Learn about pop and film memorabilia, and the history of it, with our ValueMyStuff valuations and appraisals experts. Find out how it developed over the years.
Over the course of the 20th century, cinema and television brought the personalities and characters of Hollywood and the recording studio into the public consciousness like never before. The modern concept of the ‘fan’ was born along with cult followings that continued long after acting or film careers came to an end. Today, there is a market for anything closely related to the film and music industries from smashed guitars to decorative posters to costumes.
Autographs and Posters
Signed ephemera such as autograph books and signed programmes were, along with posters, some of the first items of pop and film memorabilia to be collected and are still a focus for collectors today. Autographs and posters have proved so popular partly because they are very accessible; any eager fan had a chance of getting hold of an autograph or preserving a poster and despite their lack of intrinsic value, these items hold great significance for their collectors. Such has been the demand that some figures such as Bob Dylan have since become known for denying their signatures to the public. The film and music industries were slow to capitalise on the interest many dedicated fans had in icons of their industry and the first regular high-profile auctions of pop and film memorabilia weren’t held until the 1970s and 1980s.
Beatlemania & Collectables
The Beatles are considered a market-leading brand in the field of music collectibles. Widely regarded as one of the first mass trend-setting groups in musical history, the look of The Beatles from psychedelic clothing to album art has been almost as important to their collectible history as the incredible success of their music. Beatles memorabilia is only growing in popularity as their music continues to gather new listeners. While the ‘60s is considered by many collectors to be the golden age of rock, the eras which followed it, such as glam-rock, maintained the link between iconic style and music while also growing in their association with television culture thanks to programmes such as Top of the Pops. It is unsurprising that it is the generation that grew up in this culture that forms the majority of the collectors’ community.
Icons of the Stage
The film industry naturally has more memorabilia directly associated with it due to the abundance of costumes, sets and characters that have been produced by the industry over the last 70-or-more years. The collecting tradition of film memorabilia was kickstarted in 1970 when Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, one of the biggest and oldest film studios, sold a large number of decommissioned costumes and set-pieces from as far back as the early 1930s. Now treasured and valuable items that would likely otherwise have been disposed of, this sale was an instant success and its legacy is still felt in the market today. Even unsold material, now shown to be valuable, found its way into the memorabilia market through the MGM Grand Hotel, opened in 1973 which featured memorabilia as decorations. Since the MGM auction prices have only risen and iconic items such as ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Marilyn Monroe’s dress from The Seven Year Itch (1955) have reached new heights for film memorabilia.