A pair of test pressings of a Sex Pistols single owned by the late DJ and broadcaster John Peel sold at auction for £20,400.
A sale of 200 items from the John Peel Archive, including rare records, personal correspondence and memorabilia, took place at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London, yesterday (June 14), with total sales reaching £465,783.
Peel’s pair of 1976 test pressings of the Pistols’ single “Anarchy In The UK”/”I Wanna Be Me” were the best seller, with a final price of £20,400. It had been estimated before the auction that the lot would sell for no more than £8,000.
Other items which went up for auction yesterday included an original demo tape recorded by The Smiths in 1983 which contained a handwritten letter from the band (sold for £17,850), a signed LP copy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Two Virgins’ (£15,300), and a 7″ copy of Nirvana’s 1988 single ‘Love Buzz’ / ‘Big Cheese’ (£8,925).
All of the items that went up for auction yesterday were selected by the Ravenscroft family (Peel’s real name was John Ravenscroft), who said in a statement: “By virtue of his role in it, John/Papa was able to gain access to many of the most famous people and events in popular music history. This is reflected in the wealth of memories he collected throughout his life.
“He not only had a voracious appetite for vinyl, but a keen eye for memorabilia, ephemera and correspondence that might find an interested audience in decades to come (although it could be argued that this was achieved through to a strategy of keeping almost everything that crossed its course).
The statement added, “As we went through 40 years of accumulating pop music moments, we decided that some of the more interesting elements might find a home, with fans of his program or the artists whose music he played. Bonhams have helped us to carefully select what is offered for sale, and we hope these items will find the attention and appreciation that we are sure John/Papa would feel they deserve.
“We had no desire to split up his beloved record collection, but have included in the sale a selection of particularly rare or unique records that in no way detract from the integrity of his archive.”
Earlier this month, over the Platinum Jubilee weekend, the re-release of the Sex Pistols’ famous anti-monarchy anthem ‘God Save The Queen’ became the UK’s biggest-selling single.