The band formed with a pairing of Paul McCartney and John Lennon; soon after, George Harrison auditioned and joined, followed by Ringo Starr. The band was known by the names Johnny and the Moondogs, The Silver Beetles, The Beatals, and The Silver Beatles before finally settling on The Beatles.
The History of The Beatles
The history of The Beatles and its individual members has been well documented, as they are legends in the music industry. Their fame came with its share of struggles, but the band managed to become an international sensation regardless.
Early Days of The Beatles
The Beatles started out playing in Germany at different nightclubs until Harrison was deported for being underage. However, their music had begun to take hold, and in 1961 Brian Epstein, whose family owned the furniture and record store NEMS, heard about the band. He couldn’t keep copies of their first record, "My Bonnie," on the shelves because they sold so quickly. Epstein saw The Beatles in concert soon after, and by January 1962 he was the band’s manager and was responsible for giving the members their long haired, suit-wearing look.
The Beatles’ first hit, "Love Me Do," broke through to the UK charts in 1962, and featured a distinct sound with Lennon on harmonica. The Beatles caught a big break in 1963 and was featured on the show "Thank Your Lucky Stars" on UK television where they promoted their release "Please Please Me" to six million viewers.
The hits continued with the release of "She Loves You," which was later replaced on the top of the charts with "I Want To Hold Your Hand." Beatlemania had caught on and had spread throughout the world.
Beatles International Popularity
In February 1964, The Beatles made their historic appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in the US. At the time, that show became the highest rated show in television history. Prior to that year, no British pop band had been able to consistently and successfully impress an American audience. The Beatles’ music began topping charts in other countries as well, boasting nine records in the Top 10 in Canada, too.
The fact that they wrote most of their own songs, rather than relying on other songwriters, was a major switch in the pop music world. The band even composed songs for other bands.
Merchandisers hoping to profit from the band’s popularity began printing their images on various items of memorabilia, from badges and dolls to chewing gum, often offering these items as promotional rewards for other purchases.
The Beatles Mix Movies With Music
The Beatles’ music led to a big screen career with "A Hard Day ’ s Night" and "Help !," which received critical acclaim as well as box office success.
The group was subject to some controversy and protests later in their career. Students in Tokyo objected to their performance at Bukodan, there was a near riot in Manila when the band did not attend a party thrown by President Ferdinand Marcos, and their records were burned in the southern United States after Lennon made a comment about the band being more popular than Jesus.
Beatles End Touring
On August 29, 1966, The Beatles played their last official live performance in Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.
The Beatles continued to produce music, including hits "Yellow Submarine" and "Eleanor Rigby." Following the death of Epstein in 1967, the band members changed their image and began appearing in public with mustaches, and Lennon began donning eyeglasses. After a six-month hiatus from debuting new songs, "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were released, and were considered the greatest pairing from Lennon and McCartney.
In 1967, the band released "Sgt . Pepper ’ s Lonely Hearts Club Band," which turned out to be a cultural icon that embraced the elements of 1960s youth culture, including pop art, drugs, freedom from parental control, and garish fashion. Even the packaging of the record was unique, including printed lyrics for the first time on a pop record.
Also in 1967, The Beatles received mixed reviews for their involvement in the film "Magical Mystery Tour," which made its screen debut on television. The music for the film, however, fared well on the UK charts, only topped by the band’s "Hello Goodbye" song.
"Hey Jude" was released in 1968, followed by the cartoon film "Yellow Submarine," which used what was considered landmark animation at the time. The Beatles released the double album "The Beatles," now known as "The White Album," with hits "Helter Skelter," "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da," and "Blackbird." In 1969, the band produced its final UK chart topper with "Ballad of John and Yoko," which only Lennon and McCartney performed.
The End of an Era
Band members began performing solo projects through 1970, and the album "Let It Be" followed the film of the same name. This album was controversial, and the packaging, which included a lavish paperback book, made the price point too high for many.
Soon after, the band dissolved, marking the end of an era in music history. Their music, however, lived on and was packaged in later years for fans as CD releases of their original albums, including some unreleased tracks. The first volume of "Anthology," which was released in November 1995, was accompanied by a six-part television series that told the story of the band.
How to Choose Beatles Memorabilia
There is an extensive market of items available to commemorate one of the most iconic bands in the history of music. Beyond the music itself, which dates back to the 1950s, collectors have shown interest in items associated with the band’s tours, signed items such as drumsticks and guitars, and original photos from their days on tour, as well as images that captured their personal lives.
When choosing any music memorabilia in UK, it is important to note the details and whether the item has been authenticated. To authenticate an item, thorough research and perhaps even the assistance of an expert may be needed. Original items will carry a higher value in the market over reproductions.
The age, rarity, and content of an item are three factors to consider when valuing Beatles memorabilia for a collection. Original autographs, for example, will carry a higher value, especially if done in ink. Personalization, however, tends to reduce the value of an autographed item.
Items that have been authenticated by an expert should come with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). It is important to note that two experts may come to different conclusions about the same item.
For items of Beatles memorabilia listed on eBay, buyers may utilize the resources on the site’s Opinions, Authentication, and Grading webpage to obtain the services of experts who authenticate and grade memorabilia items. eBay has screened these authenticators and determined that they have a solid reputation. These authenticators are objective and not connected to any individual party.
Types of Beatles Memorabilia
The Beatles, touted also as The Fab 4, had a hugely successful music career with an international impression. The types of memorabilia on the market to honor the group are vast, from the actual music itself, to promotional materials, autographs, concert programs, and other items.
Items that are proven to have been personal items or original autographs from band members are in demand, and sellers can ask for higher prices due to the rarity of the items.
eBay offers a variety of collectibles in its Entertainment Memorabilia section, which can then be narrowed further by searching for items by The Beatles.
Since The Beatles’ music dates back to the 1950s, the music itself was delivered on different media over the years. Beatles music is available on 8- track tapes, extended (EP) and long play (LP) vinyl albums, and later releases on compact discs. Items available for collectors range from music singles and master recordings, to albums and boxed sets. Collectors will find the more popular albums on the market, as well as copies of their lesser-known work.
Items such as drumsticks used by band members and guitars signed by Paul McCartney are collectibles, as well, as they are a part of music history.
Any items associated with the band’s music tours, such as concert tickets, concert programs, and original posters, are collectible as well.
Movie posters from "Yellow Submarine," "Let It Be," "Help!," and "A Hard Day’s Night" are available to those who commemorate the band’s career on the big screen.
Original and Reprinted Autographs
Collectors may choose from a number of different types of items that have original and reproduced autographs from members of The Beatles. Items such as musical instruments, records and record sleeves, and postcards with signatures from all four band members carry a higher value on the market for collectors. Some items have been professionally mounted for display purposes.
Also available are a number of lithograph prints from their various albums, as well as posters from their movies and tours that have been signed and mounted.
The Beatles are featured in paintings, drawings, and sketches done by a variety of artists who wanted to capture the band in various stages of their popularity.
The Beatles’ images were printed on a number of different items to appeal to its fan base. There are glasses, Topps cards, cufflinks, wallets, mousepads, and more. While these items may not be of interest to serious collectors, they do make for interesting conversation pieces for the fan and casual collector.
Common Abbreviations Used in Music Memorabilia
When limited editions of music are produced, certain abbreviations and markings are used to identify them. Limited edition items may be listed with LIM ED, LTD ED, LTD, or LE. These items typically are marked with the item number within the series next to the number of copies made of the series. Certificates of Authenticity are commonly offered with limited editions.
Other common abbreviations used in listing music memorabilia include:
No reserve. The seller has not set a minimum price for the item.
Mint in box. These items have never been displayed and are in perfect condition.
New in box. These items are unused and never displayed.
Certificate of Authenticity
Letter of Authenticity
Brand new boxed
No longer available
Long playing. Vinyl recordings designed to be played back at 33.3 revolutions per minute.
Extended play. Vinyl recordings that contain 15 to 35 minutes of music and are played back at 33.3 or 45 revolutions per minute. They are longer than a single, but not as long as an album. Also available on CD.
Out of print
ORG or Orig
Promo or PR
Abbreviations that refer to the condition of memorabilia include M for mint condition, EX for excellent condition, VG for very good condition, G for good condition, F for fair condition, and P for poor condition.
Where to Buy Beatles Memorabilia
The Beatles memorabilia may be found around the world, as the band had a large international presence. Specialty entertainment memorabilia retail locations and pawn shops are common brick and mortar locations to find these items. Music stores may sell reproductions of certain items as well. Online, the memorabilia is found on websites dedicated to music memorabilia and others specifically geared toward those who collect items from or featuring The Beatles.
How to Buy Beatles Memorabilia on eBay
There are thousands of items available for Beatles fans to choose from on eBay to enhance or complete their collection commemorating the band. Beatles memorabilia may be found by browsing the Entertainment Memorabilia section, or by narrowing down the category by searching by The Beatles’ name.
When considering items for sale or at auction, carefully read the descriptions to determine if these are items originally owned by the band or are reproductions. The description should also detail the condition of the item. To learn more about the reputation of the seller, click on the seller’s handle and read the reviews from previous customers. This is recommended, especially when purchasing more expensive items.
Once you find an item of interest, you can place a bid on an item of interest, or use the Buy It Now option, if a seller offers it.
It you are seeking an item that is not currently available, you may save your search of certain keywords, and eBay will notify you when an item fitting that description is listed. The other option is to list the item in the Want It Now section, and when a seller has the item you are seeking for sale, you will be notified.
Any item sold on eBay through its partner PayPal is guaranteed under the eBay Buyer Protection plan.
The Beatles are undeniably one of the most popular bands in history with a significant impact on the pop music industry. Decades later, music by The Beatles is still beloved by fans of all ages. Collectors of their music and associated items are collectors of history.
The music itself, posters, photos, and items used by or signed by the artists are often sought by collectors.
The Beatles also crossed over into movies with films such as "Yellow Submarine," "Let It Be," and "A Hard Day’s Night," which had chart-topping hits of the same name associated with them.
Because of the popularity of the band, items with their images and likenesses were placed on a wide variety of items and sold as memorabilia. Items with market value may come with a Certificate of Authenticity, which signifies that an expert in the field has verified the item.