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Vintage Beatles toys are undeniably awesome. Let’s play with ’em.

There’s actually some historical significance to all this stuff. Prior to the Beatles’ rise to universal superstardom, the idea of using a rock band’s image and popularity to market an infinite number of ridiculous products was nonexistent. Today, of course, the marketing scheme often takes precedence over little details like songwriting, instrumental prowess, or the ability to sing without computer assistance. For the Beatles, the opposite was the case. In fact, all this junk was such an afterthought that when the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, was approached by an entrepreneur named Nicky Byrne with an offer to manufacture and market Beatle toys and trinkets, he took the first deal Nicky offered. The offer was a 90/10 split with the group. That’s 90% to Nicky, not the Fab Four. Think about that for a minute.

Nicky immediately formed a company called “Seltaeb” (Beatles spelled backward – very clever) and proceeded to slap the boys’ names and faces on every piece of cheap junk he could think of. That’s why we have things like this Beatles ice cream bar:

And this hair brush (which is really a dog brush repackaged):

And the “official” ball point pen:

Here’s our favorite – the “Beatlephone” headphones. What could be cooler than a baby blue set of headphones with a couple Beatles stickers on them? This set has the original box, warranty card, and manual:

Brian Epstein was so mortified when he realized the size of the fortune he had signed away to Nicky Byrne, it was rumored that this was a contributing factor to his untimely death. The group eventually renegotiated the deal, but by then the genie was out of the bottle. From that point forward, rock bands factored branded junk into their overall financial plan. Just ask Gene Simmons.

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