Over 800 items owned by Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, are going to auction, including rare Beatles memorabilia like his three-piece drum kit used in over 200 performances.
The unprecedented number of Beatles-owned objects will be offered from December 4-5 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, California and the sale could top $US5 million-$US10 million.
“It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity. Ringo will never do this again. They are the only items he’s letting go,” said auctioneer Darren Julien.
Starr, 75, said the idea for the auction came after The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles asked to do an exhibition about his life and music in 2013-2014.
“It started with me looking at storage units we have all around the world it seems … We found we had so much stuff.”
Then another project – an upcoming book and an exhibition currently at London’s National Portrait Gallery of photographs Starr took of his former bandmates – turned up “boxes of negatives from the ’60s onward,” he said.
On top of that, Starr and Bach sold their country house in England and closed down their apartment in Monte Carlo.
“We thought, ‘What are we going to do with all this stuff?”‘ he said. So they turned to Julien’s Auctions.
“Beside the dinner services and glasses, I thought I will make it very special. … I’m also putting in The White Album No. 1 which I had in a bank vault for the last 35 years” and several guitars, including a Gretsch that was a gift from George Harrison and the Lennon Rickenbacker, Starr said.
Like his book Photograph by Ringo Starr, coming out later this month, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the couple’s Lotus Children Foundation that focuses on social welfare issues around the world.
Auction highlights and their pre-sale estimates:
• Ringo’s first 1963 Ludwig Oyster black pearl three-piece drum kit that he used in over 200 performances and recordings between May 1963 and February 1964, including for hits such as Can’t Buy Me Love and All My Loving. Paul McCartney also used the set on his first solo album, McCartney. $US300,000-$US500,000 ($A423,609-$A706,015)
• Lennon’s 1964 Rose-Morris Rickenbacker with a fire-glo sunburst finish that he played during The Beatles’ 1964-1965 Christmas shows. He made a gift of the guitar, known as the “Beatle-Backer,” to Starr in 1968. $US600,000-$US800,000.
• A 2000 Mercedes Coupe, first owned by Harrison and acquired by Starr after the Beatles’ lead guitarist died in 2001. $US60,000-$US80,000.
• A seven-tom drum kit inspired by drummer Hal Blaine and commissioned for Ringo by Harrison in 1968. Only five sets of the custom kits are known to exist. $US10,000-$US20,000.
Highlights will be on display for a week at The Hard Rock Cafe New York in Times Square starting November 16.