It's a happy 70th birthday for Bob Dylan - and a happy day for collectors



The landmark rock anniversaries just keep on coming... Following what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday last year, and with Hendrix's 70th lined up for 2012, Bob Dylan will today be blowin' in the 70 candles adorning his birthday cake.

Better still, the end of Bob's seventh decade among us mere mortals could equal great news for the collectibles markets... Last year, Lennon's birthday (also the 40th anniversary of his death) caused a flurry of activity and success on the collectors' markets.

Successes included a jacket Lennon wore in a 1966 Life magazine photo shoot, sold for $240,000 in December by Julien's Auctions, and an original copy of his handwritten lyrics to "A Day in The Life" which sold for $1.2m at a Sotheby's New York auction in June.


Folk legend Bob Dylan

While die-hard fans still debate when
Dylan 'hit is peak', his collectibles
still reign supreme...

Even the porcelain toilet from Lennon's Berkshire home went for £9,500 to one lucky bidder in August 2010. Proof, if any were needed, that Lennon's legacy burns as brightly as ever - and that key anniversaries can boost the liquidity of late rock stars' collectibles.

Paul Fraser Collectibles bets that similar excitement will greet Hendrix's 70th, next year. Because of this, there could be no better time to buy the guitarist's memorabilia as an alternative investment. But what about Bob?

After all, a crucial difference between Bob and John and Jimi is a that the former is still very much alive... So how does this change the way his collectibles are perceived by sellers and buyers?

The answer is good news. For instance, when high-end collectors with capital to spend tried to place a winning bid for Dylan's lyrics to his 1962 classic tune, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, in August 2009, their enthusiasm pushed its final value all the way up to $51,363.60.

This is relatively more affordable that the $1.2m netted by Lennon's A Day in The Life lyrics.

It's basically a given that Dylan is already regarded as being among the most influential figures in 20th century music, easily up there with Lennon and Hendrix. Yet because he is still alive, collectibles like his autograph are not in finite supply and are therefore more affordable.

What's more, Bob's already-cemented legacy makes it safe bet for the buyer of the $51,363 Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall lyrics - and also the collector who bought his Times They Are A-Changin' lyrics for $422,500 in December 2010 - that each piece should grow to Lennon-level values in future years.

For proof, look no further than the industry's PFC40 Autograph Index. The index shows that a signed Bob Dylan photo rose in value by 117.9% over the past 10 years.

In other words, if you bought a signed Dylan photo for £895 10 years ago, it could today be worth up to £1,950. This return on investment certainly beats anything offered by a traditional savings account.

Yet we've only looked at examples for the top ends of the markets so far. What should you look out for if you're on a lower budget?

Signed Dylan photos can be bought for as little as £950 – like this example for sale - and have risen in value by 117.9% over the past 10 years


Well, Bob's stage worn clothing isn't a bad place to start. A jacket worn by Dylan in Martin Scorsese's concert documentary The Last Waltz was sold by Cameo Auctioneers in the UK, in May 2010, for £3,760.

Or, if you're willing to venture into five figure buys, exceptionally rare versions of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan available in two slightly different formats are valued in this range. Both were scrapped after very limited factory productions after Dylan made last-minute "artistic" changes to the LP's track listing.

The mono edition is currently valued at £13,600 ($21,000), while the stereo version is valued at £23,000 ($35,000). Rest assured, both are almost sure to increase in value in future years.

So, while the folk legend is still out there and rocking the zeitgeist by touring in places like Beijing and Shanghai, there could be no better time for your as a buyer to invest your money into one of the greatest and most established rock 'n' roll legacies.


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