By Patrick Prince
Several high-end, hard-to-find lots for artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to The Beatles, The Boss and The Band are among the goodies up for grabs in Backstage Auctions’ Rock & Pop Auction.
With four days left to go in the auction, a fully signed Led Zeppelin “Houses of the Holy” album, which carried an opening bid of $2,500, had surpassed the $7,600 mark by mid-morning Nov. 7 — its rarity obvious to collectors. The auction will begin to close at 2 p.m. Nov. 11, 2012.
The front cover features signatures of drummer John Bonham, vocalist Robert Plant and bassist John Paul Jones, with the inscription of “To Philip Rock On!!” accompanying guitarist Jimmy Page’s signature.
“We have had many great Led Zeppelin collectibles over the years,” says Backstage Auctions owner Jacques Van Gool, “from individually signed pieces and vintage concert posters, to unique vinyl and the infamous ‘Object’ — of which only 1,000 were made. This [a fully signed Zeppelin album] is a first for us. We have had signed items by Jimmy, Robert and JP, but we’ve never had anything signed by John — let alone something signed by all four. Led Zeppelin collectors know that a fully signed — and authentic — Led Zeppelin item is few and far between.”
Other highlights of the Rock & Pop auction range from authentic clothing from Malcom McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. A special section dedicated to punk rock offers more than 100 lots flown in from Europe. And, there are more than 175 vinyl record lots. Here’s a rundown of a few of the highlights, with comments by Van Gool.
• THE BAND 1970 FULLY SIGNED ‘MUSIC FROM THE BIG PINK’ ALBUM: “This album was owned by British photographer Philip Kamin, although the ownership doesn’t add any further value to this particular album. While not as valuable as a fully signed Led Zeppelin album, one could indeed make a case that something signed by all five member of The Band is just as hard to find as something signed by all four Led Zeppelin band members. After all, The Band were no rock stars (as opposed to Led Zeppelin) which also meant that their followers were less into the whole ‘seeking autographs’ thing. Add to that the fact that The Band stopped touring four years before Led Zeppelin (1976 versus 1980) and you can see why finding a fully signed The Band item will be anything but an easy task.”
• BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ‘SONG TO ORPHANS’ RARE LIVE ACETATE: “The acetate is from January 1973. We received additional information during the preview week that helped us pint-point the exact date of the acetate. Nevertheless, this is still ‘arguably’ one of the oldest Bruce Springsteen acetates known to exist as the research we did told us that only one acetate has ever been discovered (the 1972 John Hammond Sessions). We are not aware of any ‘Greetings From Asbury Park’ acetates, but those would have been from late 1972, early 1973.
“Acetates are great collectibles, because usually only a few would be pressed (one for the artist, one for the producer, and perhaps one for the record label representative). Essentially, an acetate was nothing but a ‘test’ to hear what the recording would sound like on vinyl and – as a result – would often contain song versions that would be subject to additional mixing or even re-recording. Setting aside the fair chance that the recorded material is different from the final version, the appeal of owning a record of which only a few were pressed – and even less survived – has collector magnetism written all over it.”
• BEATLES TRAVEL ITINERARIES, DATING BACK TO 1962 — “The itinerary is for the week of September 23–September 29 and indeed is rich in detail. Rather than a cut-and-dry itinerary as we know them to be these days (meaning a listing of hotel, venue, travel information), Brian Epstein talks more about how to behave, dress and even the length and number of encores. Particularly fascinating is the mention of the band being overpaid by 23 pounds in the week of September 14, 1962, and that this will be deducted from next week’s income. Four of the six shows that week are at the infamous Cavern Club.”
• AUTHENTIC PUNK CLOTHING FROM THE MALCOLM MCLAREN & WESTWOOD ‘SEX’ AND ‘BOY’ ERA — “Few of these original shirts were made, less survived (for obvious reasons) but at the same time, they have been reproduced several times over since due to their iconic meaning. The long-sleeve ‘Destroy’ shirt is considered to be the all-time classic, not in the last place because of Johnny Rotten wearing it one many occasions, both in photo shoots as well as in concert.”
Backstage Auctions’ Rock ‘n Pop auction will close starting at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. For more information, go to www.backstageauctions.com.