Love them do... Our Top Five pieces of Beatles memorabilia

As the Beatles back catalogue is finally released through iTunes, and fans around the world commemorate the anniversary of George Harrison's death this week, it seems the four lads from Liverpool will never be far from the minds of music lovers.

As each new generation discovers their albums their place in rock 'n' roll history grows in significance, which is always good news for collectors. Here are our (fab) five pieces of Beatles memorabilia:

Sgt Pepper drum skin

1) It's probably the most famous album cover of all time, and featured centre stage is the top item in our list: the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band drum skin.

Hand painted and created specifically for the cover by artist Joe Ephgrave, the drum skin was only ever used for the photo shoot.

But when it went up for auction at Christie's in 2008 it smashed its estimate nearly four times over, selling for an incredible $1.07m. Despite the fact that Ringo never even got to play it....

The Sgt Pepper drum skin, worth $1.07m

Mark Chapman's signed Lennon album

2) When John Lennon signed a copy of his Double Fantasy album for a fan on the morning of December 8, 1980, he could never have known he was signing his life away.

But that fan was Mark Chapman, who returned hours later to the Dakota Buildings and cemented his own dark place in music history by murdering his idol.

Described as "the most extraordinary artefact in rock 'n' roll history", Chapman's signed album was not only Lennon's last ever signature but also a crucial part of evidence in Chapman's trial (as it features his fingerprints). It is set to sell at auction later this month, with an astonishing estimated value of $850,000.

Chapman's signed copy of 'Double Fantasy',
which is priced at $850,000

George Harrison's guitar

3) On a less macabre note, our third item is a Gibson SG guitar owned by George Harrison. The red guitar, nicknamed 'Lucy', was used by Harrison on the recording of Revolver, and played by John Lennon during sessions for the White Album.

It was also the guitar used during the Beatles' last live performance together, on the rooftop of their Apple headquarters in 1969, and had originally been given to Harrison by his friend Eric Clapton.

Stolen from his home in the early 70s, the guitar was later returned by a musician from New Mexico who had bought it for $650. Not a bad price, as in 2004 it sold at a memorabilia auction for $576,500.

George Harrison's Gibson SG which sold for $576,500

Paul McCartney's hair

4) The Beatles were famous for their 'Mop Top' hair-styles (unfortunately inspiring a certain song by Jimmy Osmond along the way), and during the 1960s, imitation Beatle Wigs were all the rage.

These days however, fans of the Fab Four can go one step further and own an unusual piece of memorabilia: some of Paul McCartney's hair.

The idea of collecting celebrity hair dates back to the Victorian era, and the Beatles themselves are no strangers to it: in the late 70s John Lennon donated a bag of his hair to raise funds for a Black Panther commune in London.

You may not be able to afford George Harrison's guitar but McCartney's hair is available from sites such as for under £50, and is as intimate as memorabilia can get for any Beatles fan (without Ringo coming round to your house for tea).

You can pick up a piece of McCartney's hair
for under £50 here

A signed copy of A Hard Day's Night
5) The Beatles took their first foray into the cinema with the 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, and the album that accompanied it was the first to feature entirely original songs by Lennon and McCartney.

The album still sounds great to this day, but if you happen to have a signed copy it could sound even sweeter.

This copy signed by John Paul, George and Ringo is currently available for £35,000, and is sure to be a prized possesion for any Beatles collector. 

Considering the rarity of all four signatures together, combined with the fact that John Lennon's signature alone has risen by 756.1% in value over the last 10 years (according to the industry's PFC40 index), it could prove to be as much of an investment as it is a collector's item.

Signed album, The Bealtes
A signed copy of 'A Hard Day's Night'
currently available for £35,000

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