Meet The Beatles5/3/2017
Rob Kuhn has a love like that
“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah…”
When the immortal Beatles lyrics above played on the car radio four decades ago, Rob Kuhn was hooked.
“I was like, this song is great,” he remembers.
Riding skateboards and tossing the football had previously been his preference, but the 8-year-old boy had a new passion. He was now a Beatles fan for life.
Some say “one man’s trash is another’s treasure,” and that was true for Kuhn. He says he found his first Fab Four collectible while raking leaves in his parents’ yard. It was 1979, but somehow, laying next to the garage, was a 1964 Chicago Tribune with a three-page spread detailing the release of the band’s third studio album, “A Hard Day’s Night.”
“I was like, holy cow, how did this blow into the yard?” he says.
From there Kuhn added Beatles lunch boxes, figurines, halloween costumes, records, LPs, 45s, CDs, dresses and Beatles trading cards. He even has the cardboard shipping boxes the Beatles trading cards were distributed in and a pair of 54-year-old Beatles tennis shoes.
“They have never been worn,” he says.
The Beatles progressed through a variety of musical stages during its pop music reign roughly spanning the years of 1960-1970. The band’s diverse play list led to a large output of albums. Kuhn says he once owned 1,200 unique Beatles LP records.
“And I still didn’t have them all,” he says.
His collection was one of the most extensive in the Midwest until he opened a record store, Wayback Records in Valley Junction, and began selling them.
But he hasn’t sold everything, and a few pieces are extra special to him. Some of the rarest items in his colleciton include an original, unopened “Yellow Submarine” album. He also has licorice records that still have the records composed of candy in them. And he has three of the four original Beatles halloween costumes.
“You’ll never find George (Harrison),” he says. “Because he’s worth too much.”
Another item Kuhn isn’t likely to sell is the Beatles tattoo on his leg.
“Ringo loved that,” he says, speaking of Ringo Starr, the band’s drummer. The two met after Kuhn learned Starr had spent years searching for a rare 1964 Revell model made in the drummer’s likeness.
“I had two,” explains Kuhn. “I figured one of them must be his.”
Kuhn exchanged the model for a photo with Starr and a couple of tickets to a nearby show.
Other rare items in Kuhn’s collection include a set of posters picturing each band member. Kuhn says it’s one of only five known complete sets.
“The guy (selling them) had just listed them,” he said. “And I had just watched (other posters of) George, Paul and Ringo sell for $900 apiece. And this guy listed them for $350 or best offer, and I was like, I’m not going to insult him.”
Kuhn happily paid full price.
On the 1967 album cover for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” each of the four Beatles are adorned in a brightly colored day-glo military uniform. Kuhn proudly posseses a replica of each uniform. How does he know they are one of a kind?
“I had the Sgt. Peppers outfits made,” he says.
With a love like that… You know you should be glad. ♦