How do I select the memorabilia I sell?

You might find it difficult to draw a straight line between Charles Lindbergh and Madonna, two names available in my store right now.

And at first glance, it seems impossible.

But there are certain qualities I seek out in all my stock.

Here’s a little insight into what I’m looking for...

Icons are the gold standard

Most of the pieces in my store have one thing in common.

They’re connected to icons.

But what do I mean when I say that?


Icons don't get much bigger than Marilyn Monroe

Essentially, I’m talking about a person who has come to represent a certain time.

They’re not just a movie star or a politician. They stand for something much bigger.

When you think of JFK, you think of the optimism of the early 60s.

Marilyn Monroe? She’s a symbol of Hollywood’s dark glamour.

You could go your whole life without ever seeing one of her movies and still know exactly who she was.

When you really think about it, there aren’t many people you can apply this label to.

Steve Jobs is a recent one. The tech industry has changed our lives completely and he’s become its biggest star.

These are the people that buyers are really interested in.

And what’s more, they’re going to stay interested in the future.  

Mass appeal is really important  

Niche artefacts attract niche interest.

I have a couple of pieces in this category myself; including a signature from Archbishop Makarios (the first president of Cyprus) for example.

Archbishop Makarios

Archbishop Makarios: big in Cyprus, limited appeal elsewhere 

But chiefly I aim to offer pieces that appeal to a broad audience.

Big names have evergreen liquidity.

You can go to an auction house anywhere in the world, from Alaska to Zimbabwe, and sell a Marilyn Monroe autograph.

Archbishop Makarios... you may have a little more difficulty with (although you shouldn’t have much trouble in Cyprus).

It has to be easy on the eyes

When it comes down to it, memorabilia is about looks.  

You want something that looks great on your wall.

I know I do.

Signed photographs are a good example.

They tell a nice story. They (usually) show the signer in their prime.

And they look brilliant on display.

But as far as autographs go, they’re not the only things I look out for.

Ticket stubs, cheques and other documents provide interest.

They set the signer in context, enabling you to connect with what was going on in their life at the time.   

And that’s important because...

A good story is everything

In fact, it’s the ultimate item on my wish list.

But, as you may have read in my recent column on authenticating autographs, good stories are hard to come by.

Ideally we want something that connects the signer to the biggest moments in their lives.

Take this bowl and cutlery set, for example.

Gandhi bowl

This humble bowl has a breathtaking connection to history

Mahatma Gandhi used it in prison from 1942-1944.

Soon after he was freed, the British announced they would transfer power to India.

So we have an item that has a direct connection to a really important moment in history.

It’s something you can reach out and touch.

You can have a browse through all my stock here.

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