For a snapshot of tbe current auction scene for music memorabilia, I’ve asked Jacques van Gool of Backstage Auctions to give us some quotable quotes from his perspective as an auctioneer.
Most notably, for me, was Jacques reflection on the general state of memorabilia collecting. I’d asked if recent years have seen a new set of collectibles on the market; what types of things are being produced now that are being actively sought or may be in the future. His answer surprised me.
“Fact is, the last 20 years have not produced anything new (welcome digital age),” he says. “So everything ‘common’ in the 1960s-1980s is still what people collect these days: Posters, shirts, tickets, guitar picks, vinyl.” When people bring him material to put up for auction through his company, they “still want to auction off the same type of items as they did 10-20 years ago.”
However, the landscape has changed (again, thanks digital age). “If anything,” Jacques laments, “certain things are disappearing. They hardly print concert posters anymore; they rarely print concert tickets. Fewer artists bother to put together a tour program. Songbooks are all digital.” One might assume the inherent rarity of the lower production of these types of souvenirs and collectibles would breed a more competitive market.
But the 1960s through the 1980s still rule, as per van Gool. Even the declining number of Boomer collectors can’t stem the interest of other generations. He sees an upward trend, in fact, in memorabilia collecting from “current generations” who easily take advantage of his company’s Web-based auctions through phones and tablets. That is reflected in the growing range of eras and genres carried by Backstage Auctions.
“We are mostly ‘rock’ oriented,” says Jacques, “which also includes Hard Rock, Grunge Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk Rock, and so on. While we do see a slow decline in the demand for 1960s rock ‘n’ roll and some of the 1970s classic rock, we also see growth in all genres of rock from the later part of the 1970s through the 1990s.
“Demographically speaking, most collectors fit the 35 to 55-year range.” Considering their buying power, it makes sense that there is a wider range of values represented in music memorabilia. “If anything,” says Jacques, “they are becoming more aware of the fact that not every collectible needs to be a $1,000.00 item. As a result, we see more affordable memorabilia.”
Which might be good news for all of us not in the 1%. The situation may also position collectors of “value” to see an increase in their investment in the future as these “reasonable” items become rarer and more expensive.
Backstage Auctions is a boutique online auction house specializing in authentic rock ‘n’ roll music memorabilia. By exclusively representing legendary musicians and entertainment professionals directly, every auction event is unique, reflecting the seller’s legacy and chronicles their legendary career.