An extremely rare pressing of the Beatles’ “White Album” sold for $790,000 at an auction. The vinyl record, owned by Ringo Starr, was the very first one to be produced in the United Kingdom.
A mono pressing of one of the Beatles’ most famous albums was snatched up by a bidder at Julien’s Live auction. The pressing from the personal collection of Ringo Starr was sold at a record breaking price of $790,000. The buyer, who wanted to remain anonymous, is now the proud owner of the very first pressing that was produced in the U.K.. The “White Album” pressing is numbered 0000001. The final price was way higher than the estimates.
Despite being a personal copy of Starr’s, and the album being the first ever to be produced, it had a very modest pre-auction estimate of $40,000 to $60,000, but the final selling price was more than 10 times that. The previous record was set by Elvis Presley’s first acetate recording, which was sold at $300,000. As evident from the final selling price, the “White Album” smashed the record by more than doubling the figure.
Perhaps the fact that Starr’s early drum kits, which were sold a short while before the pressing went under the hammer, went for a staggering sum of $2.2 million, helped jack up its price. The kit was used by Starr in more than 200 performances between May of 1963 and February of 1964, and later employed by Paul McCartney during the recording of his 1970 solo album McCartney, reported Rolling Stone.
The drum kits were picked up by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who also bought a Rickenbacker guitar gifted to the drummer from Lennon. Irsay paid $910,000 for the guitar.
The copies of the “White Album” were numbered in sequence, and Starr’s copy is the first pressing of the iconic album. The album was the ninth studio release from the British rock band. The copy of the album was so personal to Starr — he had jokingly mentioned that whoever bought the album would see his fingerprints on it.
“We used to play the vinyl in those days. We didn’t think, ‘We’ll keep it for 50 years and it will be in pristine condition.’ Whoever gets it, it will have my fingerprints on it.”
Julien’s Live auction was huge for Ringo Starr and his wife. The husband-wife duo collectively put up more than 800 personal items and rare Beatles memorabilia at the Beverly Hills auction on Friday and Saturday, reported the Examiner. The 75-year-old Beatles legend and his wife, Barbara Bach, had chosen the items kept in their three estates and storage facilities ahead of the auction, reported ABC News. Speaking about the auction, Starr said the following.
“So much stuff was in the storage that I hadn’t seen in nearly three decades that I wanted to put to some good use and also give a lot of people joy.”
The item that perhaps didn’t need the ownership of Starr to jack up its price was a 1971, 18-karat yellow gold “Moonphase” Patek Philippe wristwatch. The watch sold for $179,000, nearly double its estimate auction price of $80,000. According to Bloomberg, Starr’s Patek Philippe wristwatch was extremely rare. Being one of only 586 made, the auction had many watch enthusiasts, who had come primarily for the watch and stood out among the Beatles fans.
The Ringo Starr auction was estimated to be worth about $10 million. However, with the “White Album” alone garnering $790,000, it looks like that figure was easily surpassed. The auction was important for a far more altruistic reason for Ringo Starr and his wife. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be invested in the couple’s Lotus Children Foundation that focuses on social welfare issues around the world.
[Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images]