The Stuart Sutcliffe archive received a lukewarm reception at Bonhams Knightsbridge, but Sotheby’s Olympia (20/12% buyer’s premium) are hoping a stamp design by his famous art college friend, John Lennon, will generate more frenzied bidding in their 201-lot Rock ’n’ Roll and Film Memorabilia sale on September 24.
The 1971 national postal strike led a group of high-profile artists including Richard Hamilton and David Hockney to set up an alternative service called the ‘Culture Carrier’.
Funds raised went to support the striking workers and Lennon was one of several celebrities asked to design a stamp.
His solidarity-themed design (shown right) comprised an envelope with several clenched fist sketches but it was never made into a stamp as the strike was resolved before its completion. It comes with hopes of £600-800.
Lennon’s iconic status means buyers often pay a premium for his provenanced personal possessions. However, a 1960s faux marble circular top table from Lennon’s Weybridge home, Kenwood, would probably be of limited interest were it not for the photograph and note entered with it confirming its provenance. The photograph depicts the rock legend sitting with the table in the background and the tantalising note written by his first wife Cynthia reads: This table has seen and experienced many great occasions… if only it could talk. It is expected to fetch £800-1200.
Over half the sale is devoted to Beatles memorabilia and amongst the showstoppers is a large collection of unpublished photographs and black and white negatives of the band on tour in Adelaide, 1964, estimated at £13,000-15,000. A rare signed copy of their 1966 album Revolver signed for Ken Mansfield – the former US manager of Apple Records – is expected to top the sale at £18,000-20,000.
The Beatles’ clean-cut, wholesome image contrasted with The Sex Pistols punk look the following decade. Eclectic punk rock enthusiasts with £500-600 to spend may be drawn to two boxes of Sex Pistols promo lavatory paper, 1977, decorated with the band’s trademark ransom note lettering declaring Anarchy’s in the UK.