The price for the 1965 annotated lyrics for "Like a Rolling
Stone," considered one of the most influential songs in postwar
music, makes it the most expensive rock music manuscript sold at
It shattered the previous record set in 2010 when John Lennon's
handwritten lyrics for "A Day in the Life," the final track from
the 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" sold for
$1.2 million, according to Sotheby's.
"It is always pleasing to set the world record. It carried a
strong estimate (up to $2 million) as well, and we felt the
estimate was justified given the importance of the work," said
Richard Austin, Sotheby's head of books and manuscripts.
"I'm a Dylan fan myself," he added, "and I thought it was one of
the coolest things that I have ever handled."
The auction house described "Like a Rolling Stone," which was
sold to an anonymous private buyer, as "one of rock's most
rousing classics, its thick, layered sound and innovative organ
riff instantly recognizable."
The manuscript for Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," which
fetched $485,000, was the second highest selling lot, followed
by the Vox guitar organ, a hybrid instrument given to the
Beatles by the inventor in 1964, which sold for $305,000.
The sale, called A Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk, was
Sotheby's first dedicated music history auction in more than a
decade. The total was slightly more than $4 million, with nearly
67 percent of the 150 lots sold. The other items did not meet
their reserve price.
Sotheby's said there were strong prices for material linked to
Presley, the Rolling Stones and Joni Mitchell, among others.
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"We're very pleased with the sale overall," said Austin. "It's an
interesting market and we look forward to seeing where it goes."
Other top items included Ronnie Wood's Zemaitis 1977 acoustic guitar
that sold for $75,000, Bruce Springsteen's autographed manuscript
lyrics for "Thunder Road," which fetched $37,500 and Presley's
flamboyant peacock jumpsuit from his days performing in Las Vegas,
which went to the highest bidder for $245,000.
A Grammy Award for "Jackson" presented to Johnny Cash and June
Carter sold for $37,500 and Mitchell's lyrics for "Woodstock," went
under the hammer for $37,500.
Items in the auction, which ranged in price from an estimated
$200-$300 up $2 million for the Dylan lyrics, came from collectors
and people who worked in the music industry.
Sotheby's said it decided to hold the sale to test the market and to
see what collectors are interested in buying. Earlier this month,
original manuscripts and drawings by former Beatle John Lennon sold
for $2.9 million, more than double the estimated price.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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