Music memorabilia valuation day at The Storey in Lancaster

One of the world's leading dealers in Beatles autographs and memorabilia is holding a valuation day at The Storey in Lancaster this Saturday, (April 9), 10am-4pm.

By Michelle Blade
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 3:45 pm

Bring along any type of rare music memorabilia for a free valuation from Tracks and selected items can be purchased on the day.

Lancaster University was at the forefront in booking many of the great bands that played the university circuit in the seventies including Paul McCartney and Wings.

In fact, it overtook Leeds University as the premier venue on the circuit for the groups to play by the late seventies.

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A poster for Eddie and the Hot Rods who played at Lancaster University.

It was a man named Barry Lucas, a full time employee of Lancaster University Students Union, who was primarily responsible for bringing top name artists and groups to the university’s Great Hall.

Barry’s first booking was the Who in May 1970 – a fabulous gig from all accounts.

Barry went on to book an astounding range of bands – Free, The Who, Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground, Bob Marley, Queen, Eric Clapton, The Jam, The Clash, The Stranglers, The Smiths and Joy Division, to name but a few.

One of the most memorable gigs Barry recalls was the surprise concert that Paul McCartney and Wings played at Lancaster University as part of the Wings University tour.

A poster for Nils Lofgren with special guests Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers who played at Lancaster University.

Wings turned up on the afternoon of the gig and hung around on the grass outside the Great Hall whilst arrangements were made with Barry and then returned later that night to play a barnstorming set.

As Wings were leaving Barry and two of his assistants went down to their van with a bag containing the £550 quid in coins taken at the door with which to pay them.

Macca took a few coins for petrol money and then gave the rest back telling Barry to put it in the Miners Strike Fund!

In 1976, Barry Lucas commissioned a man named John Angus to design posters for concerts at the uni.

Barry Lucas and Paul Tomlinson, co-authors of new book 'When Rock Went to College' at the Great Hall, Lancaster University where so many huge rock stars performed in the 1970s and early 80s.

Between 1976 and 1981 John produced around 75 posters for concerts held at the university.

Many of these can be seen in the book ‘When Rock Went To College – Legends Live at Lancaster University 1969 – 1985’.

Using a wide range of inspiration and props including photographs that he had taken, shop window mannequins, old gargoyles, photographs etc., John produced an exciting array of posters for the university.

Although not everyone agreed, The Jam complained that he made them look like a punk band (which he thought they were!).

Ian Curtis of Joy Division who played at Lancaster University.

Many of John’s posters are now very highly regarded as artistic works in the field of pop music iconography and many of them are worth good money.

For example, posters from the following gigs at Lancaster Uni in mint condition would bring around £800 each – The Jam, Joy Division, The Who, The Smiths and Pink Floyd.

Collecting concert posters is only one aspect of the field of accumulating music memorabilia.

Collectors all over the world buy and exchange all types of artefacts associated with popular music – stage clothing and stage used instruments, concert flyers and tickets, signatures, song lyrics, record awards etc.

The desire to find and collect seems to be relentless amongst pop music fans.

Consequently, there has been a constant upward pressure on the price of rock ‘n’ roll ephemera over the last 40 years. Rare concert posters, autographs, clothing and instruments relating to the major bands of the sixties and seventies bring the top money.

Pink Floyd who played at Lancaster University.

As has been the case over the last four decades, it is still The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley and The Doors whose memorabilia is most sought after and which brings the best prices.

The memorabilia of Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson is the most highly valued from the subsequent decades.

There has been a particularly strong rise in the value of specific types of pop music memorabilia over the last 40 years. A good set of Beatles autographs can now bring around £4,000, one of their signed albums £10,000 plus and a vintage Beatles concert poster around £10,000.

The signatures of the Jimi Hendrix Experience are valued at £2,000 and an original large format poster from one the group’s gigs could bring £12,000.

A Led Zeppelin album signed clearly is worth £10,000 and a poster from one of their early gigs at Preston Public Hall, for example, would be valued at around £8,000.

Memorabilia relating to the Who and Pink Floyd such as signatures and related concert ephemera is very highly sought after.

Kurt Cobain ’s acoustic guitar has been rated the most expensive item of rock memorabilia at more than £4million.

The Nirvana frontman’s 1959 Martin D-18E, which changed hands for £4,530,097 in 2020, came ahead of instruments owned by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Elvis Presley and Ringo Starr.

It beat a life-sized porcelain figure of Michael Jackson and his chimp Bubbles, which sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2001 for £3,800,000.

The guitar of Pink Floyd legend Dave Gilmour came third in the all-time best sellers list.

His black Stratocaster went at Christie’s in America in 2019 for £3,013,000.

The top 10 of most expensive rock memorabilia is dominated by John Lennon and Ringo Starr with the cars, guitars, drum kits and pianos of the former Beatles dominating the list.

Lennon’s Rolls-Royce, which had a unique psychedelic Romany gypsy style paint job, sold at Sotheby’s in 1985 for £1,700,000 making it the sixth highest seller.

And the piano on which he composed his song Imagine was sold to late Wham! star George Michael for £1,670,000 in 2000, placing it seventh on the list.

Ringo’s first drum kit used as the Fab Four rose to stardom went for £1,595,740 in 2015 making it the eighth most expensive.

In 10th place came Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for Like A Rolling Stone which sold at Sotheby’s in 2012 for £1, 546,582.