The music memorabilia collecting world is inviting: we all want to get close to the stars that make our favourite tunes, and thousands of new collectors are joining the market in order to do so. Signed records, stage-worn costumes, instruments and handwritten lyrics bring us withing touching distance of our favourite musicians.
Yet the excitement of buying can lead to embarrassing - and often costly - mistakes for fresh-faced buyers, which can easily be avoided with our short guide:
1. Research before bidding
Imagine the scene: you've already spent your collecting budget at an auction - a planned purchase - but a nice looking vinyl catches your eye before you head home. Problem is, you have never seen anything like it before and you're not exactly sure what it is.
Seizing the opportunity, you bid to win and soon you're walking out with your new purchase clutched in your hands. However, a short bit of research at home reveals that the vinyl is almost worthless, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.
The moral of the story? Auctions can be exciting places and it is easy to get swept away in bidding wars with fellow collectors. Do your research on items prior to the sale using catalogues to ensure what you're buying is worth your money. Setting a strict budget is always a good idea.
2. Pleasure before profit
Music memorabilia can bring big profits, and it's easy to see your collection as something of a retirement fund. However, those that enter the market solely to make a quick profit will often be stung by the sensitivities of buying and selling.
As the Beatles famously sang, all you need is love. Love the items that you buy and, chances are, so will other collectors, who'll be willing to pay a top price once you decide to sell.
Even if you can't find a buyer, you won't be too disappointed to hold on to that cherished guitar and a few more strums won't affect its value - the best music memorabilia holds its value well.
3. Don't be deterred by digital
The music industry is ailing, and has been for some time. The digital world has brought illegal downloads and piracy, and record companies are struggling to keep their heads above the water. You could be forgiven for thinking that the music memorabilia business might follow but, on the contrary, it is stronger than ever.
As digital downloads prevail, there is an increasing desire to own a physical piece of memorabilia from the world's favourite bands, and sales of newly released vinyl have increased massively in recent years. The internet has also given the older collectible bands greater exposure to a younger generation, and more fans join the market daily.
4. Use your imagination
Many music fans limit their collections to just rare vinyl, but there is a whole world of music memorabilia that is underappreciated… and undervalued.
Producing a great piece of music involves many different aspects, and you only need a little creative thought to find a killer addition to your collection. Not considering what options are available can be the greatest mistake you make as a collector, with opportunities flying by.
Take for example:
· A Beatles-signed dollar bill, autographed as the band played in the US for the very first time.
These unusual objects were all thought to be almost worthless once upon a time (with the exception of the dollar bill, of course), but made handsome sums at auction.
5. Don't haggle too hard
We all like a bargain, but there is a misconception that the harder your haggle, the better the deal. In reality, while you may have saved a few dollars on one item, you may have prevented yourself from being offered countless more.
Dealers will often choose to offer the best items to customers who are always ready to buy, and by painting yourself as a penny pincher, you are truly doing yourself no favours. The key is to find a balance, set the price you would like to pay for an item and then establish boundaries to keep you on track.
Don't always try to bring the seller lower - it won't make you any friends! And don't be afraid to pay a little more for the right item.
These tips should help you avoid making any major errors in the early days, but our number one piece of advice is to simply get involved! The collecting community is always welcoming and fellow collectors will often set you right when you veer off course.
See the fantastic selection of music memorabilia for sale in our online store.