First of all, the items will most likely go into private hands. Starkey claims: “We're fed up with having the stuff in storage when it could be put to some good use and also give a lot of people joy.” If by a lot of people he means the select few with disposable incomes to buy the items, then Starkey is right. These pieces could have been gifted to a museum or archival institution, which could take care of the items in perpetuity, as well make them available to the public. He could have chosen places such as the Grammy Museum, London’s National Portrait Gallery, the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum and Archives, and so on. In fact, those first two institutions motivated him to auction the items. Hopefully, these institutions will have the disposable income to bid on the Starkey collection, but most likely, they will be beat out by a private collector.
Second, his collection will be split in a hundred different directions. Someone will buy the guitar, someone else will get the negatives and photographs, unless the auction house splits those up. There will be no complete collection -- or at least a large enough collection -- that the public can research and admire.
Third, the people who purchase the items probably will not have archival training -- meaning that they will display “the Beatle backer” guitar next to a window that overlooks a view of the mountains. They might frame original photographs and then place them in direct sunlight.
Finally, what happens when the collector dies? Their heirs may not care about the items and auction them off or pack them away in an attic or basement. The items could be destroyed out of neglect or even spite. Dad loved that Beatle backer more than me -- screw it and screw him.
If Starkey instead chose to donate items to a well-run museum or archive, then the items could be open to the public, properly cared for and maintained for years to come.
How does that sound, Ringo?