- 14 Aug 23
Specialist music memorabilia dealer Laurence Carpenter on some of the more unlikely items to come under the hammer and how to tell if you’re sitting on a rare treasure yourself.
1. Elton John’s Toaster
The toaster, in its original box, was presented to Elton John and his new wife in 1984. The engraving on it reads: “To Elton & Renate With love from your Prod St. Valentine’s Day 1984 ~~Sydney~~ You can choose between Muffin & Crumpet.” This was gifted to them by their producer.
2. Willie Nelson’s Pigtails
Willie’s braids were cut from his head at a 1980s party thrown by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash to celebrate his outlaw pal Waylon Jennings’ sobriety. That’s some powerful country mojo, and the pigtails sold as part of a lot of Waylon items in Phoenix, Arizona in 2014.
3. John Lennon’s Tooth
A Canadian dentist bought John Lennon’s molar at a London auction in 2011. Originally given to his housekeeper Dot, as a souvenir for her daughter who was a huge Beatles fan, the tooth is discoloured and contains an obvious cavity.
4. Ed Sheeran’s Underwear
The singer donated 300 personal items, including not one but six pairs of his underwear to a charity auction. The underpants were snapped up by his loyal fans, all in aid of charity.
5. David Bowie’s Lock of Hair
A lock of hair and a note stating: “Hairs to you - Bowie” was gifted by David circa 1970 to a young fan, who later sold it at auction.
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“As an expert in the field of music memorabilia for 30 plus years, what I have learned is that provenance and uniqueness are key to an item’s appeal and value to a collector,” says Laurence. “In practical terms this means that the item has been sourced either directly from the artist or an intrinsically close colleague, a band member, manager, etc and that you have some way of proving this, be it a signed letter, photograph of the artist with the piece or video footage.
“The most sought after pieces are artist-owned guitars, handwritten lyrics and costumes,” he concludes. “If you have any interesting pieces you would like to get valued, be it Elton John’s toaster or The Edge’s guitar please get in touch with me with a photo and details. Though if it’s Ed Sheeran’s boxers, I’ll think I’ll have to pass!”
• Contact Laurence Carpenter at rocksolidinvestments.ie