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    

Vintage 1963 Uk " The Beatles " Magazine Signed On The Front! Caiazzo CoaThe Beatles Signed Fan Club Membership Card 1963 /1964.Kylie Minogue Kiss Me Once Tour Australian Vip Pack%toy Stamp & 1980's Kiss Record Player In Original Plastic CaseVintage Iron Maiden “stranger In A Strange Land” T-shirt Double SidedPaul Mccartney & George Martin Signed Mpl Promo PostcardVintage 1977 Kiss Ace Frehley Belt Buckle Pacifica Aucoin Casablanca Records Beatles Rare 1993 Black Vinyl ' Taxman / Birthday ' 45 Near Mint Oss!Vintage Iron Maiden World Tour Shirt 1983No One Else Has This! Kurt Cobain Grohl Krist Nirvana Signed 1992 Setlist CoaGeorge Harrison Signed Astrid Kirchherr Photograph.Vintage Lot Rockabilly Blouses Skirt Devaney Harris Original Texas Western ShirtGrateful Dead Rick Griffin Hawaiian Aoxomoxoa Aor 3.116 Original HandbillVintage Tiki Bob Elvis Presley Blue Hawaii Mug Excellent Condition!U2 Very Rare Argentine Promo Gloria/is That All 7". Cat No 9339.Elvis Presley 1958 Japan Only Lp Loving You Japanese Phish Poster By Jim Pollock (2009 Madison Square Garden. New York, Ny)The Beatles Original Monthly Book No 1Elvis Presley Ultra Rare " Old Shep " Authentic One Side Promotional 45! Original 1949 Hank Williams Rare Boxing Style Concert PosterVintage 1977 Kiss Gene Simmons Belt Buckle Pacifica Aucoin Casablanca Records Beatles Sealed Official Wig With Die Cut Header Card 1964 Lowell U.s.a. Cool !!!The Who 1973 Aor 4.42 Cow Palace Bill Graham PosterThe Clash Casbah Club Tour Poster 1982 Bronco Bowl,dallas Texas Know Your RightsGeorge Harrison Signed Autograph Book Page 1989.1967 Grateful Dead Debut Album Handbill By Rick Griffin & Herb GreeneGeorge Harrison Beatles Autograph / Signature Mc5 Chambers Brothers 1967 Aor 3.140 Detroit Grande Ballroom PosterAuthentic '66 Beatles Yesterday Today Stereo 2nd State Butcher Cover - A Beauty!Bg227 Grateful Dead & Miles Davis Fillmore Concert Poster Signed By David SingerBeatles Orig. 1968 Yellow Submarine " Alarm Clock " In Great Nm Condition!Original Poster Promoting The Band’s First Official Show Under The Name NirvanaJimi Hendrix Experience 1968 Indiana Original Unused Ticket StubThe Damned Original Badge Gaye Adverts Collection ! Punk Sex Pistols Goth Stiff Paul Mccartney & Jane Asher Signed Forthcoming Attractions Card 1967 /1968.1957 Little Richard Bobby Blue Bland Big Maybelle Jimmy Reed Boxing-style PosterMadonna 4x6 Ft Bus Shelter Poster 6ft Rebel HeartBeatles Rare 1992 Red Vinyl ' Love Me Do ' 45 Near Mint Oss! %toy Stamp & 1977 Kiss Radio Mint In Original BoxHank3 Handmade Belt #49Pearl Jam Rare 1998 Adelaide Concert Poster Ames Bros Ward Sutton SignedKiss, Mobile 1980 AucoinVintage 1977 Kiss Paul Stanley Belt Buckle Pacifica Aucoin Casablanca Records New Daft Punk Mini HelmetsWidespread Panic Foil Helton Poster 2015 Oakland Ca Fox Theater Print SperryVintage 70's Kiss Lot Mego Dolls Vintage 90s Sonic Youth Tee Shirt Hysteric Astronaut XlJanis Joplin Blue Cheer Griffin 1967 Fd 79 Large Family Dog Denver Poster Kiss Mego Dolls Gene & Paul 1977 (boxes)Bts Begins Concert Photo Card Bangtan Boys - V SetRare 1963 Beatles Southern Area Fan Club Convention Programme Wimbledon LondonRoger Waters Pink Floyd The Wall Berlin 1990 Concert Box - Piece Of Wall InsideThe Grateful Dead (2) 4th Of July Tickets Side By Side Beatles Very Nice 1964 Vj " Mono Ad Back " Introducing The Beatles Album! 1953 Louis Armstrong & Benny Goodman Boxing Style Concert PosterJanis Joplin Quicksilver 1966 Fd 14 Zig-zag Man Avalon PosterMint Butterfield Blues Band 1968 Bg 72 Fillmore Poster2012 Pearl Jam Band Signed 26/7 Amsterdam Poster AutographedArch Enemy Angela's Khaos Legions Original Stage Shirt! Signed By A. GossowBeatles 1964 Complete Set Of Four Remco Dolls!