More than the music: Collectible records and music memorabilia

Whether it’s an album cover, a musical instrument or just a signature, there are plenty of people that have taken their love of music to the next level. We talk to Perth collector Bill Graham about his music memorabilia collection.

Q. What do you collect?

I collect music memorabilia signed by musicians, old magazines, lanyards from special events and posters. I used to collect everything but nowadays it’s mostly rare records.

Q. How did you get into it?

I started at eight and it became an addiction. About 15 years ago I realised there was a market for music memorabilia. Now whenever I have a spare $500 or so I invest in records. I’ve probably got 4000 albums and 3000 singles.

Q. What’s the appeal?

The sound – it’s incredible. I tell people: “Go and listen to AC/DC’s Back in Black on CD and then have a listen to the record. You’ll say to yourself: “My God, it sounds so different!” The quality is just amazing and, if you look after records, they’ll last forever. While I’m in it for the money, I’m in it for the nostalgia as well.

Q. How big is the market?

It’s huge and it’s growing all the time. With some of the records I’ve got, 10 years ago I would have paid $20 but now I’ll pay a couple of hundred.

Q. Are there types of markets, like there are types of music?

Definitely, you’ve got blokes out there who just collect guitars and others who only collect microphones. Then you’ve got the die-hard record collectors, like me.

Q. Where do you go to buy items?

Mostly online and particularly eBay. Second-hand stores, community markets and the newspaper; I’m always looking.

Q. How are records valued?

On rarity, the condition of the record and, especially these days, the cover art. Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction came out with an R-rated cover that was banned from sale the very first day. I’ve got half a dozen of those, which are very rare.

Q. Where do you keep your records?

Mostly in my storeroom. All my sealed ones go into special cases in a climate-controlled room. There’s a lot of work involved in looking after them.

Q. What’s your favourite bit of music memorabilia?

Back in Black signed by all the original members of [post-Bon Scott] AC/DC. Not many people know about that one. I keep it locked away.

Q. What’s the most you’ve ever spent on music memorabilia?

It was that Back in Black record. I spent $250 and it was well worth it.

Q. What bit of music memorabilia do you fantasise about getting your hands on?

One of the first 1000 numbered copies of The Beatles White Album would be my dream.

Next time you’re looking for a piece of music history, try Cash Converters. As Australia’s leading second-hand store, it’s the place for all sorts of wonderful finds.

Nigel Bowen


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