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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50-year look back shows Beatles pandemonium in A.C.Cherry Hill Courier Post, August 29th
Judie Sims, left, and Judith Kristen, right, show their Beatles memorabilia and collectibles at the British Chip Shop in Haddonfield. (Photo: Jose F. Moreno/Courier-Post). The time and set list remained similar throughout the band's opening North...Read more
Beatles tunes featured at 'Lanesboro Live'Post-Bulletin, August 28th
Nathan Davidson, a member of the show's house band, will talk about his Beatles experiences, share some of his Beatles memorabilia, and lead the band in laying Beatles songs. The band will also play "Pride and Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan and "Angel ...Read more
Festival to Celebrate the Anniversary of the Beatles' Weekend in AltonWayne County Journal Banner, August 28th
An exhibition of artifacts from the Beatles' visit to Pigman Ranch and Beatles memorabilia collections will be exhibited at the Alton High School FEMA building from 11:00-5:00 on Saturday during the Ozarks Beatlemania Festival. All memorabilia will be ...Read more
'Fab Four' memorabilia event to benefit food pantryWicked Local Mattapoisett, August 27th
TRI-TOWNS – Local Beatles historian and collector Jim Cushman, along with Old Rochester Community Television (ORCTV), invite you to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance in New England by joining with them Saturday, Sept...Read more
Rare Beatles memorabilia flogged for thousands of pounds at auctionLiverpool Echo, August 24th
Sir Paul McCartney's old school photos, a Christmas card to Ringo Starr from his first wife and a set of autographs were among the items to sell for thousands of pounds. The auction was held at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and was...Read more
'Wizard Of Oz,' Marilyn Monroe And Beatles Memorabilia To Be Sold At Beverly ...Forbes, August 22nd
Heritage Auctions' entertainment and music memorabilia auction in Beverly Hills, Calif., August 23, will feature behind-the-scenes items from some of the most beloved films ever made, as well as memorabilia associated with iconic musical performers...Read more
A Day in the Life: Beatles' 1966 Candlestick Concert "Forever" Etched in ...NBC Bay Area, August 13th
“Everybody on the bus was so happy and singing Beatles songs,” Bandoni recalled, sitting in his trailer home in Pleasant Hill, surrounded by Beatles memorabilia. The stage was close to second base, Bandoni remembered. The band seemed a mile away ...Read more
Rare photos of The Beatles to be auctionedThe Hindu, August 11th
The photographs are part of a series of recently discovered snaps of the band at the beginning of their career, which will be sold at the 2014 Liverpool Beatles Memorabilia Auction. All 330 items will go under the hammer at the Paul MCCartney...Read more