Here’s an interesting question, what counts as rock memorabilia ?? I pose this question because at Rokpool we are always being offered slightly off the wall, in fact off the floor (see later) items to see if we can find a fan who would just love to own this curiosity with it’s oblique connection to the rock world. Take for example a plank signed by an ex member of Joy Division, I said it was off the floor didn’t I. Ok it does have a provenance but where do you keep a plank? the owner had it under his bed so hardly on display to wow all his mates, indeed that’s why he wondered if anyone else fancied owning it. But that pales into insignificance when I think of the Court files relating to the Sid Vicious drug bust, it’s true someone had ‘found’ the files in a skip, well that’s what he said. I know a lot of Sex Pistol fans and some of them are really serious collectors but somehow this didn’t quite excite their imagination. Of course the greatest attraction is having something actually owned or touched by the icon themselves, a blood stained Johnny Rotten shirt would be very popular or what about song lyrics written in the artists own hand, John Lennon scribblings for Give Peace a Chance recently sold for well over £300,000 .
Lower down the ranking must be autographs although pretty rare it is difficult to prove that they’re not a fake unless supported by a photo unless you have confirmation from the Archbishop of Canterbury that he was there when you got it, it’s tricky to prove that it really is genuine. We recently found a home for a Sandy Denny autograph given to Luigi at The Speakeasy, Luigi is getting on a bit now but we could prove quite easily that it was genuine.
Rarity and connectivity, into that category I would put posters and famous tour tees, indeed some posters that come from way back then can fetch some extraordinary sums for what is after all a big piece of printed paper. That’s not meant to be disparaging afterall we sell them and can understand their intrinsic attraction both as a piece of history and as an attractive object.
Finally there are items that have some vague connection to the rock world such as an Abbey Road street sign, we have one looking for a Beatles enthusiast to take home, and apparently not stolen. So the question is, is that memorabilia just a piece of metal that spells out a famous album cover name or something more important?
What do you think?