Top Five: collectible icons from history with big anniversaries in 2012

One of our exclusive feature articles in this week's newsletter focuses on the bicentennial of Charles Dickens - February 7 will mark 200 years since the birth of the Victorian era's greatest novelist. But he isn't the only important historical figure who'll be marking an important anniversary this year.

Anniversaries can be a big deal in the collectibles markets. We saw this with John Lennon's 70th birthday (also the 30th anniversary of his death) in 2010.

To mark the occasion, Lennon's estate set about reissuing the late Beatle's solo albums. New books were released. Magazines ran cover stories about the star's ongoing legacy. Meanwhile, collectors also go involved...

This resulted in some big auction sales. Lennon's handwritten lyrics to "A Day in The Life" sold for $1.2m at Sotheby's in June 2010. And December saw a jacket Lennon wore in a 1966 Life magazine photo shoot bring $240,000.

2010 was clearly 'Lennon's year'. But which celebrity septuagenarians can we expect see more of in 2012? Here are a few...

#5. James Bond '007' - the spy who collectors love

Bond fans eagerly await 007's next big screen adventure, Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig. But the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England, is looking the other way. The museum's Bond In Motion expo is celebrating 50 years of the secret agent.

It stars the world's largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles: 50 vehicles for each of the franchise's years. Big stars include the classic Aston Martin driven by Sean Connery in 1964's Goldfinger and Roger Moore's famous "submarine" Lotus Esprit from 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me.

Another gadget-laden Goldfinger Aston Martin was sold to a private buyer for £2.6m in 2010. But you don't need to be a multi-millionaire to enjoy Bond collectibles. We have a number of Bond autographs for sale at just three figure sums. Here's an example...  

Sean Connery Autograph’s – for sale priced at £200


#4. Muhammad Ali - still 'the Greatest' for memorabilia buyers

Muhammed Ali's 'Fight of the Century' trunks sold for a $173,102 World Record price as recently as 2011. And you can expect to see more auction successes from 'the Greatest' in 2012.

In fact, Ali's rare collectibles rose in value by 8.25%, on average, throughout 2011. This was more than the stock markets. Ali remains a great performer on the collectibles markets - just look at his past sales.

The robe Ali wore into the ring before knocking out Chuck Wepner-March in 1975 brought $30,000, above its $8,000 estimate, in 2005. And a pair of early training gloves, signed "Cassius Clay", sold for $22,000 in 2010, $18,000 above the estimate.

#3. Sir Paul McCartney - still please, pleasing collectors

Like Lennon in 2010, McCartney turns 70 this year. While many of his '60s contemporaries have either died or passed into obscurity, Macca is still packing out large-scale gigs and releasing records, most recently his covers album, Kisses on the Bottom.

The autographs of dead signers tend to appreciate in value more than living signers, because their signatures are in finite supply. Nevertheless, McCartney's status as an 'international treasure' means his autograph is going strong. It rose in value by 16.67% in 2011.

That's an average increase of £1,500 to 1,750. What should you look for in a McCartney signature? We'd recommend that 'classic era' images are the best buys, ideally from his years in the Beatles. Or here's another great shot taken by Paul's late wife Linda McCartney...

A Paul McCartney autographed photograph for sale priced at £1,000


#2. Jimi Hendrix - you a great Experience at auction

Like Paul McCartney, Hendrix would have turned 70 this year. Thirty-two years after his death, the axe hero's legacy is stronger than ever with constant new releases of his music, and even a bronze memorial statue in his native city of Seattle.

As with John Lennon, Hendrix is no longer around to sign autographs. Therefore his collectibles are in finite supply, and growing demand puts pressure on the prices. Great Hendrix pieces we have for sale at Paul Fraser Collectibles include this rare autograph priced at just £1,950.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s rare autographs – for sale priced at £4,500


#1. Marilyn Monroe - collectors still prefer blondes

August 5 will mark the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's sad passing, aged just 36. Yet, in those 36 years, the Some Like It Hot star established a career and legacy which is still loved and admired by fans and collectors to this day.

Last year, a Monroe memorabilia piece achieved a new World Record price at auction. Her dress from The Seven Year Itch - from the scene when she dances above the grate - brought a whopping $5.6m.

Equally impressive is the sheer variety of Monroe collectibles that you can buy. These range from more 'traditional' collectibles like autographs, to more unusual memorabilia pieces like signed cheques and even her hair (see below).

An authentic strand of Marilyn Monroe’s hair is priced at £49.95 - find out more here

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