Auctions | October 25, 2022

Orson Welles' Typewriter and Willy Wonka Golden Ticket at Auction

Credit: Bonhams

Orson Welles' typewriter.

London – Syd Barrett's rare handwritten lyrics for the Pink Floyd song Vegetable Man are amongst the highlights of Bonhams Rock, Pop & Film sale on 16 November in Knightsbridge, London. Fresh to the market, the lyrics have an estimate of £30,000-40,000.

Pink Floyd recorded Vegetable Man in 1967. It was considered for release as the band's third single, as well as for inclusion on their second album A Saucerful of Secrets. A popular bootleg for decades, the song did not have an official release until 2016, when it was included on the box set The Early Years 1965–1972.

In the early formative years of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett was the central focus for many of the fans as well as from a managerial and promotional perspective. He was the lead singer, song writer and face of a new genre of progressive psychedelic rock. Barrett was forced to leave the band in 1968, amid a struggle with mental illness and excessive use of psychedelic drugs. Vegetable Man has been cited as demonstrating Barrett's fragile mental state. His subsequent solo records (which also featured members of Pink Floyd) garnered a cult following, however Barrett retired from the music industry and public life in 1972.

The sale will also feature original artwork by Ian Emes for his experimental animated film French Windows, 1972, which was set to Pink Floyd's One of These Days and shown on the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test. French Windows is included in box set The Early Years 1965–1972. Emes work was featured in the Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains exhibition at the V&A in 2017. Six multi-cel set ups will be offered in the sale, with estimates ranging from £2,000-4,000, £3,000-4,000, and £4,000-5,000 each.

Katherine Schofield, Bonhams Department Director, Popular Culture, commented: "Bonhams are the longest standing auctioneers to specialise in Popular Culture and this sale really demonstrates the exciting breadth of this field. The sale offers pieces relating to titans of both music and film, and many of the items on offer are fresh to the market with exceptional provenance. We are particularly excited to be able to offer Syd Barrett's handwritten lyrics – a cult icon, this is a rare opportunity for collectors to own something that is both personal to Barrett and cherished by fans."

Other highlights of the sale include:

• Eddie Van Halen: An Ernie Ball Music Man 'Edward Van Halen' Model Electric Guitar Stage-Used and Signed by Eddie Van Halen, 1993, Estimate: £20,000 - 30,000. In April 1993 Van Halen were in Doncaster as part of their Right Here, Right Now tour. Ahead of their shows Eddie Van Halen and his guitar tech visited Music Ground - a renowned vintage guitar and amp dealer of the time - and bought a number of amps. As part of the sales deal, Eddie invited the owner of Music Ground, his son and the store manager to Van Halen's gig and then gave them this signed guitar. This guitar is one of a small number built by Ernie Ball Music Man specifically for Eddie and was part of his personal guitar collection. He took 6 of these Music Man guitars on the 1993 world tour, each a different colour. The current owner attended the concert on the 27 April at the Sheffield Arena on the same evening. A few days later they visited the Music Ground shop, saw the guitar up for sale, and purchased it.

• Freddie Mercury / Queen: A T-Shirt Depicting Marilyn Monroe From The Music Video The Miracle, 1989, Estimate: £12,000 - 18,000. The lot includes a handwritten letter of provenance from Mercury's partner Jim Hutton.

• John Lennon & Yoko Ono: A Rare Promotional Pressing For Their Japanese Interview Signed, Inscribed, and annotated by John and Yoko, Apple Records, 1971, Estimate: £8,000 - 10,000.

• Led Zeppelin: A Rare UK In Person, Led Zeppelin Concert Poster for Birmingham Town Hall Signed By The Band, 7th January 1970. Estimate: £30,000 - 40,000.

• Stuart Sutcliffe (British, 1940-1962), Prodigal Son, 1960, Estimate: £8,000 - 12,000. This painting was owned by Beryl Williams, wife of Allan Williams, The Beatles' first manager.

• Property from the collection of the famous tour manager Craig Duffy, comprising of almost 60 lots, including a rare Anarchy In The UK tour poster for the cancelled show by The Sex Pistols at The Liverpool Stadium, 11th December 1976, (Estimate: £3,000 - 4,000). Duffy, who died tragically in 2021, was well-known in the music industry for his work with the likes of Blur, Duran Duran, Gorillaz, Franz Ferdinand, Lily Allen, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madness and U2.

• Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory: An Original Production-Made Golden Ticket, Paramount, 1971, Estimate: £8,000 - 12,000. Only a handful of golden tickets were given to key actors and production crew as a souvenir after filming wrapped.

Orson Welles' Typewriter, including a letter from the estate stating it was owned by him at the start of his illustrious career, Estimate: £5,000 - 7,000.

• The Millionairess: A Pierre Balmain Dress Made For Sophia Loren For Her Role in the Film The Millionairess, 20th Century Fox, 1960, Estimate: £8,000 - 10,000.

• A collection of clapperboards and film memorabilia from the acclaimed late cinematographer Adrian Biddle, best known for his work with Ridley Scott. Items on offer include a wooden clapperboard used in the production of Aliens, Twentieth Century Fox, 1986, (Estimate: 6,000 - 8,000), and clapperboard used in production of Thelma & Louise, MGM, 1991, (Estimate: £3,000 - 4,000).

The sale will also feature two guitars which are both being offered directly from the artists in aid of the charity In Place Of War: A Peter Hook autographed Yamaha Bass Guitar (Estimate: £800 - 1,000), and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead's 'No.3' White Fender Stratocaster Guitar used on the 'A Moon Shaped Pool' tour from 2016-2018, 2016 (Estimate: £5,000 - 7,000).
Ed O'Brien commented: "This is my white Fender EOB Strat, custom made for me by Alex Perez at the Fender Custom shop in California. He personally built this for me for the Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool tour which began in 2016 and finished in 2018. I played it extensively on this tour. The guitar was one I developed in partnership with Fender, and which went into production in 2016. It is now sold as part of Fender guitar collection. This however is a unique one, made especially for me and used whilst touring... it's a beautiful guitar."

The Peter Hook guitar is signed by Hook with 'JD/NO/TL' (the initials of his bands Joy Division, New Order, and The Light), and inscribed 'This guitar will take you to the stars!' and decorated with drawn stars.

Emma Bartholomew, Music Industry Relations Manager, In Place of War: "As part of the work we do at In Place of War, using music as a tool for positive change in areas of conflict across the Global South, we are launching a music education programme called #HackMusic. The aim of the initiative is to empower artists in the regions where we support grassroots arts projects to 'hack' all elements of the music industry, from the creation of the song to all the tech aspects, to distribution, equipment and better accessing the infrastructure of the industry – helping them to positively impact their economic and social opportunities. The funds raised from the auction will support artists in the completion of this programme, which, to many, will be life changing."