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Suffolk DJ John Peel’s archive of rare vinyls and hand-written letters makes £465,784 at auction

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An archive of signed albums and rare recordings which belonged to DJ John Peel has been sold for thousands of pounds at an auction.

The late BBC Radio 1 DJ, who lived in Great Finborough near Stowmarket and died in 2004, had built up a large personal collection during this time.

Two hundred items were sold during the auction held by Bonhams and a total of £465,784 was reached.

Two hundred items from John Peel's personal archive fetched £465,784 in total. Picture: Andy Abbot
Two hundred items from John Peel's personal archive fetched £465,784 in total. Picture: Andy Abbot

At the auction, the highest bid was for Sex Pistols test pressings of hit songs ‘Anarchy In The UK’ with b-side ‘I Wanna Be Me’. Recorded in 1976, the rare recordings sold for £20,400 after being estimated to sell for £8,000.

Another high-selling item was a signed John Lennon and Yoko Ono album which went for £15,300. The avant-garde album, Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins, had its front cover inscribed with ‘To John love John X Yoko X’.

The auction also included a signed postcard from David Bowie from 1967. The musician sent the postcard to John Peel during his first venture into theatre as he worked on productions in London. It sold for £2,295.

The John Peel archive stored vintage concert posters from Jimi Hendirx and Pink Floyd shows. The Jimi Hendrix poster from ‘Christmas On Earth’ concert at Olympia, London in December 1967 sold for £5,355.

Pink Floyd’s ‘Evolutions’ show poster in Southampton, January 1968, sold for £8,925. This show was a particular stand out as the show’s date, January 26, aligned with the band’s sacking of founding member Syd Barrett.

Another high-selling item included a 1974 Queen album, II, that sold for £16,575 and was accompanied with a note written in blue felt-tip pen.

The note read: “Dear John, thanks very much for all the wonderful things you’ve been saying about us.

“After six solid months of constant posing and poovery we’ve finally come up with Queen II. Hope it’s made enough for you. Love, Freddie Mercury.”

Other highlights included a demo cassette from The Smiths that sold for £17,850 and also a Joy Division EP that sold for £6,375.