia every sold at auction is Kurt Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic guitar that he played during Nirvana's iconic "MTV Unplugged" performance in 1993. The guitar sold for a whopping £8,000,000 in 2021! The second most valuable guitar is Pink Floyd's lead guitarist David Gilmour's elegant Fender Stratocaster, known as the "Black Strat" which sold for £5,298,586 by Christie's in a charity auction. Another instrument, not including guitars, that have reached millions is Ringo Starr's Ludwig drum used during The Beatles' Ed Sullivan appearance in 1964. Lastly, in regard of handwriting, the most valuable lot is Bob Dylan's handwritten lyrics for his classic song "Like a Rolling Stone". Original handwritten lyrics are always go high demand, especially when the author is one of the all-time greats!
It goes without saying that the single most essential step to take when seeking valuation for your item is to seek professional valuation! Only a trained expert will be able to eliminate any doubt regarding the authenticity of your collectable, and make the most accurate estimate of its worth as possible. Contact a professional in the field today, here at Value My Stuff, so you can find out what your pop and rock memorabilia is worth today!
Alexander Bitar is an international dealer of high-end collectables. Based in Stockholm with office in Beverly Hills, some of Bitar's specialities are entertainment memorabilia as well as autographs and manuscripts.