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Remembering Beatles collector Gary Hein

Author and Beatles memorabilia expert, Perry Cox, writes an In Memoriam to Gary Hein, a huge Beatles collector and owner of Hein's Rare Collectibles.
Beatles collector and owner of, Gary Hein, holding the original cover art for The Beatles albumundefinedMeet The Beatles. Photo: Wire Images.

Beatles collector and owner of, Gary Hein, holding the original cover art for The Beatles albumundefinedMeet The Beatles. Photo: Wire Images.

Gary Hein left an indelible mark on the world of collecting Beatles records and memorabilia. He literally had the highest public profile of us all in the business. His name was everywhere: newspapers, magazines, websites... conventions! Everywhere indeed! He carried a strong sense of style and charisma for dealing with the public more than anyone else among us that I know. (The Johnson Brothers at Rockaway Records would also share that award.)

His knowledge of all things Beatles was vast and forever growing. When you met him, there was no forgetting him. He was sometimes a pure bull when it came to trying to bargain and haggle with him over his prices, but no matter how tough that may go, there was really no way you could walk away with dislike for him. He had a charm that was infectious. He loved everything about his chosen field and it showed. He really had figured out a way to remain like a kid in a candy store buying and selling his beloved Beatles collectibles, and that remained throughout his entire life. Gary was, first and foremost, a huge Beatles fan and collector, but he kept his family and friends even closer. That’s kind of a rare thing, really, but he had that ability. Like most of us ‘collectors by nature,’ he was a pure ‘cat on the hunt’ for his collectible prey, but from all the accounts I’ve ever heard from anyone among all his family and all close friends, he never put his priorities of family and friends out of order. That’s commendable.

When Gary first came on the world stage of Beatles collecting in the mid-1980s, he actually booked a flight to come and meet me personally in Arizona, so we could get to know each other. That was a class act, and one I never forgot. Man, he was a good-looking, strapping young man in his early 20s, and I remember admiring and even relating to his enthusiasm for Beatles collectibles. He even paid for dinner and he was the guest!

Since that time until literally two days before his untimely recent passing, we had completed yet “one more Beatles deal” between us! That old phrase, “He went out doing exactly what he loved to do” was literally true with Gary!

I would like to mention one other quality Gary had. He would always generously share his knowledge of any new discoveries in our field. He did that regularly and unselfishly! He was a major contributor to everybody’s books and works that I can think of and did that for years.

I know there are many more folks who lived near him and lived with him who have so much more to tell about Gary than I do. But, hey, we lived 2,500 miles apart, across the country, and we still managed to work off and on together the whole time. I’m happy to say that although we were directly competing ‘Beatle dealers,’ we never really actually competed at all! He had his area and calling in our field, and I had mine. Actually, we had each other’s back more than anything else. I’m proud of that relationship. And that guy NEVER missed sending his annual ‘hard copy’ Christmas card every year! I will miss that.

Gary was indeed, a dynamic force. It’s altogether fitting that I take this moment to prepare a proper and respectful ‘send-off’ to a man who left a big mark in his field. He should, and undoubtedly will be remembered fondly for that and he will be missed by us all.

I somehow picture Gary Hein in heaven running around collecting the shiniest golden stones off the streets and doing trades with the angels for the best pieces of the pearly gates! Until we meet again, Gary... Thanks again for the friendship and support over the years.

— Perry Cox, author and Beatles memorabilia expert