As zany and soulful as her music, Janis Joplin memorabilia is some of the most popular type of collectibles from the 1960s. Even though she only recorded two solo albums and performed on two others with the group Big Brother and the Holding Company prior to her death in 1970, Joplin is often described as one of the most iconic female musicians of the '60s. The influence of her unique bluesy rock 'n roll, impassioned vocals, and songwriting talents is still felt within the modern recording industry, and her music continues to gain new fans every year.
Types of Janis Joplin Memorabilia
Despite her tenure in the music industry only lasting a few years, Janis Joplin left an indelible mark on mid-century culture and the pieces of the past that are connected to her meteoric rise to fame continue to be bought and sold between dedicated collectors and casual music fans alike. The most common type of Joplin memorabilia that you can find are the types of items that the regular public could purchase during her lifetime and might have held onto for the past several decades. Things like original LPs, concert tickets, and concert posters are some of the most abundant things currently on the market. However, you can occasionally find incredible pieces from Joplin's personal collection at auction which serious Janis Joplin collectors salivate over. Take, for instance, the rock musician's famous 1964 psychedelic Porsche which sold in 2015 at a Sotheby's auction for nearly $1.8 million. More common types of memorabilia related to 'Pearl' include:
- Concert posters
- Concert tickets
- Signed posters
- Items Joplin personally owned
- Woodstock tickets
- Signed musical instruments
- Magazine prints
- Vintage sheet music
In terms of value, these pieces all have significantly large variations based on the fluctuations of interest in the market, their rarity, the current level of interest buyers have in Janis Joplin memorabilia itself, as well as if these items have any connections to other cultural phenomena. Thus, things like an original 1970 pressing of her album Pearl can be listed for as little as $20, while rarer items like signed guitars can be evaluated to be worth between $10,000-$15,000. Ultimately, the prices of Janis Joplin memorabilia are constantly shifting, especially as most of the collecting has transitioned into online retailers where sellers have greater control over their listing prices and less oversight on their evaluations.
Collecting Janis Joplin Memorabilia
So much of Janis Joplin's vintage memorabilia comes from the closets of her fans and not from private collections or large institutions. From vinyls to posters to used concert tickets, you can find just about every type of relevant Joplin collectible for sale somewhere on the internet. Yet, the very best places to go when you're looking to add to your mid-century music collection is:
- eBay: When most people think about finding collectibles online, their minds turn to eBay. Known for its endless pages of variable products, this online auction retailer is perfect for browsing for vintage Janis Joplin memorabilia. However, keep in mind that the website isn't designed to function as well for hyper-specific searches, nor are each of the listings verified by reputable sources to make sure that the items are genuine.
- Etsy: Another independent retailer website, Etsy is a steadily growing community of small-box sellers who have an impressive amount of (often unseen) vintage music memorabilia.
- Eil.com: This online retailer currently has a small selection of memorabilia, though their items do span a larger number of decades than most other sellers do. Keep up to date on their current listings as their content can come and go rather periodically.
- Fine Art America: If you're looking for contemporary memorabilia to decorate your home or office space with, Fine Art American is a great option for you. They have all sorts of wall art options depicting Joplin in all of her psychedelic glory - from canvases to framed prints, they've got it all.
- Record Mecca: Record Mecca specializes in music collectibles, and their inventory is constantly changing, though sometimes they get in some really unique items relating to Janis Joplin during her time with Big Brother & the Holding Company as well as from her solo career.
- Lead Pipe Posters: Lead Pipe Posters absolutely has the cream of the crop when it comes to vintage Janis Joplin posters. Keep in mind that this website deals in high quality, genuine vintage items and, therefore, has substantially higher prices than a lot of other merchandizers out there. Posters on the website range an average between $100-$200 each.
- Old Glory: Perfect for gift-giving. Old Glory offers a bunch of cool, vintage-inspired apparel that you can browse through.
- Postergeist.com: A blast from the past and emulating the best of the early '00s internet, Poltergeist offers a lot of high-quality Big Brother & the Holding Company concert posters from the 1960s. For $100-$200, you can transform your living room with these undeniably groovy posters.
Janis Joplin Fan Sites
Fan clubs dedicated to Janis Joplin are another resource for locating memorabilia that doesn't often cross people's minds. Some fan sites even feature forums that allow fans to network with each other and trade their surplus merch for the items they're looking for. Getting to know other collectors can be very beneficial when searching for new resources for new items to add to your personal collection. These are some of the fan sites out there that are dedicated just to the late and great Janis Joplin.
- JanisJoplin.net - Founded by two Joplin fans and web designers in the late-1990s, this website brings a holistic perspective to Joplin's life, offering up insights into her childhood, the lyrics of her songs, and even her astrological chart.
- Official Janis Joplin Website - To keep up to date on all things Janis Joplin, you can head on over to her official website which not only includes information about her career and life but also on upcoming projects about her adventures so you won't ever miss the release of any new Joplin content.
- Fanpop Janis Joplin Fan Club - Incredibly similar in its construction to Pinterest, this Fanpop fan club boasts a lot of user-curated content for visitors to enjoy. Mostly a collage of photographs and posters taken/created during her lifetime, the website provides a great visual exploration of Janis Joplin's lived-experience.
Memorabilia Exhibits to Visit
There are, of course, many items in private collections that are not likely to be offered for sale any time in the near future, but thankfully that doesn't mean that you don't have the chance to get your eyes on some of these unique goodies. The following locations have displays of Janis Joplin's things which can be quite appealing to collectors and fans:
- The Museum of the Gulf Coast in Janis Joplin's home town of Port Arthur, Texas has a permanent display featuring an extensive collection of memorabilia. Additionally, museum visitors can view one of the artist's live filmed concerts and the biographical film "Southern Discomfort."
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has several pieces of Joplin memorabilia on exhibit, including her vintage Porsche Cabriolet and items from her closet like a few pieces of jewelry, a scarf, and a number of other items that the singer once used.
- The Los Angeles Hard Rock Café memorabilia exhibit includes a pair of purple suede pants worn by Janis during the 1960s.
Take a Little Piece of Janis Joplin Home
Unfortunately, the collecting world can sometimes be slow moving as items aren't put up for sale with the frequency that some collectors like. Don't become frustrated if you can't find the items that you want to add to your collection right away. It can take a while to find authentic items from several decades ago; think about it - just maybe that special edition lithograph hasn't been found yet and won't be pulled from someone's dusty attic for another three years. So, just be patient, and keep checking your favorite resources for new items, and remember that half of the fun of being a collector is searching for new treasures!