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MUSIC MEMORABILIA


Left: Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to ‘Sweet Marie’. Below: Michael Jackson’s famous glove


The collector’s tale


Long-time record collector Jeff Gold is a Grammy Award-winning music industry veteran whose career reached great heights, but those industry days clearly come second place to dealing with the “illness” that has afflicted him since the early 1970s.


Gold’s record collection has grown beyond anything he could possibly have expected when he first swapped some baseball cards for Hendrix records. This wasn’t any old swap: Gold had just heard Hendrix for the first time and, in his own words, “flipped out”. He put away the baseball cards and took his first steps into a lifetime of music.


mainly Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand,” she explains. “The Australian market is new, fresh and has grown over the last few years.” Yet, in spite of the indices, global auctions


and increasing value of memorabilia, there are risks that include high-quality forgeries and inaccurate claims of provenance. Roberts and Julien agree on the need to


buy from reputable dealers or auction houses, and while seeing the benefits of eBay, Roberts’ words of warning are easy to understand: “There’s lots of dodgy stuff on there.” For anyone tempted to take the online route, look carefully at the documentation being published to prove the item’s origins. With hard-earned professional reputations


to protect, Roberts, Julien and Polyniak won’t play loose with the provenance of items, but that doesn’t stop some collectors wanting more before spending their money. Jeff Gold (see box) is one of the world’s most prolific rock memorabilia collectors and owner of www.recordmecca.com. For him it’s the quality of the guarantee that counts. “There’s a lot of fake stuff around,” he


explains. “Buy from someone who can give you a lifetime guarantee. My attitude is it’s the job of the dealer to vet what they are offering for sale, to curate the collection, to determine if the provenance is correct. A lifetime guarantee forces them to be honest.”


“ When Michael Jackson was alive, I sold his glove for $30,000. When he died, it sold for $420,000.” 52 businesslife.co February/March 2012


So, if your investment feet are itchy, should


you turn to music? Roberts thinks memorabilia can bring financial rewards if you’re in it long term, but adds an important caveat: “Investment shouldn’t be the only reason you buy it.” Gold puts it simply: “Buy what you’re


passionate about.” Jumping into a new market can be dangerous, and music memorabilia has its share of pitfalls. But stick to this advice and you’ll never be disappointed. n


KIRSTEN MOREL is on the businesslife.co editorial board


In those early years, he focused on records – particularly rare imports and bootlegs – and supported the habit by selling. Today, his collection lies in three parts: “I have the stuff which is my stuff and untouchable. Then there’s the grey stuff which I might sell if someone’s interested enough and then there’s the stuff I buy to sell.”


When pushed to pick his favourite item, however, he doesn’t hesitate. “I have a collection of Jimi Hendrix’s own records,” he explains. For a dyed-in-the-wool Hendrix fan, “it’s the notion that he was listening to this stuff and drawing inspiration from them”, that he finds really powerful.


Today, as well as running his own dealership, www.recordmecca.com, Gold is a well respected music historian, advising the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame (for which he’s also the number one donor) and Seattle’s Electronic Music Project. Gold’s passion has driven his collection, and although he declines to put a figure on its value (it’s clearly worth many millions), he’s also aware that as much as he loves to ‘luxuriate’ in his collection, he’s also keen for others to enjoy it, and often lends to exhibitions around the world.


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