Whether it’s a guitar once strummed by Jimi Hendrix, or a hankie that wiped the sweat from Elvis’ brow, Rock n Roll memorabilia has been a huge market for decades, and as long as there are stars and there are fans, it will continue to grow at a vast rate of knots. While few pieces of memorabilia are actually one of a kind, there are many that are rare and can be very hard to find.
Memorabilia can be found in all shapes and forms and while some collections are made public, in bars, restaurants etc, others are kept behind lock and key for the enjoyment of their owner only. Many rock stars themselves have the best collections, but unlike Joe public, they are often given these fine rarities as gifts, there’s no trawling around the Internet trying to track down authentic items for these guys.
That is the key word when it comes to collecting rock n roll memorabilia, or any other kind of memorabilia for that matter; authenticity. This is the hardest thing to clarify, especially if you are buying online. For every genuine item of memorabilia out there you will find around a dozen fakes that to the untrained eye will look like the real deal, and these conmen pray on it.
Whether you are searching for a piece of memorabilia do your homework, not just a quick look either, an in depth search. This may seem like a lot of hassle but if you are considering spending thousands of pounds, or even hundreds, you want to take every precaution necessary to make sure you aren’t getting ripped off and aren’t left with a pair of cheap imitation drum sticks instead of the pair belonging to Keith Moon you thought you had bought.
The first step is to check out the seller. Genuine memorabilia traders will have a good reputation and will have done all the donkey work for you, if it is a private seller the process is rather more complicated. Letters can easily be forged; photos cannot, so ask to see photos of the star using the item, and also photos of the star with the seller to show that they actually met them. This is a veritable minefield if you rush into it without thinking, and where you can stick with a reputable dealer so you know you are getting the real thing.
Autographs are another popular area where cons are rife, and even the most authentic looking autograph books full of stellar names have been proven to be fakes. Once again you should be going down the reputable dealer road, as they will have already done the checks.
Another clue is in the price, you will invariably pay more from a dealer, but if they have a John Lennon for £1000 and someone else is selling one for £20, it’s a bit of a give away. Look for clue in the photos the seller is providing as evidence, look at what is in the background, clothes worn and any kind of ‘photo shopping’. A modern digital image of someone who died 20 years ago is a pretty big clue that it’s a fake.