Auction houses learn to appreciate pop

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The Independent Online
First Edition

IN JUST two decades memorabilia of the top rock and pop names have become investment vehicles, not only for private collectors but also for museums such as the Theatre Museum in London and Nashville-based Elvis Presley Museum and for restaurants like The Hard Rock Cafe.

Costume design sketches are eagerly sought. Next Wednesday Christie's is selling a rare collection of five Prince sketches for the 1984 'Purple Rain' tour (estimate pounds 800- pounds 1,200). Even Paul McCartney's birthday cake from his 21st - together with paper napkins from the occasion, have been collected and are in the sale.

The Beatles of course are prominent. John Lennon's annotated autobiography in manuscript was sold for just pounds 9,000 in 1983 but fetched pounds 22,500 five years later.

Sotheby's, which started its pop sales in 1982, has a large Beatles collection in its sale next Thursday. The collection was formed by Mal Evans, the Beatles' road manager for many years. It includes handwritten lyrics and films shot by Evans in off-duty moments. Copyright will be assigned to the successful bidder. Ted Owen at Phillips West 2 advises investors to look for Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones.

Next Tuesday at its sale bidders can secure the prestigious Ivor Novello award made to John Lennon for the song 'She's Leaving Home', estimated at pounds 12,000- pounds 15,000.

Investors should take care with the many autograph forgeries. The auctioneers see several a week. Check under a magnifying glass if there is texture to the ink and, if purchasing from a dealer, ask for a certificate of authenticity. Autographs of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison of The Doors have previously fetched more than pounds 300 at auction.

Bonham's has expanded its sale next Wednesday to include entertainers as well as pop and rock. Dr Who's velvet jacket, worn in 1973 by Jon Pertwee, could fetch pounds 1,000.

Newer stars such as Madonna are also in the frame. Her crucifix pendant - a trademark of her early career - is likely to make pounds 3,000- pounds 4,000 at Christie's next Wednesday.

(Photograph omitted)

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