The family of late DJ John Peel have auctioned off some of his vast record collection and, with it, two rare Sex Pistols singles were sold for over the eye-watering figure of £20,000.
Peel passed away in 2004, but before his death, he had managed to amass a collection of 26,000 LPs, 40,000 7″ singles and countless CDs. This week, a selection of this extensive collection, including various other pieces of memorabilia, have been put up for auction at Bonhams in Knightsbridge.
Per a statement by Bonhams, the albums they’re selling were “carefully selected by the family, whilst retaining the integrity of the John Peel Record Collection”.
Some of the highlights of the collection included an annotated mono pressing of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Two Virgins album, which is valued between £15,000-£20,000, a promotional record signed by The Rolling Stones, a rare copy of Marc Bolan’s Hard on Love, and a pressing of Queen II, including a hand-written letter to Peel by Freddie Mercury.
In terms of merchandise, there was a rare poster promoting Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, a five-page letter from David Bowie featuring original sketches, and Peel’s 1993 Award for the NME’s ‘Godlike Genius’.
In their own statement, the Ravenscroft family explained: “By virtue of the role he played in it, John/Dad was in a position to have access to many of the most celebrated people and events in the history of popular music. This is reflected in a wealth of souvenirs he collected throughout his life.”
Adding: “He had not only a voracious appetite for vinyl, but a keen sense of what memorabilia, ephemera and correspondence might find an interested audience in decades to come (though it could be argued that this was achieved by a strategy of keeping almost everything that crossed his path).”
“In going through the accumulation of 40 years of pop music moments, we decided that some of the most interesting items might find a home, with fans of his programme or of the artists whose music he played. Bonhams have assisted us to carefully select what is being offered for sale, and we hope these items find the attention and appreciation that we’re sure John/Dad would feel they warranted”.
They continued: “We had no desire to split up his beloved record collection but have included in the sale a selection of particularly rare or unique records that do not take away from the integrity of his archive.”
During the auctions on Tuesday, the signed Lennon/Ono album went for £15,300, while the highest bid was for the two Sex Pistols test pressings at £20,400. The 200 lots sold for a total of £465,784.
Peel’s radio shows helped promote the successful careers of countless musical icons, including David Bowie, T-Rex, Queen, The Fall, The Smiths and The White Stripes.
Other high-selling items included an original demo cassette from The Smiths with a letter from the band, dated 4 February 1983, that had been expected to sell for between £500 and £700 but hit a whopping £17,850 by the end of the auction.