Mrs Evans' notebook. Yours for pounds 111,000

EVERYONE KNOWS who James Bond is and it may be no great surprise that Bond film memorabilia sold for pounds 500,000 at Christie's this week. But you probably haven't heard of Lily Evans.

Nevertheless, a notebook belonging to Mrs Evans was sold by Sotheby's this week for pounds 111,500. Mrs Evans is the widow of Mal Evans, who was also unknown to most of the country. But Mal Evans was a road manager for The Beatles. And they, at least, are well known.

You no longer have to be a celebrity to make money from memorabilia. Knowing and working with a celebrity is enough. A tangential relationship to fame can be a real earner in an increasingly celebrity-besotted art market, where auction houses flog off intrinsically worthless posters, T-shirts and doodlings, given a value only because they came into fleeting contact with a star.

This week alone, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell's dress sold for pounds 41,320; Oddjob's killer bowler hat prop from the film Goldfinger fetched pounds 61,750 and Elton John's matador stage costume sold for around pounds 8,500.

David Lee, editor of Art Review, said: "The supply of great artworks is finite and the auction houses are having terrible trouble filling the gaps. First, they started selling photography, and now it's memorabilia."

Even some of those most closely associated with the lucrative world of celebrity auctions find aspects difficult to comprehend.

Desmond Llewellyn, who played Q in the Bond films, was at the Christie's sale of Bond items. He said: "I think it's fantastic, but these people are crazy."

He had on the same suit he wore in the movie, The Living Daylights, and added: "When I saw the prices that some things were getting, I was tempted to strip off and put it [the suit] up for auction."

Bernard Doherty of publicity company Laister Dickson acts for the Rolling Stones and was hired to promote Sotheby's sale of both the Mrs Evans notebook and assorted items of pop star clothing at the Hard Rock cafe - a clear sign of how traditional auction houses are using music industry personnel and venues to reach a new generation of buyers.

Mr Doherty said: "I find the clothing area a bit odd. In fact, it's weird. I don't understand why someone would want to buy Marc Bolan's jacket. It's not a work of art. But buying song lyrics or original acetates I can understand. They are not works of art, but they are a moment in history. `Hey Jude' is a song that most people on the planet know. To think that someone was sitting in a cafe scribbling, and that person was Paul McCartney - there's nothing like it."

Mark Griffiths, reader in psychology at Nottingham Trent University, sees psychological reasons for the trend. "People want to buy into fame," he said. "And the quickest way to buy into fame is to be associated with fame. Owning Geri Halliwell's dress gives you that differentiation from the rest. Having artefacts from famous people is perceived to give you status."

But Mr Griffiths recognises another trend surrounding celebrity auctions that has little to do with fan worship and ordinary people trying to raise their status. Chris Evans was involved in the bidding for Geri Halliwell's dress.

"You do get fame feeding off fame and publicity by association," says Mr Griffiths.

Indeed you do. The Lancashire couple that paid pounds 11,500 for the `Hey Jude' lyrics and assorted doodles in Mal Evans' notebook bought the notebook for their 21-year- old daughter.

She is Davinia Murphy, who appears in the television soap Hollyoaks.

"I wanted to buy the notebook for her," says Alan Murphy, who owns a tissue paper factory, "because she plays the part of Jude in the television programme".

It's a long and winding road from Paul McCartney to a television soap actress who plays a character with the same name as a song title; but why look for logic in the inflated and over-hyped world of celebrity auctions?

The Price Is Wrong

FAME IS fickle and so are celebrity auctions. Some of the biggest names can fail to reach the reserve price: AN autographed pen donated by then-Prime Minister John Major failed to raise a bid at an Age Concern charity auction in 1994. Cilla Black's hankie raised a fiver and newsreader Trevor McDonald's tie pounds 15. TV personality Janet Street-Porter put up 65 of her frocks at Christie's. The punk gear and flouncy beaded creations by designers Zandra Rhodes and Vivienne Westwood raised pounds 2,730. Janet expected pounds 6,000. A Christie's spokeswoman said: "She has a style which possibly doesn't appeal to everyone."

Sotheby's tried the handwritten lyrics and musical score to James Brown's 1965 hit Papa's Got a Brand New Bag for pounds 5,000. No bids. Christie's estimated a couple of grand for a first-edition, life-size cardboard cut-out of the Spice Girls hawking Pepsi. No sale. An England shirt worn by Roger Hunt in the 1966 World Cup Final was expected to net up to pounds 50,000. But the highest bid at Sotheby's in London was pounds 19,000. The shirt was withdrawn. His 1966 team-mate George Cohen failed to find a buyer for his World Cup medal at pounds 80,000 in Sotheby's this year. Mohamed al-Fayed, owner of Cohen's old club Fulham, bought it later.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing