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]

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]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Beatles Orig. 1966 Mono ' Yesterday & Today ' 3rd State Butcher Cover ! Nice!Beatles 2013 Ringo Starr " Photograph " Signed Genesis Book! Daft Punk Guy Manuel Helmet With Gloves Chrome Finished - Get Lucky - Ram EraJack White - Vescovo & Co Secret London Gig Prescription Tote + Extras Third ManSonic Youth Vintage T-shirt 1989 Mudhoney Laughing Hyenas Punk Indie GrungeBeatles Ultra Rare Complete Set Of Color Photographs By Astrid KirchherrOriginal 1967 Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground Boston Tea Party Handbill PosterBeatles Outstanding 1971 U.s. John Lennon ' Imagine ' Lp Complete W Rare StickerVery Rare The Beatles / Please Please Me Lp - Gold Parlophone Label Xex 421 - 1nBeatles Very Rare Set Of 1964 Authentic ' Oldies ' 45s With Oldies Sleeves!1976 Kiss The Originals Record Album Mint SealedBeatles Orig 1st Printing ' Beatles On Vee Jay ' Hc Book! Signed & Numbered! Nm!Beatles Orig 1960s Mono " Meet The Beatles " Album Factory Sealed Beauty!Pearl Jam Guitar Pick Eddie Vedder Plectrum Used 2014 Ten Club Bat GirlBeatles Orig. 1970 U.s. Original " Let It Be " Album On The Apple Label Sealed!Beatles Ultra Rare 76 " Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl " Acetate! Different SongsBeatles 1966 Issue Of The Beatles " Revolver " Album Factory Sealed!Sex Pistols The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle 1979 Virgin / Matrixbest Film PosterThe Clash Bataclan Paris 29 September 1977 Gig Promotion PosterVintage 1983 Iron Maiden Jersey Number Of The Beast Concert Tour ShirtDave Matthews Band Poster - Chicago, Il July 4th, 2014 Northerly IslandHuge Lot Hard Rock Cafe Pin Collection 90 Pins Sets !! Most Ltd Ed Rare + BonusOriginal 1968 Vintage Rock Poster Grateful Dead Chuck Berry1975 Kiss Alive Record Album Mint SealedDave Matthews Band Poster - Chicago, July 4th 2014 (dmb Northerly Island)1977 Pacifica Kiss Ace Frehley Belt Buckle As IsHuge Lot Hard Rock Cafe Pin Collection 89 Pins Sets !! Most Ltd Ed. Rare + BonusDave Matthews Band Poster Chicago July 4 2014 Signed And Numbered! Rare!Sealed Kiss 8 Track CollectionHuge Lot Hard Rock Cafe Pin Collection 88 Pins Sets !! Most Ltd Ed. Rare + BonusPearl Jam Benaroya Hall Vinyl Lp SealedAuthentic Kiss Wardrobe BoxBeatles 2013 Ringo Starr " Photograph " Signed Genesis Book!Dave Matthews Band Methane Poster 7/4/14 Chicago Il Northerly Island Sold OutDave Matthews Band Poster - Chicago - July 4th 2014Nirvana Collector Lot - Rare Heart Shaped Box Single Hormoaning Vinyl Cd Singles311 Poster Full Regional SetJeff Wood Widespread Panic Vegas 2014 Uncut PosterWidespread Panic Poster July 4 2014 Las Vegas Jeff WoodHistorically Important Elvis Presley's Personally Owned Spiritual Book Inscribed1970s Kiss Love Gun Record Album Mint SealedLiv Warfield "the Unexpected" Official Cd Ex. Prod. By Prince Npg Records SealedMoe. Drum Head, Signed, Hand Painted By PoochVintage Iron Maiden Shirt1980s Kiss Alive Ii Record Album Mint SealedBeatles Late 1960s Issue Of The Beatles " Rubber Soul " Album Factory Sealed!New York Comic Con 2014 Nycc 4-day Ticket + Super Card Psychophathic Records Hatchman Ring Crew Icp Insane Clown Posse Twiztid RiaaLa Kiss Football Bobblehead Set! Ltd. Edition! Complete Set Of 4! Never Opened!1976 Kiss On Tour Concert Program.Metallica Decanter Set Damage Inc. 034/179Elvis Presley Personal Owned Worn Fringe Jumpsuit Beads Las Vegas Hilton Ttwii!Elvis Presley Photos From 1950's#05405(special Edition)*corgi*the Beatles"yellow Submarine&figures"&box(new Item1977 Pacifica Kiss Peter Criss Belt BuckleChicago Illinois Dmb Tour Poster.Original Dog Personally Owned By Elvis Presley Given To J.d. Sumner 1977Jimmy Page Of 'led Zeppelin.' Hand Signed 8x10" Recent Photo. C.o.a. FineKiss Peter Criss Owned & Worn Shirt From The 1980's ~ Fully Documented - Nice!2007 Coachella Silkscreen Poster #22/25 13 Color Foil 22x31 Goldenvoice By Emek