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The Most Valuable Beatles Collectibles

Posted by James Duncan on

The Beatles are one of the most iconic and influential bands in the history of music, and their memorabilia is highly sought after by collectors around the world. The value of Beatles collectibles can vary widely based on factors such as rarity, condition, historical significance, age (with oldest items typically worth the most as with many collectibles) and the demand among collectors.

The value of such collectibles can fluctuate based on market demand, condition, provenance, and other factors, however. The following are examples of some of the more valuable Beatles collectibles along with approximate prices as available through 2022.

Prices may have changed somewhat since then, in some cases up (such as for autographs even from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who at this point have essentially both stopped signing anything), in other cases down, but here are some of the most valuable Beatles collectibles:

"Butcher Cover" Album: An original "Butcher Cover" of the infamous 1966 Beatles album Yesterday and Today in good condition can fetch anywhere from $10,000 to well over $100,000, depending on factors such as the rarity of the edition and the condition of the cover. (Don't know the story of the Butcher cover? Check it out here). A first state, never peeled, i.e. never having the “trunk cover” slick glued over top of it, stereo edition is the rarest and thus most valuable. Even "peeled" versions, those which crafty buyers of the records carefully peeled away the trunk cover slick glued by Capitol Records over top of the offending cover, have good value. They can go for anywhere from $300 to $3,000, depending on how well the underlying cover survived the peel, whether mono or stereo, and the overall condition.

Beatles butcher cover 3rd state

A "third state" Beatles butcher cover, i.e. peeled, but a VG to Excellent example

Autographed Items: Autographed items like albums, photographs, and documents signed by all four Beatles can vary widely in price. A fully signed album from the Beatles can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Individual Beatle autographs are also extremely valuable. For example, adding a properly authenticated Paul McCartney-signed pickguard to even a new Hofner-type “Beatle bass” can enable it to fetch $12-24,000. Always ensure an item you are considering has proper authentication from a third-party authenticator trusted by collectors. Documents such as contracts, letters with signatures of one or more Beatles (properly authenticated) can range from $5,000 to $100,000 depending on rarity, condition, and provenance. For more on ensuring an item has proper third-party authentication, check out our article here.

Beatle bass signed by Paul McCartney

This new Hofner "Beatle bass" signed by Paul McCartney on the pickguard with PSA/DNA authentication sold for $13,530 in November 2021

First Pressing Vinyl Records: A pristine UK first pressing of "Please Please Me" can sell for $1,000 to $2,000, while a first pressing of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band might be valued at $1,000 or more. There are many nuances and details that make one album, single, or other record worth more than another so some study is important to find the most valued items. For example, a low-numbered copy of The Beatles, known as the “White Album,” can bring as much as $5-10,000. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of the 12 that were reportedly all numbered 0000001 (which is certainly unlikely), you’ll have a real gold mine on your hands. Maybe not as much as Ringo Starr's personal copy No. 0000001, which was sold for a startling $790,000 at auction in December 2015, but certainly a pretty penny.

Concert Posters, Lobby Cards and Tickets: Original concert posters can range in price depending on the rarity and condition. For instance, a poster from the Beatles' Shea Stadium 1966 concert could be valued at several thousand dollars. Some versions for a lot more. For example, a bright-yellow cardboard version promoting the group’s August 23, 1966, Shea Stadium gig sold for $275,000 to set a new auction record in April 2022. Tickets or ticket stubs to concerts and other appearances go from $50 to $30,000 depending on rarity, condition, provenance, with Shea Stadium and Ed Sullivan rehearsal tickets often near the top of the list. And don't forget that the Beatles films made for some collectible lobby cards that were used in theaters upon the release of movies such as Yellow Submarine, Help! and others. Originals from the '60s can fetch from $50 on up.

Beatles Yellow Submarine lobby card

While relatively easy to find and not too expensive, original 1960s lobby cards from Beatles films are popular with collectors

Record Awards: Gold and Platinum record awards presented to the Beatles have been known to sell for tens of thousands of dollars, especially those issued by the RIAA. Unsurprisingly, those presented to the group are worth the most. An example from the top of the scale came in early 2023, a Beatles-presented early RIAA “white matte” Gold Album award for the Beatles Hey Jude sold for $91,000. However, it had the special feature of being owned by the album’s namesake, Julian Lennon. Check out our article here on some of the other record-setting prices achieved on sales of Beatles RIAA awards. Other unique awards or special recognitions, such as a Grammy Award nomination plaque or Ivor Novello Award (a UK songwriters award), can also fetch high prices.

Beatles RIAA award for "I Feel Fine" presented to The Beatles

This RIAA Gold Single Award for early Beatles hit "I Feel Fine" presented to the Beatles sold for $12,500 in July 2023

Handwritten Lyrics: It goes without saying that these can be some of the most valuable items. Handwritten lyrics by John Lennon for the song "A Day in the Life" sold for over $1 million at auction. In 2020 lyrics written by Paul McCartney in 1968 for “Hey Jude” sold for $910,000. George Harrison’s original handwritten lyrics for “While my Guitar Gently Weeps” fetched $300,000 in 2007 and there are many other examples up and down the scale of lyrics selling for hefty amounts. Bottom line: If you can find properly authenticated lyrics written out by a Beatle, they are worth a lot, but note that the highest prices have clearly been attained by lyrics that were penned when the song was actually written.

Instruments: A drum kit used by Ringo Starr was sold at auction for $2.1 million in 2015. Guitars or basses used by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, or George Harrison can command even higher prices. A Gibson J-160E electric/acoustic guitar that John Lennon reportedly used to write “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “All My Loving” and more went for $2.4 million in 2015. In 2006 a guitar that was the first that Paul McCartney ever played sold for $633,438 at auction. McCartney said in a provenance letter that accompanied it: “The above guitar belonging to my old school pal Ian James was the first guitar I ever held. It was also the guitar on which I learnt my first chords in his house at 43 Elswick Street Liverpool.”

Beatles Ringo drumkit

Not the Ringo drumkit that sold for $2.1 million in 2015, but a similar one on display at the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool, England

Photos: A set of Bob Gomel's original photos from the Beatles' first U.S. tour in 1964 sold for around $360,000 at auction. There are many more examples of impressive amounts being paid for original Beatles photographs. In 2011, photos shot by unknown teenage photographer Mike Mitchell at the Beatles’ concert at the Washington Coliseum on February 11, 1964, sold for $360,000. Proving that even simple snapshots have significant value, amateur photographer Marc Weinstein used a self-made press pass to fool Shea Stadium's security and get into the Beatles' backstage area in 1965. While there he snapped 61 black and white photos which sold for over $35,000 in 2013.

Beatles 1964

This EMI photo of the Beatles is in the public domain, but most photos of the Fab 4 are not and can sell for large sums

Miscellaneous Fab 4 Memorabilia: While not achieving some of the stratospheric prices listed above, all sorts of Beatles collectibles were made and sold during Beatlemania, from wallets to wigs and beyond. Almost all of this memorabilia sells for pretty impressive prices, especially if it is from the 1960s and not later reissued versions. Here are a few examples:

  • 1960s lunchboxes: $200-1000 depending on condition and whether the Thermos® is includedBeatles 1968 Yellow Submarine Lunchbox

Despite its' somewhat poor condition and lack of Thermos®, this 1968 Yellow Submarine lunchbox sold for $246 in January 2022

  • Full sets of dolls or figures: $200-$50,000 depending on rarity and condition
  • Beatles Book magazines: $10-150 depending on issue and condition with the first year (1963-64) worth the most. Learn more in our article here
Beatles Book issue #7 1964
This Beatles Book issue #7 from Feb. 1964 sold for $75 in Nov. 2021
  • Toys: A rare "Beatles Jr." Vintage Toy Guitar by Mastro from 1964 sold for $8,750 in 2019. Other toy guitars sell for from $100. Other items ranging from Beatle wigs to smaller items can sell for up to $500 and more, especially if from the 60s and in original sealed packaging.

 Beatles vintage toys

Beatles toys and novelties in their original packaging have the highest values

Please keep in mind that these prices are rough estimates based on historical data. The actual prices can vary widely depending on factors that include item condition, authenticity, provenance, and market conditions at the time of sale. It is recommended to consult specialized collectibles experts for the most accurate and up-to-date information on Beatles collectibles.

Check out our current selection of Beatles collectibles here.

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