If You Have This Music Memorabilia, It Could Be Worth a Lot


Kurt Cobain "Time" magazine special cover, in black and white.

Music memorabilia worth money: Here are some tips to find out if you have some – Author Anne Erickson, Photo via Anne Erickson

If you’re a fan of entertainment, chances are you have some music memorabilia sitting around. The good news is that some of those items could actually be worth a fortune. If you’re curious about whether your memorabilia is worth anything, we have a list of a few things to ask yourself about those items. How cool is it that something you purchased years ago just for fun could actually be worth a lot of cash?

These items are probably not worth a lot

Before we get to the riches, let’s look at items that probably aren’t worth a lot of money. Heritage Auctions is the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. They have some helpful guidelines for items that they won’t accept. It might not be what you think, too. For one, they don’t usually accept autographs from newer stars from TV, movies and music. They also don’t take records made after 1975. Those were likely so mass produced that they aren’t worth much. They also don’t usually take sheet music; recent unsigned photos; antique musical instruments; classical records and programs; and commercial 16mm and 8mm films. That said, Heritage Auctions does sell some very vintage and rare musical instruments, such as Dan Fogelberg’s 1958 Gretsch White Penguin 6134 Solid Body Electric Guitar and the 1977 Gibson Les Paul Pro-Deluxe that Neal Schon used on Journey’s singles “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Stone in Love,” and “Who’s Crying Now.”

Music memorabilia worth money

Onto the stuff that could really be worth something. Heritage Auctions says they gladly accept stage or screen-worn costumes from famed musicians; performance-used musical instruments by Major Artists; gold and platinum records; signed contracts and documents; annotated scrips; and rare records released before 1970. The 1960s were really the golden age of vinyl records that are worth a fortune. They also take unpublished or candid photos of major stars; film props from classic movies; original art from celebrities; handwritten letters or lyrics from stars; rare concert posers and handbills; and cover art for classic records. I have some vintage vinyl records from the 1960s that my mom has in storage, but I don’t believe any of them are very rare.

These musical artists are worth the most

Finally, there are certain musicians and bands that are simply worth more than others. Heritage Auctions says that they accept all quality items from a select handful of musicians. Those include the Beatles, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. Also, they take items from early blues and jazz pioneers. For example, the guitar that John Lennon used to write several of The Beatles’ early hits, including “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” sold at auction in 2015 for $2.41 million, TheMemorabiliaClub.com says.

It’s not a surprise that these artists draw the most interest, as they’re arguably the biggest musicians and bands in the world. Also, most of them aren’t living anymore. I would also add Nirvana to that list, as many of Kurt Cobain’s items have sold at auction for massive price tags.

Also, Heritage Auctions notes that, “Music memorabilia, especially those pieces associated with rock and roll, blues and jazz icons have achieved soaring results in both prices and escalating interest.” They add that, “Stage-worn costumes, performance-used instruments, music posters, autographs, hand-written lyrics, rare records, and awards are fast escalating in value.”

So, the next time you’re cleaning your house and find some memorabilia sitting around, take a second look at it. Also, even if the items that you have aren’t mentioned above, if you’re curious, take them to a local collectible buyer and trader that you trust and ask them for the worth. You could be surprised that you’re sitting on a goldmine. Note that a certain selection of vinyl records are super valuable, too.

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Music, Rock, Rock News