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Rolling Stones' 'Let It Bleed' album art heads to auction

The original cake-themed album cover art for The Rolling Stones' "Let It Bleed" album is expected to sell for five figures at Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia auction Dec. 15, 2011.
Rolling Stones Let it Bleed

By Susan Sliwicki

The original album cover art for The Rolling Stones' "Let It Bleed" album is expected to sell for five figures at Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia auction Dec. 15, 2011.

Described as one of the greatest album covers of all time, the art features a surreal sculpture, a cake with garish icing and the band itself in the form of wedding cake-style topper figurines. It is expected to sell for approximately $47,000 to $63,000 (£30,000-40,000) when the auction occurs at Bonham's Knightsbridge, London, location, according to a news release issued by Bonhams.

December 2011 marks 42nd anniversary of the album, which was the last on which Brian Jones worked and the first to feature his replacement, Mick Taylor. "Let It Bleed" was recorded at Olympic Studios; after its release it hit to No.1 on the U.K. album chart and No. 3 in the U.S.

In 1969, Keith Richards commissioned his friend, Robert Brownjohn, to design the now-iconic cover for 'Let It Bleed'. The cake was made by then-unknown celebrity chef Delia Smith, who recalled that "... They wanted it to be very over-the-top and as gaudy as I could make it," according to the news release.

"Let It Bleed"was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2005. The album was one of 10 commemorated in the Royal Mail series of classic album covers stamps issued in 2010, which also featured Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells," David Bowie's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars," Led Zeppelin's "Led Zeppelin IV," Pink Floyd's "The Division Bell" and The Clash's "London Calling."

“Let it Bleed was one of the first albums I bought — I am a huge fan of the Rolling Stones — so it is really exciting to be able to offer the artwork for this iconic design. We expect there to be a lot of interest from Stones’ fans around the globe,” said Stephanie Connell, Bonhams head of Entertainment Memorabilia. (Click here to view the auction catalog).

An autographed black/gold label pressing of The Beatles' debut album, "Please Please Me," also is being offered. The preauction estimate ranges from $12,500 to 15,600 (£8,000-10,000). The back cover is signed in blue ballpoint ink and inscribed "To Brian, all the best!" by Paul McCartney. No grade was given for The Beatles album (PMC 1202), but a condition report noted that the vinyl has a lot of playwear and scratches, the inner sleeve is split, and the cover has seam splits and creases and is missing a 3-inch portion of the bottom seam.

The Martin 000-28 EC Eric Clapton signature model acoustic guitar used by Clapton for recording "Change the World" and the "Pilgrim" album also is on offer; presale estimates range from roughly $31,200 to $46,800 (£20,000-30,000). The guitar, which features a spruce top, herringbone inlay, East Indian rosewood back and sides, V-shaped mahogany neck and ebony fingerboard with diamond-shaped markers is offered with its fitted, plush-lined rigid case and a certificate from Clapton indicating he used the guitar in 1996-1997.

Eric Clapton Guitar


• An autographed Beatles publicity postcard, 1963. Estimate: $3,124 to $3,905 (£2,000-2,500).

• Astrid Kirchherr a set of four photographic portraits of The Beatles, from the so-called 'chair and studio' sessions, Estimate: $3,124 to $3,904.95 (£2,000-2,500).

• An autographed photograph of the Beatles in the Abbey Road studios, September 1963, Estimate: $6,248 to $9,372 (£4,000-6,00o).

• A limited-edition lithograph of the score for "Yesterday." Estimate: $2,343 to $3,124 (£1,500-£2,000).

• A rare decorated table and chair from the Apple Boutique, circa 1968, Estimate: $1,562 to $1,874 (£1,000 - 1,200).

• The Beatles: An autographed Merseyside Express menu card, 1963, Estimate: $1,562 to $2,343 (£1,000 - 1,500).

• The Beatles: an autographed page from Pop Weekly magazine, July 1963, Estimate: $3,124 to $4,686 (£2,000 - 3,000).

• Unpublished color film of the Beatles during production of the film 'Help!' Estimate: $10,934 to $14,058 (£7,000 - 9,000).

• A railway menu card signed by the Beatles, Estimate: $3,124 to $4,656 (£2,000 - 3,000).

• Six colour photographs of the Beatles, Estimate: $1,562 to $1,874 (£1,000 - 1,200).

• A set of Beatles autographs, probably 1963. Estimate: $3,124 to $3,904.95 (£2,000 - 2,500).

• A collection of photographs of John Lennon at radio station WFIL, May 1975, Estimate: $9,372 to $12,496 (£6,000 - 8,000).

• An ABC Weekend Television 'Big Night Out' leaflet autographed by the Beatles, 1963, Estimate: $4,686 to $6,248 (£3,000 - 4,000).

• Unpublished colour film of the Beatles arriving at Heathrow Airport, Estimate: $1,562 to $2,343 (£1,000 - 1,500).

• An original telephone from the Cavern Club, Estimate: $781 to $1,093 (£500 - 700).
• A good autographed publicity photograph of the Beatles, 1963, Estimate: $6,248 to $7,810 (£4,000 - 5,000).


• A Jimi Hendrix jacket/cape. Estimate: $4,686 to $7,810 (£3,000-5,000)
• Jimi Hendrix: a poster for the 'Open Air Love + Peace' festival, held at the Isle of Fehmarn, Germany, Estimate: $1,406 to $1,874 (£900 - 1,200).
• An acetate recording of 'The Wind Cries Mary' by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1967, Estimate: $625 to $937 (£400 - 600).


• Seven unpublished photos of The Detours (the early version of The Who) onstage, circa 1963, Estimate: $1,874 to $2,343 (£1,200 - 1,500).
• Roger Daltrey: a 'Platinum' sales award for the album 'Who Are You'. Estimate: $3,124 to $3,904.95 (£2,000 - 2,500).
• John Entwistle's Gibson J200 acoustic guitar, Estimate: $7,029 to $7,810 (£4,500 - 5,000).


• Lonnie Donnegan's Vega banjo. Estimate:$3,124 to $4,686 (£2,000-£3,000)
• The red Rogers drum kit of Dave Clark of The Dave Clark Five all in original cases. Estimate: $6,248 to $9,372 (£4,000 to £6,000).
• The Yardbirds: A Washburn Stratocaster style guitar, autographed by Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, Estimate: $3,905 to $5,467 (£2,500 - 3,500).
• An Epiphone Les Paul Custom guitar autographed by Eric Clapton, Dave Gilmour and others, Estimate: $1,874 to $2,343 (£1,200 - 1,500).


• A set of Rolling Stones autographs, circa 1964/65. Estimate: $781 to $1,093 (£500 - 700).
• A 'Sticky Fingers' album promo poster, UK, 1971. Estimate: $469 to $625 (£300 - 400).
• Colour photographs of the Rolling Stones onstage at the Empire Pool, Wembley, Sept. 8 1973. Estimate: $1,250 to $1,562 (£800 - 1,000).
• Photographs of The Rolling Stones at the Royal Albert Hall, Sept. 23, 1966, Estimate: to $3,124 (£1,800 - 2,000).
• A 3-D album cover image, 'Their Satanic Majesties Request' by the Rolling Stones, 1967, Estimate: $1,562 to (£1,000 - 1,500).
• An autographed copy of the Rolling Stones' eponymous debut album, 1964, Estimate: $2,343 to $2,812 (£1,500 - 1,800).


• A rare acetate recording of "Memory Lane" by Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy, 1967/1968. Estimate: $3,124 to $4,686 (£2,000 - 3,000).
• A rare tape recording of Cliff Richard and The Drifters onstage. Estimate: $1,250 to $1874 (£800-£1,200).
• A copy of the rare single by The A-Jaes, "I'm Leaving You"/"Kansas City." Estimate: $469 to $781 (£300 - 500).