Words and Photos by Rod Snyder
There are a few times in life when you wished you had a few million dollars in the bank to spend on whatever your heart desires. Maybe for some, this could have been one of those days. On March 27 at Bonhams, in New York City, one could have easily have spent a considerable sum of money bidding on items from the TCM Presents…Rock & Roll Through The Lens.
The auction consisted of over 200 lots ranging from custom clothing designed for Cher & Elton John by Ret Turner, clothes & keyboards from the late Bernie Worrell , guitars signed by The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, U2, Les Paul & a guitar from the “Top of the Pops” signed by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, & many others. Also included was the recorder used by Jimi Hendrix on the Axis: Bold as Love song “If 6 was 9”.
But the main attraction this day was the EMI TG12345 MK IV Recording Console from studio 2 at Abbey Road Studio. Why? This is the console that was used by Pink Floyd to create their epic album, Dark Side of the Moon…an album that some of you may have heard before. It was used by many others during its years of operation (1971-1983) including Paul McCartney & Wings, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Kate Bush & in later years, The Cure. While all of the auction items were at Bonhams, the recording studio was still located in London in storage, presumably due to it’s size & cost to transport.
The auction started at 1:00 pm EST and was broadcast online too. The auction started with a group of Elvis & some Motown items. They seemed to move by fast until we came to lot #35, the recording console. There was no estimate price for how much it would go for prior to bidding. Nothing like this had ever been for sale before. The auctioneer threw out a number & bidding started off at $200,000 & quickly went up from there. It was surreal watching the live bidding of a guy, 2 rows in front of you & someone bidding via phone (there were Bonham reps handling phone bids & internet bids). In the end, it was between those 2. They were raising the price in $100,000 increments like it was nothing. I suppose if you’re buying a console like this, money is indeed no object.
A few minutes into the bidding, the price crossed the one million dollar mark. How much higher could it go? The room was on the edge of their seats. Finally at the 1.5 million dollar mark, the bidder over the phone went silent. The hammer fell & the man in the room from California had won the console. A big round of applause was given by the people in attendance. It truly was something to witness. Before the next lot began, the auctioneer stated that in the 40 years he’d been auctioning, that was the highest amount for an item he had sold. After the premiums, the cost of the console was $1,807,500. That doesn’t include the shipping cost from London to the West Coast! Word was he plans to put it back in use in a studio in California.
There was still plenty of auction left though. A few pieces from Prince among them, hand written lyrics/notes from the movie Purple Rain , An early handwritten poem from Bob Dylan & a Bruce Springsteen jacket that he gave to to Al Pacino off his back, on his birthday.
For a more detailed look at the results & information about all that was listed, please check out Bonhams here.
TheWaster.com | $$$