Christie’s Rock and Pop sale in June features clothing, awards, original concert posters, signed photographs and other music memorabilia, from all the biggest names in rock and roll, punk, and pop including The Beatles, David Bowie, The Who, Status Quo and The Spice Girls, among others. Over 200 items will be on offer, with estimates for unique memorabilia and signed pieces from the biggest icons of rock and pop starting at just £300.
Once again The Who take centre stage in this annual sale, as Pete Townshend’s rare Gold Top Les Paul Deluxe guitar, used in concert during the Quadrophenia tour in 1973 – 1974, and accompanied by a letter from the band’s lead guitarist concerning the provenance, leads the sale (estimate: £20,000-30,000). Unusually for instruments once owned by Townshend, a notoriously dynamic musician, the guitar is in excellent condition, and even without the added provenance, is a rarity in itself. An Alembic Bass Guitar once owned and played by John Entwhistle on stage with the Who also features, with exceptional provenance. And following on from the success of the largest ever single-owner collection of The Who memorabilia sold at auction in June 2010, which exceeded estimates to achieve £169,946 / $254,239 / €205,975, a further selection of memorabilia from the west-coast collector Brad Rogers at www.thewhocollection.com will be presented. Highlights include a promotional poster for The Who’s Tuesday night performances at The Marquee Club, 90 Wardour Street, London (estimate: £4,000-5,000); and a rare boxing style silkscreen concert poster for The Who at Birdcage Club, Portsmouth, Sat 12th March 1966 (estimate: £2,000-3,000).
The most sought after items from The Beatles section of the sale are sure to excite John Lennon fans above all, as a wide range of his particularly personal items are to be offered alongside signed albums, photographs and posters from the biggest-selling band in history. One of the last items ever signed by Lennon is his solo album Double Fantasy from 1980 (estimate: £4,000-5,000), which has been treasured for over thirty years and is now for sale. Intended as a radio show competition prize , the album was signed by Lennon during an interview with Dave Sholin on 8 December, and then posted by record executive Bert Keane to Radio DJ Wooly Waldron of KCPX. Lennon was killed just hours later. Waldron did not receive the album until weeks after Lennon’s assassination, by which point the world was still in mourning for one of the greatest musical icons ever known. Waldron put the signed LP aside for safe-keeping, and forgot about it, only to rediscover it around twenty years later.
Further Lennon highlights include two early drawings sketched by him when he was only around 20 years old, circa 1961, and given to Cynthia Powell as a gift during their courtship (estimate: £10,000-15,000 each). And a candid letter handwritten by Lennon in reply to a fan’s personal request for advice on Transendental Meditation provides an insight into the personal experiences of the legendary musician (estimate: £8,000-10,000): “It makes complete sense to me – you are searching for „something? (truth) the same as everyone else…”
In recent years Christie’s has seen a rise in demand for items from the Punk era. This year’s auction documents 35 years since the Punk movement really took hold, with a large section of the sale dedicated to the era. The section is led by a bass guitar played by Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin) of The Ramones (estimate: £8,000-10,000). The guitar came into the possession of the vendor whilst at a gig at The Venue in Victoria in 1981. During the gig, Dee Dee’s guitar stopped working, and so he gave it to a member of the audience and the fan has held onto the guitar ever since. The Ramones have often been cited as being the first punk rock group, and they went on to influence the movement in the US and UK. This year the band received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The guitar will feature alongside over forty rare original posters and flyers advertising concerts and album releases for the biggest bands of the Punk era including The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Ramones such as a rare promotional poster advertising a Christmas concert at Brixton Academy with The Clash (estimate: £300-400) and a poster for the Sex Pistols single God Save The Queen (estimate: £800-1,200).
Further highlights from the star-studded auction include a jacket embellished with musical notes, worn by T.Rex’s Marc Bolan in the Apple film Born to Boogie, released in December 1972 (estimate: £5,000-7,000); a set of working lyrics handwritten by David Bowie for his medley Sweet Thing/Candidate (estimate: £2,000-3,000); a large remnant from Dave Grohl’s first drumkit, which Kurt Cobain smashed whilst on stage with Nirvana in concert at Cabaret Metro, Chicago on 12 October 1991 (estimate: £3,000-5,000); a pair of signed white Buffalo platform sandals worn by Geri Halliwell/Ginger Spice in the 1997 film about The Spice Girls, Spice World (estimate: £500-700); and a small collection of items offered directly from Alan Lancaster of Status Quo, including his stage worn patch-work denim shirt, signed on the inside (estimate: £500-700) and a denim jacket worn at Live-Aid (estimate: £300-500).
*Prices do not include buyers’ premium
Image: A promotional poster for The Who’s Tuesday night performances at The Marquee Club, 90 Wardour Street, London. Estimate: £4,000-5,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2011.
Public Exhibition: Saturday 11 June: 11.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday 12 June: 11.00am – 5.00pm
Monday 13 June: 9.00am – 7.30pm
Tuesday 14 June: 9.00am – 11.00am
Auction: Popular Culture: Rock & Pop (6355) –
Tuesday, 14 June 2011, at 2.00pm