ROLLING STONES MEMORABILIA: THE WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE ITEMS
Six decades on, and the Stones are still rolling. For fans and collectors looking for a piece of the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band, there's plenty to choose from - but some items are pricier than others. Here's a list of the world's most valuable pieces of Rolling Stones memorabilia.
20) Street Fighting Man picture sleeve
The song Street Fighting Man was inspired by political riots in Paris, London and across the U.S during the late 1960s. It was released as a single in August 1968, and originally featured a picture sleeve depicting U.S police officers beating a protestor.
It was the first Stones single with sleeve artwork which didn't feature the band themselves, but it was quickly withdrawn by London Records who deemed the image inappropriate. The song was also banned by numerous radio stations in Chicago, in the wake of riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and it remains perhaps the band's most openly political track.
It's believed that just 10 – 18 copies of the picture sleeve have survived to this day, and this particular copy sold at Bonhams in 2011 for $17,080, making it one of the world's most valuable (non signed) record sleeves.
19) First recording session acetate
Having formed just a few months earlier, The Rolling Stones recorded their first demo in October 1962 at Curly Clayton's studio in North London. The initial line-up was yet to include Charlie Watts or Bill Wyman, and this first recording features Mick, Keith and Brian alongside Tony Chapman on drums, Ian Stewart on piano and Dick Taylor on bass.
The band recorded three tracks - 'Soon Forgotten', 'Close Together' and 'You Can't Judge A Book' – which were then pressed onto double-sided acetates and sent out to record companies. This first demo failed to win them a deal, and was rejected by both EMI and Decca – the label which later signed them in 1963, after Head of A&R Dick Rowe saw them live at the Crawdaddy Club.
This highly rare demo acetate sold at Sotheby's in 2002 for $17,810 (£10,800).
18) Signed U.S album
(Image: Heritage Auctions)
In October 1964 The Stones arrived in New York for an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, to promote their U.S release album 'The Rolling Stones- England's Newest Hit Makers'. The band were staying at the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel, and presented a promo copy of the album to the lady on the front desk as a gift for her son, signed by every band member except Mick.
The resourceful son then managed to enlist the help of Chuck Leavell, touring keyboardist for the band, who managed to get Mick's signature on the sleeve to complete the full set. Having remained in his collection for decades, the consignor sold his rare autographed promo copy at Heritage Auctions in 2013 for $18,750.
17) Mick Jagger's jacket
This elaborately decorated satin jacket features dragons, pagodas and other oriental motifs, and originated from Hung On You – a short-lived London boutique opened by society dandy Michael Rainey. The store offered designs created by East End tailors using oriental fabrics, and was frequented by stars including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who.
Along with Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix was also known to own an identical jacket. Jagger wore his jacket on stage during the band's European tour in the Spring of 1967, and it later sold at Bonhams in 2005 for £10,800 (approximately $19,400).
16) Brian Jones' Gold record
(Image: Heritage Auctions)
This RIAA Gold Record was awarded to commemorate more than one million sales of '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' – the breakthrough track written by Keith Richards that gave the Stones their first U.S #1 hit.
The record was presented to band member Brian Jones who, ironically, hated the song, and would often deliberately play along to it with a completely different tune on stage (usually the theme to 'Popeye the Sailor Man'. Jones later gave the record away to a friend, and in 2013 it ended up at Heritage Auctions, where it sold for $20,000.
15) Keith Richards' Nudie suit
(Image: Julien's Auctions)
This flamboyant suit was custom-made for Keith Richards by Nudie Cohn, the celebrated tailor who created outfits for the likes of Elvis Presley, John Wayne, Gene Autry, Ronald Reagan, Elton John, and Richards' close friend Gram Parsons.
The burnt orange suit features a silver lame lapel along with images of the sunshine, UFOs, and Western style designs, with coiling snakes forming the tuxedo stripes of the pants. Richards was photographed on stage wearing the suit jacket during the Stones' 1973 European Tour, and it later featured the Fullerton Museum Center's 'Rhinestones and Twangin' Tones' exhibition in 2006. It sold at Julien's in 2010 for $21,875.
14) Ronnie Wood's guitar
(Image: Julien's Auctions)
This Tokai Fender-style electric guitar was played by Ronnie Wood on stage throughout the Stones' 1981 U.S tour, which saw them perform in 29 cities across the country and gross more than $50 million at the box office. It was also played at Wood's home Sandymount in Ireland, in his own recording studio.
The guitar is hand-painted by Wood, a respected artist in his own right, and reads "Black and Blue" – the title of the first Rolling Stones studio album on which Wood officially replaced former guitarist Mick Taylor in 1976. It was sold at Julien's in 2010 for $31,250.
13) Mick Jagger's jumpsuit
This flamboyant lace-up sleeveless jumpsuit, made from pearl white velour with silver metal poppers and transparent sequins, was created for Mick Jagger by the celebrated British designer Ossie Clark.
Jagger wore the jumpsuit on stage at Madison Square Garden on July 26, 1972, as the Stones played the final gig of their 1972 U.S. tour, during which he performed with Stevie Wonder (the tour's support act) and was presented with a cake to celebrate his 29th birthday. Forty years on, the suit sold at Christie's in London in 2012 for $32,000.
12) Keith Richards' custom skull guitar
(Image: Heritage Auctions)
This Fender Telecaster was custom painted for Keith Richards by airbrush artist Paul Karslake, who recalled the commission: "Keith asked me to paint his guitar... I thought about what he would possibly like, maybe reggae, a blues theme, something with a 'sympathy for the devil' theme and then it hit me, what else but skulls HAHA!"
Richards later played the guitar on stage in 2007, during the final shows of the Stones' A Bigger Bang tour, and in 2015 it sold at Heritage Auctions for $32,500.
11) Keith Richards’ acoustic guitar
This Harmony 12-string acoustic guitar, with a natural finish and 18 fret fingerboard, was owned and played by Keith Richards circa 1964. That year saw the Stones complete their first U.S tour, including a performance that got them banned from the Ed Sullivan Show, and record their first two U.K number 1 singles.
The guitar was used by Richards during a performance on the British television show Ready Steady Go!, and was sold at Christie’s in December 2004 for $33,460.
10) Keith Richards’ Gibson Guitar
This original 1957 semi-acoustic Gibson ES350T guitar features a classic sunburst finish, and was the favourite model of rock and roll legend Chuck Berry amongst others. The guitar was owned and played onstage by Keith Richards, and was accompanied by images of his using it during a performance at a blues club in Chicago. It sold at Heritage Auctions in April 2005 for $34,057.
9) Mick Jagger’s tunic and scarf
This long sleeved yellow flowery tunic and matching yellow scarf were worn by the ever-stylish Mick Jagger during the late 1960s. They were gifted to Prince ‘Stash’ Klossowski de Rola, a friend of the band and general swinging London dandy whose own pop career was short-lived but whose presence on the 60s scene saw him rub shoulders with stars like The Beatles and Jimmie Hendrix.
Stash was born Prince Stanislaus Klossowski De Rola, Baron De Watteville, the son of Balthus, one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. The aristocrat found a home with rock stars, models and freaks on both sides of the Atlantic, and was busted alongside Brian Jones for drug possession in 1967. After Jones died, de Rola became close with Richards and accompanied the Stones on tour for years as a roadie, and more importantly acted as Keith’s wing-man, bag-man and appropriator of illicit substances.
The tunic and scarf were sold from de Rola’s personal collection at Christie’s in June 2012 for £23,750 ($36,718).
8) Autographed guitar
This Danelectro Sears Silvertone guitar was played onstage in Oakland California by Mick Jagger during the band’s Bigger Bang Tour in 2007, which broke the record for the biggest in music history with takings of $558 million worldwide. Bearing signatures of Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ron Wood, and accompanied by a backstage pass from the concert, the guitar was sold at a Julien’s auction in February 2008 for $37,500.
7) Brian Jones’ shirt
This long sleeved Nehru-style shirt was worn by Brian Jones in the late 1960s, and gifted to his close friend Prince ‘Stash’ Klossowski de Rola. They had met in Paris in 1965, when de Rola supported the Stones as the drummer for Vince Taylor and the Playboys. Their friendship and love of fashion saw the pair become two of the most visible figures in swinging London, permanent fixtures at nightclubs and boutiques alike. Together they were busted for drug possession at Brian’s London flat in 1967, an incident which played a role in Jones’ descent into paranoia and his subsequent alienation from the band.
Like Jagger’s tunic and scarf, the shirt was sold from de Rola’s own collection at Christie’s in June 2012 for £25,000 ($38,650).
6) 1963 Crawdaddy Club recording
The original Crawdaddy Club started life in the back room of the Station Hotel in Richmond, West London, run by blues fanatic Giorgio Gomelsky. The Stones first played the venue in February 1963, just a month after drummer Charlie Watts joined the band, but within three weeks their residency was bringing crowds from across London. They moved to two shows a week, attracting the likes of The Beatles to see them perform, before their popularity became too much for the venue.
The Crawdaddy then moved down the road to the Richmond Athletic Ground, and the Stones moved with it until they left the residency to embark on national tours and bigger venues in September 1963. Just a couple of months before their departure, the band were recorded live on stage using a clockwork tape recorder by Paul Lucas, bass player in Jeff Beck's band The Tridents.
The 90-minute set included their first hit single ‘Come On’, along with classic covers such as ‘Route 66’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ and ‘Love Potion No.9’. In May 2004, this original tape – the only known recording of the band’s famous Crawdaddy gigs – sold at Christie’s for £23,900 ($42,877).
5) Brian Jones’ Harmony Stratotone guitar
In 1962, not long after forming the band, Brian Jones and Keith Richards found themselves living with no food in a freezing flat in Chelsea’s Edith Grove. Jones’ friend Dick Hattrell moved in to give them some much-needed extra rent money, and soon after bought Jones his first name brand guitar – a 1960 Harmony Stratotone.
Jones used the guitar extensively during this formative year of the band, practising endless blues riffs with Richards and performing at venues including The Marquee Club and The Crawdaddy Club, where they were first scouted by Decca records in February 1963. Jones also used the guitar during the recording of their early unreleased studio demos, as well as their first official single 'Come On/I Want To Be Loved' released by Decca in June 1963.
Jones replaced the guitar with the first flush of money the band received from the record deal, and it ended up in the collection of booking agent Eric Easton, who had worked alongside the band’s manager Andrew Oldham. After changing hands twice in the mid 1960s, the guitar remained in the hands of a private collector for more than 40 years before selling at Christie’s in July 2009 for £79,250 ($130,208).
4) Mick Jagger love letters to Marsha Hunt
In 1969 Jagger began a secret love affair with the American actress, model and singer Marsha Hunt who starred in the London production of ‘Hair’. The relationship lasted around 10 months, producing the couple’s daughter Karis born in 1970, and was conducted in private. Hunt was later revealed as the inspiration for the classic song ‘Brown Sugar’ amongst other Stones tracks of the period.
In 1969 Jagger flew to Australia to film ‘Ned Kelly’ along with Faithful, who was due to play his on-screen sister. Soon after arriving in Sydney, Faithful took an overdose of sleeping pills and was hospitalised, before being sent home and losing her role. During his stay, Jagger wrote Hunt a number of love letters which covered everything from his relationship with Faithful and his thoughts on the death of Brain Jones to his career plans and even song lyrics.
In December 2012 Hunt sold the series of letter at auction through Sotheby’s for £187,250 ($301,473).
3) Rock 'n' Roll Circus photo archive
(Image: Fame Bureau)
In 1968 the Stones recorded a television spectacular for the BBC known as the ‘Rock and Roll Circus’, filmed in front of an audience in a giant circus tent in North London. The event featured live performances from The Who, Marianne Faithful, Jethro Tull and John Lennon (appearing without The Beatles for the first time and backed by musicians including Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell). It also marked the final time Brian Jones ever performed live with the band he had formed six years earlier.
However, the entire event was never broadcast and only surfaced on DVD in 1996, after the Stones deliberately withheld it. Some believe they were unhappy with their performance, having taken to the stage at 5.00am after 15 hours of filming, when both the band and the audience were completely exhausted. Others who were present at the show believe the Stones didn’t want to be upstaged by The Who, who had turned in a blistering performance and were clearly the stars of the show.
The entire 15-hour event was captured by photographer Mike Randolph, one of the very few allowed access during filming. In June 2007 Randolph’s archive of more than 400 photographs and original negatives from the show were sold, along with the copyright to every image, for $400,000 during a Fame Bureau auction.
2) Original tongue logo artwork
(Image: Cooper Owen)
The Stones’ tongue is one of the world’s most recognisable logos, appearing on every album, tour t-shirt and piece of branded merchandise for more than forty years. It was created by designer John Pasche, and inspired by Mick Jagger’s idea of using the disembodied tongue of the Indian Goddess Kali. Pasche combined this with Jagger’s inimitable lips to create a logo which was at once sexually provocative and distinctly anti-authoritarian – just like the band themselves.
The original artwork, hand-painted by Pasche in 1970, along with the original letter from the Stones commissioning the logo, sold at a Cooper Owen auction in December 2005 for a record-breaking £300,000 (approx.$529,000).
1) Keith Richards' Bentley
Between them, the Stones have owned any number of flash cars over the years, but only one played such a role in shaping the history of the band – Keith Richards' legendary Bentley, known as 'Blue Lena'.
According to Richards, who bought the car in 1965, “it was a car meant to be driven fast at night. My dark blue Bentley, my S3 Continental Flying Spur – an automobile of some rarity, one of a limited edition of 87. Having this car was already heading for trouble, breaking the rules of the establishment, driving a car I was definitely not born in to. ‘Blue Lena’ had carried us on many an acid-fuelled journey.”
It was in this very car that Richards, Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg and model Deborah Dixon made the journey to Morrocco in February 1967, in search of some legal drugs following the band's much-publicized bust and impending court case.
Whilst staying in Marrakech, Jones and Pallenberg's turbulent relationship finally exploded in violent fashion. Richards swooped in to rescue her in the dead of night, and the pair were driven back to London by the band's "key fixer" Tom Keylock, consummating the start of their 23-year relationship in the back seat on the way home.
Jones remained in Morocco, consumed by drug-fuelled paranoia that was (for once) actually justified. His band mate had stolen his woman, and things between the Stones would never be the same again...
In September 2015, Bonhams sold the famous car – complete with Richards' original custom-fitted drug stash compartments – for $1.1 million.