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Entertainment Memorabilia: A Buyer’s Guide

Whether considering buying a piece of memorabilia online, at a silent auction or at a physical store, you may have many questions buzzing around your head. 

With memorabilia being a fascinating subject, many people decide to invest for many reasons. From passion to the hope of an increase in value, it is important to know what you want from your item before making any payment. 

Here at Bid-Aid, memorabilia is our area of expertise, with our board of Directors and network of affiliates comprising of some of the country’s most esteemed celebrities, auctioneers and valuers. This gives us the confidence to advise our blog-readers on the subject of entertainment memorabilia; a category that evokes a particular time, place, artist or artistic movement.  

If you are thinking about purchasing a piece of entertainment memorabilia, then below are a few things you may wish to consider.  


Provenance is always key when dealing in entertainment memorabilia. This is because owning something that is directly linked to an entertainment figurehead is exciting! Knowing the past occupants and the item’s origin is also important to validate its authenticity. So, if you have your eye on something that seems too good to be true, be sure to do some digging into the piece’s background and previous owners.  

Types of Entertainment memorabilia  

Entertainment memorabilia comes in all shapes and sizes, being a vast category that encompasses all sorts of bits and bobs. And, with the more unique the item, the bigger the interest, a standardised list of options doesn't really exist. However, below are some types of products that tend to gather a great deal of momentum at events and online:  

  • Iconic Costumes 
  • Musical Instruments used by artists 
  • Signed headshots 
  • Signed Books  
  • Record Awards 
  • Signed Contracts  
  • Studio Documents 
  • Annotated Scripts 
  • Rare Records  
  • Unpublished Photos  
  • Film Props  
  • Original Art by Entertainment Celebrities 
  • Handwritten Lyrics by High-Profile Stars 
  • Rare, signed Music Posters 

Focus on ‘the greats’ to turn a profit 

Unlike many other types of investment channels, purchasing memorabilia is not exactly regulated, being a vast and fragmented market. Consequently, the biggest risk from a purchaser’s point of view is the knowledge gap. 

One thing to remember is that unlike diamonds and jewels, it is far harder to predict the value of an item signed by a cultural icon in years to come.  

“For entertainment memorabilia, the market for certain celebrities from almost 50 years ago is still strong,” says Claire Tole-Moir, a specialist in the entertainment memorabilia department of Bonhams London. 

“Financially, greats such as the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Jimi Hendrix or the Rolling Stones have held their value over the years, but we simply cannot predict who will be the next valuable name.” 

For this very reason, it is important that you do your research on a particular piece you are purchasing, making an educated guess as to whether or not they are a ‘one hit wonder’, an actor that will fizzle out of the limelight or the next Marlon Brando.  

Supply and demand  

While signed headshots are great and an interesting item to possess, the more unique the piece of memorabilia, the better. This is not only with regards to triumphing on the resale market, but for general interest.  

If looking at this from an investment point of view, it is worth going back to the age-old formula of supply and demand. If you are looking to make some profit on the resale market on a piece of entertainment memorabilia you have purchased, think about whether or not your item will be on a collector’s Wishlist. Is this a unique object that people will travel far and wide and pay a healthy amount to be in possession of?  

Personal affiliation 

As mentioned previously, when buying a piece of memorabilia, it is important that you understand why you are parting with your money for this particular piece. What we have found is that for most, the answer is simple; because they want it!  

For instance, if you have grown up listening to the music of Bob Marley, you will no doubt associate his songs with family times and the olden days, holding a special place in your heart for such songs. Therefore, when an item such as a signed record or piece of clothing of his crops up, making it your possession just seems like the right thing to do. Acting as a sort of personal time capsule, memorabilia can be rather nostalgic. 

So, if you are buying with your heart rather than your head, you must remember that you may not get back what you paid for it further down the line.  

Purchase legitimate entertainment memorabilia through Bid-Aid  

Here at Bid-Aid, we are an auction business that helps raise money for charities across the world, providing an online space for charities to raise money and collectors of memorabilia to search for sought-after items.  

What’s more is that we can guarantee buyers that anything they purchase through us is 100% genuine, with each purchase coming with a letter or certificate of authentication from the original or a reputable source.  

We currently have some amazing, unique pieces endorsed by some of the most iconic music, film and sports stars from across the globe. For more details, get in touch. 

Abigail Moses
Friday, 8th March 2019