Does Beatles memorabilia have an expiration date?

Even now, well over 50 years after they released their first explosive single, the Beatles remain one of the most popular bands on the planet.

You can expect to pay thousands of dollars for an autograph and millions for a key instrument or set of lyrics.

But the question I’m asking today, is will this state of affairs be permanent?

It’s a key question for investors.

After all, the Baby Boomers aren’t getting any younger. Is the rising value of Beatles memorabilia a last hurrah? Or is this a market with real staying power?

Let’s find out.


Yes, music is in part generational.

It goes without saying that the music we associate with our younger years exerts a powerful hold. It’s a soundtrack to so many “firsts”.

Beatles america 1960s

The Beatles arriving in America in 1964 (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

First car, first concert, first kiss...

Many people who were around at the time remember exactly where they were when they heard the Beatles for the first time.

The sound was so joyous and new, so different from anything that had come before. As a result of this historical impact, many of the most valuable pieces of Beatles memorabilia are destined to end up in museums. Competition will be fierce as institutions and well heeled individuals compete to acquire the best.

But, crucially, the question isn’t so much about history.

Breaking the barrier

Every now and then you get an artist that steps outside of those narrow generational boundaries.

Beatles Sgt Pepper

Each Beatles album built on the previous one (Image: Flickr)

Lennon and McCartney achieved that rare feat of writing songs that stand outside of time. They’re of their moment, but apart from it. They rewrote the pop music rulebook, with each album building on the last. Their inclusion of avant garde and psychedelic elements gave them a cachet that’s not extended to some of their contemporaries.

Every generation of musicians since has paid homage to the Beatles in some way. As a result, the pool of fans is endlessly refreshed. You see the same effect with David Bowie, a musician who remains as popular with young people today as he is with his older fan base.

Something universal in the music erodes the usual barriers.

The mythology of those albums still connect.

Those sunshine melodies that occasionally drift into melancholy.

The fan base is growing

Kids the world over are digging into their parents' vinyl collections or online streaming services and discovering Revolver and Sgt Pepper for the first time.

Beatles statue Liverpool

The Beatles are as popular today as they were in the 1960s (Image: Pixabay)

In 2016, Spotify revealed that around 6.5m people listen to the Beatles on its platform every month. And 67% of those listeners are under the age of 35.  

Like generations before them, young people have found these records are places to lose yourself.

As the music writer Lester Bangs said of the Beatles: "They invented it, you took it over."

That’s as true today as it ever was. And with streaming, it’s never been easier to find your way to the source. So all in all, investors can breathe a sigh of relief.

Click here to take a look at all my Beatles memorabilia for sale.

Paul Fraser

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