With a $10m estimate, what is being billed as the most important single lot of rock and pop memorabilia ever to come up for auction goes on view in London on April 18.
The extraordinary story of how the
handwritten lyrics, music, copyright documents, photographs,
letters and contracts for more than 150 songs by The Beach Boys,
including their biggest hits, came to be on the open market is as
fascinating as the items themselves.
The cache of documents came to light during
a blind auction at a storage facility in Florida in 2000. It is not
clear how they came to be there, but it is thought they were
deposited in the early 1980s.
Their subsequent sale led to years of legal
dispute - now happily settled, with all parties remaining silent on
the details. Importantly, this means they can now be offered by The Fame Bureau
with clear title as a single lot in a sealed bid auction running
from April 15 to May 15.
Alan Boyd, Beach Boys archivist and
co-producer of the band's The Smile Sessions box set
for Capitol Records, said: "When these documents were first created
back in the 1960s and '70s, there was no thought that these items
would some day tell an important part of the story of one of the
most impressive - not to mention lucrative - catalogues in the
history of popular music.
"With hindsight, historical artefacts like
Brian Wilson and Mike Love's signatures on the original songwriter
agreements for their 1968 classic Do It Again, for
example, or the original publisher's lead sheet for Help
Me, Rhonda, or even the Beach Boys' own copy of the Library of
Congress copyright certificate for Good Vibrations, take
on a significance that the people who generated them could scarcely
have dreamed of back in the early 1960s."
Now, the Fame Bureau's chief executive, Ted
Owen, who has dedicated years to bringing the sale about, will put
the collection on display in New York on April 15 and then at the
Hard Rock Café in London on April 18 from 11am-1pm.
He estimated that a similar archive of Beatles material would
command a price of $50m-100m.