An Abbey Road Studios EMI TG12345 MK IV recording console sold for $1,807,500 at Bonhams TCM Presents...Rock and Roll Through the Lens sale in New York on 27 March 2017. The console far surpassed the pre-sale estimate of $700,000.
The console was used extensively between 1971 and 1983 in studio two, and was used to its full potential by rock royalty Pink Floyd to record their landmark album, The Dark Side of the Moon. Recently voted the Number One Rock Album of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, the album remained in the charts for 741 weeks. The Dark Side of the Moon was released to critical acclaim in 1973 and was the turning point in the band's commercial success. Launched against a backdrop of the Vietnam War, the recent moon landings and a departure from the era of flower power, this album echoed the popular consciousness of the time.
One of only two custom made by EMI engineers, the console was commissioned as an update for MK II model. Considered as 'the greatest console ever constructed,' by Brian Gibson, the world authority on TG consoles and an ex-engineer from Abbey Road, Pink Floyd utilised this desk with producer Alan Parsons to create a timeless ten track album full of atmospheric soundscapes that explored the evolution of neo-psychedelic art rock and jazz and blue-rock, and was testament to the superior engineering of this equipment.
In its time at Abbey Road, the console was used by some of the greatest names in pop and rock history including; Paul McCartney and Wings, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Kate Bush. The console is in full working order, and is accompanied by a letter of provenance from Ken Townsend, former Abbey Road Studio Manager and a copy of the album The Dark Side of the Moon (1973).
Katherine Schofield, Head of Entertainment Memorabilia in London commented: "The world record price of this important item of music engineering only confirms the military precision of EMI craftsmanship and the powerhouse persona of Abbey Road Studio. The intense bidding seen in the room and on the phone speaks to its association with one of the UK's most relevant and successful bands, Pink Floyd, and highlights the fact that this is far from being any ordinary console."
The sale of the Abbey Road console comes ahead of the May 13 opening of The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.
Additional highlights sold include:
• A Bernie Worell custom clavinet sold for $20,000 against a high estimate of $3,000
• A pair of Tupac Shakur letters sold for $11,875 against a high estimate of $3,000
• An Eminem costume from 8 Mile sold for $11,875
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also 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 forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com