Entertainment Memorabilia
25 Jun 2014
London, Knightsbridge

A cherry red Gibson SG Special guitar belonging to Pete Townshend of The Who is top lot (estimate £30,000-40,000)

The Bonhams Knightsbridge Entertainment Memorabilia sale on Wednesday 25th June will showcase over 300 items of iconic rock, pop and film history. Highlights include guitars, stage costumes, personal items, letters, props and behind-the-scenes photographs of the stars of the 1950s through to the present day.

Fifty years ago, on 6th July, the World Premiere of the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night took place in London's West End. To celebrate the event, the Bonhams sale offers a section of Beatles memorabilia linked to the film.

A Beatles dress, worn by a programme seller at the World Premiere of A Hard Day's Night (Lot 341), is estimated at £10,000-15,000. The turquoise and white linen dress is embellished with images of the band and is signed in blue pen by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Brian Epstein. The premier of A Hard Day's Night was a charity event which aided the Youth Clubs and Community Centres of the more deprived areas in the East End of London. This dress was one of very few items of clothing provided to a select group of dedicated programme sellers. The vendor, who attended the reception at the Dorchester Hotel after the event, managed to get her dress signed by the band.

A tailored suit that was made for John Lennon for use in the film A Hard Day's Night (lot 377) is estimated to sell for £20,000-30,000. The suit was made in London by Millings & Son and is listed in the tailors' books as Order No. 722 dated 5/11/63. The trousers are inscribed in black ballpoint pen "John Lennon 'Hard Days Night'". The lot is sold with a letter of provenance from the tailors stating that that it was part of an order for a Beatles film from that date. According to Millings, the suit was returned for alteration and subsequently given to them by John Lennon. Douglas Millings was the band's principle designer for many years and was even given a cameo role in the film.

A set of captivating behind-the-scenes photographs by the British photographer David Hurn taken on the set of A Hard Day's Night are offered with estimates ranging from £1,000-3,000. The black and white pigment prints capture intimate, un-posed snapshots of the band while the cameras are off. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are pictured at Abbey Road Studios for a read through (lot 334), John Lennon sits on a train smoking (lot 338) and the band laugh and joke on-set during the final scene of the film (lot 339).

Rock and Pop music Legends:

A deep cherry red Gibson SG Special guitar (lot 186), circa 1967, owned and used by Pete Townshend of The Who, is the most valuable lot in the sale and carries an estimate of £30,000-40,000. Pete Townshend regularly stated that the Gibson SG was his guitar of preference. This model guitar is the one most readily identified with Townshend whilst touring with The Who in the late 1960s until 1973. Most of them were destroyed when he famously smashed them to smithereens on-stage during his performances. In an accompanying letter, Townshend writes about this guitar " must be one of the few passing through my hands, which has survived without getting smashed...".

A Nirvana handwritten set list (lot 305) written in black marker-pen by Dave Grohl which was taped to the stage by Kurt Cobain's mic stand during a 1991 Nirvana performance in Glasgow, appears with estimate of £2,000-3,000. The list is complete with dirty footprints from the sole of a trainer along the bottom edge where Cobain possibly stood. According to the vendor who was at the Glasgow concert, at the end of the gig he asked a member of Security for the set list which the guard ripped from the stage next to Kurt's mic stand.

Film highlights:

The flying jacket worn by Steve Mc Queen (lot 44) as Buzz Rickson in the film 'The War Lover' is estimated to sell for £5,000-7,000. Since the costume department's jacket was too large for McQueen, this original USA regular Type B-3 issue leather flying jacket with sheepskin was loaned to Steve McQueen by the aviation assistant for the film.

The double-edged steel blade sword prop from the film Highlander is offered with estimate of £10,000-15,000. The sword was made for Clancy Brown as Kurgan and was obtained by the Prop Master for the film, John Allenby, once filming had ceased. It was the only steel blade produced for the film.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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