In so many ways, music is the soundtrack of our lives—whether we're driving in the car or settled into a cushioned seat in a concert hall. But for many serious fans, music is just as much about collectibles and memorabilia as it is about choruses and melodies.

Music collectibles can encompass almost anything: vintage records, ticket stubs, concert posters, T-shirts, and even artists’ clothes, not to mention signed paraphernalia. Some bands, like KISS, have also released board games, comics, and more.

The original kings of rock ’n’ roll marketing were the Beatles. As Beatlemania reached full swing in 1963 and 1964, dozens of companies—some authorized, some not—began releasing machine-autographed beach hats, purses, charm bracelets, trading cards, and even hair gel. Aside from the merchandise, Beatles collectors are often eager to obtain ticket stubs and rare posters, like the one Wes Wilson created for the group’s final live performance on tour at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966.

Of course, anything even remotely connected to one of the Fab Four is also highly desirable. In fact, a copy of John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to “A Day in the Life” sold at Sotheby’s for $1.2 million in June 2010.

Each age has its superstars, and Elvis and Michael Jackson rivaled the Beatles in their own heydays. Jackson’s memorabilia draws on the appeal of both his music and his edgy image—rare vinyl records are on par with the clothes he wore, like the famous red leather jacket from the music video for “Beat It.” For Elvis collectors, mint condition 45s from his Sun Records years are highly sought after, alongside even more rare items from his famously flamboyant wardrobe.

While not as popular nationwide, the Grateful Dead boast their own legion of devoted followers (called Deadheads, of course) who prize ticket stubs, postcards, and especially handbills advertising Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests from 1965 to 1967. In particular, Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse created some of the most iconic, and beautiful, concert posters for the Grateful Dead’s shows at the Avalon Ballroom, while Wilson, David Singer, Lee Conklin, and others produced Fillmore posters that were emblematic of the psychedelic style then and are much-desired collectibles now.

Indeed, posters from almost any period and for almost any genre—rock, jazz, orchestral, and country, to name but a few—have become iconic symbols of the music they advertise. In particular, 1960s rock posters for artists like Jimi Hendrix (Rick Griffin’s “Flying Eyeball” is one of the most famous images in rock), Pink Floyd (the early Hapshash and the Coloured Coat posters for the band are late-'60s classics), and Cream helped define the visual aesthetic of a sonic revolution...

More recently, Jim Pollock's posters for Phish have become quite collectible, as have posters produced by the Ames Bros. for Pearl Jam, and just about anything Emek makes for practically anyone.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Remember Eddie Cochran

Remember Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran died in 1960 at the age of 21, but his legacy lives on at Remember Eddie Cochran. The site pays tribu… [read review or visit site]

Fillmore and Avalon Collection

Fillmore and Avalon Collection

Wish you'd visited San Francisco in the late 1960s? Get a quick hit with this comprehensive collection of psychedel… [read review or visit site]

Dylanstubs.com

Dylanstubs.com

Hey babe, check out this database of over 2,900 Bob Dylan ticket stubs and concert posters, assembled with the help… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks Signed By John, Sid, Paul & Steve OriginalBeatles Mega Rare February 1963 Issue ' Love Me Do ' Canadian 45! Very 1st IssueBeatles Rare 1966 ' Yesterday & Today ' In Store Butcher Cover Promo PosterBeatles Vintage 1968 ' Yellow Submarine ' Alarm Clock! Works Great! Kiss At The Park Poster 1980 Australian Tour Beatles Orig 1964 U.s. ' Why ' Mgm Records Vg++ Picture Sleeve & Near Mint 45!Madonna Celebration Promo Pop Up Box Very Rare Promo Item 2 Cd + 2 DvdOriginal White Zombie Video Prop Signed By Rob ZombieOblique Strategies CardsBeatles Mint ' Beatles On Capitol ' Slip Case Set Of Lps & 45s Books Signed! The Clash - Give Em Enough Rope Signed By Joe Mick Paul & TopperBeatles Vintage Mint ' Beatles On Vee Jay ' Hard Cover First Print Book Signed!Pearl Jam W The Black Keyes Madison Square Garden May 21, 2010 Ames PosterThe Beatles In The Studio Photograph By Linda Mccartney 1968 Honey PieBeatles Vintage 1964 U.s. Vj ' Introducing The Beatles ' Mono Ver 2 Sw / Nm-!!Queen Uk Bicycle Race Fat Bottomed Girls Emi Promo Poster Brian ‘nudger’ SpencerBeatles Ultra Rare 1970 Special Fan Club Insert Set For The Christmas Lp! W OrigQueen Freddie Mercury Signed Mr Bad Guy Lp Record Cover FramedQueen Rega Very Rare Limited Edition Turn-table Sealed In Box NumberedQueen Concerts West Usa Tour Bag 1970s Brian ‘nudger’ Spencer CollectionThe Beatles Vintage Colour Snapshot Photograph 1963 Liverpool Mersey Sound❤george Michael❤bare. The Biography. Must Have Gm Collectible. 1st Edition. WhamVintage And Contemporary Gig Poster/art Print Lot (50+ Prints) Emek, JermaineAutographed Shannon Hoon/blind Melon Poster Over 20 Years Old4x Kiss Posters 1980 Aucoin Mgt Aussie Army Tour Ace Paul Eric Criss Make UpBeatles Orig 1964 Hong Kong Four Inch Nodder Dolls Sealed On The Card!Queen Freddie Mercury 1970s Usa Tour Polaroid Photograph Brian Nudger SpencerRare 1981 Van Halen Black Light Velvet Dayglo Poster W/sparkles No ReserveBts Bangtan Boys Bts 2017 Season's Greetings Official Suga Photo CardKiss Scrapbook Early 1980s Australia Beatles Outstanding 1964 ' If I Fell ' East Coast Picture Sleeve Nm W 45Rare Vintage 1990s Morrissey Tour Concert Paper Thin Ringer T Shirt The SmithsOriginal Here Comes The Beatles Candlestick Park Poster Signed By Wes Wilson1973 Elvis Presley Las Vegas 3am Show Post Fillmore Concert PosterBeatles Stunning Vintage 1965 ' The Early Beatles ' Stereo Lp Sw / Nm! Great!Widespread Panic Tunes For Tots Poster Roadmap Variant Ryman Nashville Tn 12/29Vintage And Contemporary Gig Poster/art Print Lot (50+ Prints) Emek, KlausenPhish Artist David Welker Msg Nyc Nye 2016 2017 Poster Print #/1000 Mint Run BIron Maiden Somewhere In Time Cyborg Eddie 18" Action Figure Neca 2005 Mib NrfbGeorge Michael **symphonica** Tour Programme & Deluxe Book Style Edition CdPearl Jam 2006 5/12/06 Ames Bros Concert Poster Albany, Ny 2006 Nirvana Incesticide Cd 1993 Hand Signed Autographed Kurt Cobain Rare Loa Coa Bg171 Jefferson Airplane Grateful Dead Fillmore Concert Poster Signed By TutenVintage And Contemporary Gig Poster/art Print Lot (50+ Prints) Emek, Ames, PmSex Pistols God Save The Queen T-shirt Vintage Late 70s Early 80s CollectibleBeatles 1991 Apple Corps Hamilton Ltd Statues FigurinesPearl Jam - 2014 - Moline, Il. - Artist Print Poster - Rare - The Beatles - Wing Dings Sneakers - Vintage - In Box W/ Original Receipt And AdJohn Lennon Authentic Autograph Signed 1964 In His Own Write BookFrank Ocean Blonde Magazine Boys Don't Cry Issue 1 With Cd **ready To Ship**Beatles Outstanding 1967 ' All You Need Is Love ' East Coast Ps! Oss! W 45Duran Duran Fan Club Pack 1981/2 Inc. Various Cards, Newsletters, Photos Etc.Queen 1979 Live Killers Promotional Frisbee Brian ‘nudger’ Spencer CollectionMadonna Vogue / Rare 12 Inch Promo Hong KongJeffrey Lee Pierce Go Tell The Mountain: The Stories & Lyrics Rare Book Gun ClubBeatles Orig 1969 John Lennon / Yoko Ono ' Cold Turkey ' Picture Sleeve & 45 Nm!David Bowie Blackstar Lithographs X 3 Collection Joblot David Bowie Vinyl Ziggy Scary Monsters Lets Dance Life On MarsVery Rare Mint Johnny Cash 1964 Boxing Style Concert PosterPearl Jam Official Stocking Cap 2014 Tour Moline Winter Hat Beanie