The Beatles were a significant band in rock and roll history, with enduring fans who fuel the interest in memorabilia. The infamous “Butcher Cover” and Christmas music series are rare collectibles, as well as items from teen magazines and posters from significant concerts. Toys, games, and bootleg copies of unreleased songs also exist. Prices for these valuable items can be extravagant, but some can still be found for very little in unlikely places.
Without a doubt, the Beatles were one of the most significant bands in the history of rock and roll music. Recognized for launching what was known as the “British Invasion” in late 1963, the Beatles took the United States by storm and paved the way for other British groups to garner loyal followings among American teenagers. Throughout the 1960s, the Beatles gained fans around the world and continued to have a large following even after their breakup in 1970. It is those enduring fans who fuel the continued interest in different types of Beatles memorabilia.
Perhaps the most important single of all Beatles collectibles is the infamous “Butcher Cover,” the original album cover for the 1966 Capitol Records release Yesterday and Today. The cover depicted the four Beatles dressed in butchers aprons and draped with sections of raw meat and various plastic children’s body parts. Due to the immediate public outcry, the approximately 750,000 LPs released with the cover art were immediately recalled, and alternative cover art was pasted over many of the recalled covers. Collectors today compete to own a copy of one of the original unblemished cover art that was sent to disc jockeys in the United States, or one of the album covers where elements of the butcher cover can be faintly seen beneath the alternate cover.
Another rarity in Beatles records is the Christmas music series released in the 1960s for members of the official Beatles fan club. For several years during that decade, members were treated to special recordings that weren’t released to the public. Upon the group’s breakup in 1970, these yearly recordings were collected into a long-playing record offering that was also released only to members of the official fan club. Both the original annual acetates and the 1970 compilation are considered treasured Beatles memorabilia.
The Beatles’ large teenage following made them darlings of teen magazines for several years. During that time, 16 Magazine, Tiger Beat, and a host of other fan magazines carried a variety of Beatles merchandise, including photo albums, lapel buttons, and other interesting items. Many of these items were priced so that teenagers could easily afford them, usually no more than $1.00 in US dollars. Other lesser-known publications also offered items that are considered collector’s items today.
Two other key items in Beatles memorabilia have to do with two very significant concerts. One is the Beatles’ 1965 appearance at Shea Stadium in the United States. This concert is reputed to be one of the biggest concerts of the day, with The Beatles filling the stadium to capacity. The other is the Beatles’ last concert in 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Posters for both of these concerts are extremely rare and highly prized. Some original editions feature the autograph of one or more band members, adding to the value of these collector’s items.
A number of manufacturers offered a wide range of 1960s toys, games, and even dolls and puppets based on the group. Some of these examples of Beatles memorabilia still exist today and sell briskly among collectors. Bootleg copies of unreleased takes of some of their most famous songs also circulate from time to time, along with Beatles clothing, Beatles wigs, and even Beatles guitars.
Without a doubt, there is still a great deal of Beatles memorabilia available today. However, competition between collectors and enthusiasts is often fierce and the prices for these valuable items are often extravagant. However, there are still instances where some types of memorabilia are found in attics, junk shops, and other unlikely places and can be purchased for very little.