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Led Zeppelin

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 31 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 

Without a doubt the biggest rock band of the 1970s, Led Zeppelin created the most popular rock song ever with Stairway to Heaven. The combination of Robert Plant’s high, wailing voice with Jimmy Page’s dynamic lead guitar was unstoppable, over the thundering rhythm section of John Paul Jones’ bass and the drums of John Bonham.

The band ceased to exist after Bonham’s death in 1980, but has remained iconic to succeeding generations of musicians. Page and Plant have recorded and toured together on a couple of occasions since then, and the band did re-form (with Phil Collins on drums) for Live Aid in 1985.

Zeppelin memorabilia is some of the most in-demand, more than any other 70s artist, and eclipsed probably only by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. The good news is that there’s plenty of Zeppelin memorabilia for sale – albeit of varying quality – and most of it still sells for reasonable prices.

What to Buy

A ghoulish artefact, but one that’s quite reasonably priced, is a block of tickets for a Chicago concert that never happened, due to Bonham’s death. Neatly framed, it can be bought for £250, and stands as a unique item. However, whether you need the frame and multiple tickets is a matter for debate – but it’s a good way to raise the price. Presentation is everything, after all.

Posters are a good investment. It’s still perfectly possible to obtain early ones at fairly cheap prices, up to about £400, although the truly rare ones, such as a poster for a 1971 English show, can command prices over £2,000. If you’re considering buying, remember that even the cheaper ones are likely to rise in price.

Look for pre-Zeppelin items too, especially those involving Page or Plant, be it handbills, contracts, or whatever you can find. Still very inexpensive, they have the promise of increasing in value rapidly over the years.

Backstage passes can be found for anything between £15 and £30, the higher price for one from 1975, and another good investment. Concert programmes are a little more costly, around £40, whilst autographed photos will be about £85.

If you’re seeking autographs, the ideal is something signed by all four members, but these are exceptionally rare. One dealer offered a fully autographed copy of the band’s first album, in a framed display, for £1,750.

Gold and platinum albums are excellent, if you can find them. One dealer was offering an RIAA award, framed, for the box set – released well after the band had broken up – for £650. That’s a low price, but it’s more a presentation piece than an award to the band (in fact, it was given to the record company, not anyone directly involved with making the albums). Those for individual albums are much rarer, although they can be found – just make sure they have an RIAA plaque, otherwise they’re just fancy presentation albums.

Where to Buy

Surprisingly, dealers are your best bet when looking for Zeppelin merchandise. You can find a number of items in the auction houses, and, since the prices are still reasonable, bidding can be a good idea. But if you’re considering assembling a collection, then you’ll have more luck with a dealer.

There’s plenty of licensed Zep memorabilia available, especially tee shirts, other items of clothing and souvenirs. These, however, should be avoided at all costs (these are mostly what you’ll find on eBay) as they have no collectable value.

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