Earlier this month, his legacy was celebrated as the band’s bassist and co-founder Peter Hook sold his extensive archive at auction at Omega Auctions in Merseyside. The March 2 sale comprised 296 lots including memorabilia, artefacts and music from over 40 years of collecting.
Much of it recalled Hook’s days in Joy Division, which is known for songs such as Love Will Tear Us Apart, Transmission and Atmosphere.
Knocked down for £4000 at the Omega Auctions’ sale on March 2 were the words to Failures typed onto a single sheet of lined paper under its original title Failures of a Modern Man. The title was shortened before release on the post-punk band’s first EP Ideal for Living, a copy of which was knocked down for £11,500.
“We would describe the sale results as unprecedented, with prices often far exceeding our expectations,” said auctioneer Paul Fairweather.
Love won’t tear us apart
The sale was attended by 100 spectators and room bidders, 400 online bidders from around the world and ‘Hooky’ himself.
He launched the band with Curtin in 1976 after attending a Sex Pistols concert. They were joined by keyboardist and guitarist Bernard Sumner and drummer Stephen Morris and released Ideal for Living in 1978. Their debut album followed in 1979.
However Curtis, who suffered from depression and epilepsy, found it increasingly difficult to perform and in 1980 he committed suicide at age 23 shortly before the band was due to go on tour in the US.
A single-page itinerary for the cancelled tour was included in the sale. Offered in a lot including a schedule of their 1980 European tour, it made a hammer price of £2800.
Other highlights included Hooky’s ticket to the legendary Sex Pistols gig where the idea of Joy Division was sparked. It was offered with a bootleg vinyl Pistols recording and a reproduction photograph and made £3600 before buyer’s premium.
Hooky called it “the evening that changed everything”. He added: This ticket was sold to me by Malcolm Mclaren himself! The next time I met him was at Tony Wilson’s In the City. I suspect I also have the second night ticket somewhere too, I just wish I could find it.”
There was also original artwork for Ideal for Living, which featured various images and wording cut out and stuck to a board, which was hammered down for £6200. The controversial cover featured a blond Hitler Youth member beating a drum with images of children in ghettos during the Second World War. Later releases replaced the original cover with artwork featuring scaffolding.
Speaking before the sale, Hooky said that it was difficult to let the items go but added that a portion of the profits would be donated to charities including Epilepsy UK and CALM.
“It was a huge honour to have the opportunity to sell a collection of items that tell a very important story about Manchester’s musical history, and fantastic to have the chance to work so closely with Hooky over the last year,” auctioneer Fairweather added.
Buyer’s premium: 27.6% (including VAT).