The Rolling Stones
Well over 40 years after they formed the Stones are still rolling, a bigger and more powerful machine than ever, generating millions of pounds each year. Their tours are certified money makers.
Symbolism of RebellionExcept for the Beatles, probably no British rock group has been so iconic. But for collectors, it’s the two early periods, first with Brian Jones, and then with Mick Taylor, that hold the real interest. Already hailed as the world’s great rock band, these were the most creative days of the group, when they symbolised rebellion.
Yet, in spite of their exalted status, prices for Stones memorabilia don’t begin to touch that of their biggest 1960s rivals. Why? The probable reason is the fact that they’re still going, a musical juggernaut that shows no sign of stopping. Prices are always higher when a band no longer exists. Even material relating to Brian Jones, the original member who died in 1969, surprisingly doesn’t generate significantly high figures.
What To BuyMost things are quite affordable, and, if you can hang onto them for several years, might represent a good investment. A copy of the 1981 album Tattoo You, signed by all the members who played on it, is a steal at £250.
Go back to the original line up, and you can get a complete set of autographs from £500 – 800 – very reasonable compared to the Beatles. Even sets of old photos don’t go for premium prices, and you can pick up a vintage autographed picture of Mick Jagger for a little over £100.
That said, some items can raise prices in the thousands. The top hat Jagger wore on a 1972 tour fetched £2700 at auction, but that’s the exception, rather than the rule, as a scarf he wore two years later only managed £600.
Keith Richards items sell relatively briskly, but again the prices aren’t that high - £75 for a signed photo, for instance, and at £1000 a signed guitar (not one he’d played) wasn’t being snapped up.
Vintage tee shirts and backstage passes are available from some dealers, generally in the £20-40 range.A lot of dealers ask higher prices for items. However, visit their sites several times over the months and you’ll see that they don’t sell quickly.
Where To BuyYou’re mostly going to find items from dealers and auction houses. Because of the low prices, don’t be afraid of auction houses with Stones memorabilia; even with the buyer’s premium, items won’t drain your bank account.
With dealers, it pays to look around. Some have realistic prices, others are hopeful. If you see something you want, it can’t hurt to put in an offer. If the item’s been sitting a while, your offer – if it’s reasonable – might well be accepted.
It’s worth keeping an eye on EBay, but be very sceptical of items offered. There are plenty of fakes out there. However, given the relatively low value of Stones items, it might be possible to pick up an occasional bargain.
One of the big questions with Stones memorabilia is how great a potential investment it might be. The band has lasted longer than anyone (probably even themselves) expected, but it can’t go on forever. Material is cheap enough to amass a sizeable collection, but you’ll probably need to hang on to it for about a decade for prices to rise significantly. If you’re willing to do that, then it can represent some of the best bargains currently available.