How Do You Value Music Memorabilia?

A sound provenance is of paramount importance


The recent discovery of John Lennon’s Help! Guitar would no doubt have you wondering how do you value music memorabilia? Thought to be lost, the Framus 12-string Hootenanny acoustic guitar was unearthed in a loft during a house move and is expected to achieve well in excess of £600,000 when it goes to auction! Indeed, many enthusiasts expect this guitar to surpass previous achievements and set a new world record for such an item of memorabilia sold at auction.


The Rolling Stones: an original early 1960s promotional concert poster

Sold for £30,000

Let’s take a closer look at what determines the value of music memorabilia…

Whether vintage or current, from autographs, album covers, ticket stubs, posters, instruments, handwritten items including lyrics, photographs, flyers, awards, and personal items, there is no limit to the items that are considered collectable in today’s market.

Music has become such an integral part of modern society; and in this modern digital age, it is almost impossible not to have heard and instantly recognise a tune or two from some of the biggest names in the 20th century. Music memorabilia collectors come from every walk of life, bringing together a global band of enthusiasts from every conceivable background, united in their love of an artist and resulting in a thriving international market of vast demand.


The Beatles: an original black and white signed postcard

Sold for £7,200


Some of the most popular names in this collector’s circle include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, Queen, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Elvis, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Pink Floyd, The Who, Freddie Mercury, Jim Morrison and many more.

Due to the nature and relatively young age of the music memorabilia industry there are unfortunately many fakes in circulation. Therefore, a sound provenance is of paramount importance, indeed, the existence of an established link between an item and a musician will provide authenticity for this type of collectable.


A Unique Cort acoustic guitar signed by Sir Paul McCartney and Idris Elba 

Sold for £10,500


Other crucial aspects are the rarity of the item and who it is associated with, as well as the historical significance of the piece. If you own a signed photograph of an obscure band that isn’t well known, the value is not likely to be significant, whereas if you were in possession of stage costume known to be worn by Freddie Mercury during Queen's sell-out 1986 “Magic” European tour, the actual value would be considerably higher than the outfit alone. Similarly, if you have an album by a top band or musician but they exist in vast quantities the value will be less.

The condition also plays a requisite role in the value, if the item has wear or damage that has occurred from poor storage, it can devalue the piece. However, if the condition has been inflicted by the music icon directly, this could increase the value. Consider a guitar destroyed by Jimi Hendrix on stage, the historical significance outweighs the intrinsic value.

The nostalgia evoked is what drives demand, collectors and enthusiasts alike want to be closer to their favourite bands or musicians, and with each emerging generation the popularity of music memorabilia continues to grow. A reputable dealer or auction house (like Dawsons) will be able to provide support and advice when identifying and validating the authenticity, we would always recommend consulting with an expert in this field.


Read More 

How to Sell Music Memorabilia

Is Autographed Memorabilia Worth Anything?

Dawsons Sell Rolling Stones Poster for £30,000!


Are you considering selling any music memorabilia?

With access to a huge global audience of known buyers, Dawsons can secure the best price for you.

Get in touch with an expert Valuer today for confidential sales advice, we would be delighted to help:

0207 431 9445 /