Will Taylor Swift be a 'material girl' for future generations of collectors?

Taylor Swift mania has gripped the internet - but the teen pop star has some way to go before she's in the league of The Beatles or Madonna.  

According to Google, she is one of the top searches on the web today as fans search for her latest single, Mine, released from her upcoming Speak Now album.

The original Material Girl, Madonna
(photographed by Herb Ritts)

Since she burst onto the scene in 2006, Swift has won four Grammy awards. In 2008, she was the best-selling musician in the United States, and Forbes ranked her 2009's 69th-most powerful celebrity with reported earnings of $18m.

These are certainly no minor feats for a 20-year-old woman in the fickle world of pop - but the question for collectors is: 'should we invest in her memorabilia?'

Well, the answer boils down to two things: impact and longevity - these are the two factors you should consider when weighing up a pop star as a potential investment.

For instance, since the release of her debut album in 1983, Madonna is today one of the most investible pop stars in the collectibles markets.  She's released 11 albums, has influenced fashion and other artists, and has a number of genuine pop classics in her back catalogue.

Grammy Award winner Taylor
Swift - the next Madonna, or the
next Debbie Gibson?

What's more, according to the PFC40 autograph index, the Queen of Pop's autographs have seen an increase in value of 138.7% in the last decade. In other words, if you purchased her autograph for £375 in the year 2000, it could today be worth £895.

Elsewhere, a white wedding dress, worn by Madonna during her 1984 Like A Virgin tour was sold via the New York-based Gotta Have It auction house for £3,750 ($5,662).

More recent garments - like a leather jacket from rehearsals of the 1990 "Blonde Ambition" tour which sold for £500 ($777) at a 2005 Bonhams auction - can be acquired for less money, and are also likely to appreciate in value.

Put simply, Madonna is likely to leave a legacy in her wake - like Michael Jackson - and has had far more impact on the pop culture landscape than other '80s pop princesses like Tiffany or Debbie Gibson.

Already making her mark: a signed piano donated by Lady Gaga to a
charity auction sold priced at $75,000

So, will Taylor Swift emerge as the next Madonna, influencing the culture around her and releasing songs that will be listened to by future generations? Or will she be the next Debbie Gibson, scoring hit singles and breaking records in her early years before retreating from the limelight?

One lady who isn't likely to retreat from the limelight any time soon is Lady Gaga.

Voted the #1 influential entertainer in Time Magazine's annual Time 100 listing of 2010, and #5 in its 'all time' list, a signed piano by the star sold in a CharityBuzz auction priced at $75,000.


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