During the all-too-brief 10-year run of the Beatles, the world received some 200 songs that many of us can still sing and hum. Even greater volumes of Beatles memorabilia was cranked out to capitalize on the band’s extraordinary popularity. Today, many of these items of clothing, tableware, school supplies, trading cards, and jewelry are highly collectible.
Beatles records aside, the crush of memorabilia got serious in 1964. That was the year the Beatles first toured the United States. Brass barrettes for girls and autographed beach hats for boys were among the articles offered to fans. Cloth or vinyl purses and handbags, stamped with autographs and likenesses of the Fab Four, were especially popular.
Even more collectible today are some of the printed dresses from Holland produced in that pivotal year. And the Ringo boots and caps, as well as other "Beatles Authentic Mod Fashions" were designed to bring a bit of Carnaby Street to Smalltown, U.S.A.
For many Beatles collectors, the ephemera and paper associated with a concert is the most important thing. The Beatles did not begin their career in the early 1960s as headliners, which is why artists like Little Richard often appear on the covers of programs published for those events. One tour in 1963 began with the Beatles playing second bill to Roy Orbison, with the program reflecting that hierarchy. Halfway through the tour, though, the billing was switched and new programs were printed to reflect the change.
Other programs of particular interest to collectors of Beatles memorabilia are those for performances at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London in 1963 (where John Lennon made his famous "rattle your jewelry" crack) and Carnegie Hall in 1964.
Tickets and posters for these shows are also collectible. In general, the larger the ticket, the more valuable it is, and tickets with the word "Beatles" on them and a picture of the boys are always worth more than those without.
Very few Beatles shows had posters printed for them in the way we think of concert posters today. An exception to this rule was the poster for what would be the Beatles final live appearance in 1966 at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. With artwork by Wes Wilson, who would go on to design the first 50 or so posters for Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium, this poster was printed in a run that may have been as small as 300, which makes them one of the most sought-after music posters today...
Other types of 1964 Beatles collectibles are the bamboo plates, plastic ashtrays, ceramic candy dishes, and glassware. All were treated as canvases for portraits of the band or individual members. Corkstoppers in the shapes of John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s heads were also manufactured.
Jewelry items such as charm bracelets and necklaces were created to give the legions of screaming female fans a way to show their allegiance to their idols; the boys got cuff links and tie tacks. And then there were the grooming products, from hair gel to pocket combs to talcum powder to bubble bath and shampoo.
Plastic toys and musical instruments were big sellers, and are highly prized today. There were Beatles banjos, Beatles bongo drums, Beatles guitars, and even Beatles guitar strings. Want a pennant for your bedroom? There were dozens to choose from. How about a poster? Today’s collectors can choose the famous shot of the lads posed in a doorway for their London Palladium show in 1963 (although originals of this are difficult to come by) or any of the four psychedelic photos produced in 1968 by Richard Avedon for Look magazine.
In the mid-1960s, school supplies such as lunch boxes and pencils were all the rage, as were "Bobb’n Head" dolls. Revell made models, Topps printed trading cards packed with bubble gum, and several special series of cards were issued to coincide with the release of A Hard Day’s Night.
In fact, Beatles movie memorabilia is almost a category unto itself. In addition to 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night there was Help! in 1965. But the animated Yellow Submarine in 1968 spawned an even greater stream of posters and puzzles, clocks and costumes, stickers and yet more school supplies.
Last, but certainly not least, are the objects associated with membership in the Official Beatles Fan Club. Collectibles include the cards, of course, the 7-inch "flexi-disc" Christmas records, the Booklets and Bulletins, and the photo albums of individual Beatles printed in 1965.
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Sgt Pepper's biggest fanThe Star Online, March 10th
Foo (second from left) and his children (from left to right) Yin Ying, Kam Wai and Shannon wearing Beatles t-shirts as they look at his enormous collection of Beatles memorabilia. THE Beatles are no longer around but Beatlemania is still alive in...Read more
Row over Beatles memorabiliaITV News, March 5th
The Mayor of Liverpool's demanded an apology from Conservative MP Brandon Lewis, who accused the City Council of spending £2m on Beatles memorabilia. Joe Anderson claims the allegation is 'blatantly' untrue and says he wants a personal apology in ...Read more
Beatles Piano Used While Filming 'Help!' To Be AuctionedK-Earth 101 FM, March 4th
The piano, which McCartney used to compose the song "Yesterday" is part of an auction of over 200 lots of rare Beatles memorabilia and vinyl records and is expected to sell for over £50,000. The auction is set to be hosted by Omega Auctions on March 20...Read more
Beatles collector specializes in 'offbeat' memorabiliaSippican Week, March 2nd
Some people have a room full of Beatles memorabilia. Jim Cushman falls into that last category. Cushman, a Mattapoisett resident and native of Middleboro, has an extensive Beatles collection that includes a pair of John Lennon's long johns , a locket...Read more
Leading UK Beatles Dealers on the Search for Beatles Autographs and ...PR Web (press release), February 28th
We are always looking to appraise or purchase items of Beatles memorabilia including Beatles autographs, concert memorabilia such as posters, handbills, programmes and tickets, lyrics, artwork, Fan Club ephemera, record company promotional material, ...Read more
Beatles memorabilia yours for a cool millionMontreal Gazette, February 11th
A large piece of stage backdrop autographed by the Beatles during their first live North American concert 50 years ago is headed to auction, where it could draw $800,000 to $1 million. Face caricatures accompany the signatures that the Fab Four penned ...Read more
Beatles Memorabilia for Sale Surges With 50th Anniversary of First US VisitYahoo Music (blog), February 10th
Beatles for Sale was the name of one of the Fab Four's 1964 albums, but it also could be used to sum up what's occurring with all the renewed interest in the band surrounding the 50th anniversary of their arrival in America. "There's a lot of hype...Read more
Doug Clark: Beatles fans share their memories and memorabiliaThe Spokesman Review, February 9th
The Spokesman-Review and Spokesman.com are happy to assist you. Contact Customer Service by email or call 800-338-8801. Beatles memorabilia collector Johnny Erp talks about his collection Friday at his home in Spokane. (Full-size photo)(All photos)...Read more