10 of the Most Expensive Music Memorabilia Items Ever Sold

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Few things can inspire devoted worship quite like music. Super-fans will go to incredible lengths to feel connected to their favourite artists – and if that means spending hundreds, thousands or even millions of pounds to get hold of that slice of rare and meaningful music memorabilia, then so be it. Here are 10 examples of what can happen when obsessive fandom meets unlimited funds... 

1. Original Artwork for London Calling By The Clash



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Of all the bands to emerge from the punk scene of the late '70s, The Clash have had the most enduring appeal. They're unfailingly fawned-over by every new generation of music fan, and there are few rock acts out there today who wouldn't cite them as an influence to some degree or another.

Their most beloved album remains 1979's London Calling, so it's little wonder that its original artwork – with that iconic Pennie Smith shot of bassist Paul Simonon smashing his instrument on stage – fetched such a high price at auction.

Price: £72,000

2. Michael Jackson's Billie Jean Glove



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It was the moment Michael Jackson went from star to megastar: On a US television special celebrating the 25th anniversary of Motown Records, Jacko performed his new single Billie Jean, blowing the crowd away with a show-stealing performance that included the world debut of his jaw-dropping moonwalk.

Topping off the bonkers amazingness of it all was Jackson's outfit, which made him look like some kind of glittering musical genius from another galaxy. And the sparkly silver glove – auctioned off to a super-fan in 2009 – was the icing on the cake. 

Price: £271,000

3. Jimi Hendrix's Torched Guitar



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Ask most people to name a rock-guitar maestro and they'll instinctively respond with 'Jimi Hendrix'. He may have passed on 46 years ago, but Hendrix continues to cast a huge shadow over music, and his dazzling performances are still held up by many as the unsurpassed pinnacle of fretwork excellence.

One of his most celebrated live sets took place at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival in San Francisco: At the peak of an explosive rendition of Wild Thing, Hendrix doused his Fender Stratocaster guitar in lighter fluid and set it ablaze. The scorched axe fetched close to a quarter of a million pounds at auction in 2012. 

Price: £237,000

4. John Lennon's Hand-Written Lyrics To Give Peace a Chance



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John Lennon was an iconic figure for the international hippy movement of the late '60s and early '70s, and 1969's Give Peace a Chance – performed with Yoko Ono, and credited to The Plastic Ono Band – was to become an instant anthem for long-haired free-lovers across the globe.

Lennon wrote his anti-war protest song in a Montreal hotel room, where he and Ono were holding a 'bed-in' for peace. One fan managed to evade security to sneak into the room, eventually spending eight days with Lennon and Ono. The plucky intruder was given the hand-written lyrics as a memento, with John telling her that 'these will be worth something some day.' He wasn't wrong.

Price: £629,500

5. Eric Clapton's Blackie Guitar



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Eric Clapton is an all-time guitar legend, and 'Blackie' is his most revered instrument: A jet-black Fender Stratocaster used for all Clapton's live shows from 1970 to 1985, it appeared on classic tracks including Layla, Cocaine, Lay Down Sally and Wonderful Tonight. It was auctioned off in 2004 to raise funds for The Crossroads Centre, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre founded by Clapton, and its price set a world record for guitars at the time – although it was shortly to be outdone...   

Price: £718,000

6. All-Star Fender Stratocaster for Reach Out To Asia



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Sold at auction in 2006 to raise money for Reach Out To Asia, a charity set up to help victims of the 2004 tsunami, this record-breaking Fender Stratocaster was signed by an incredible line-up of names, including – deep breath – Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Brian May, David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler, Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Sting, Ritchie Blackmore, Bryan Adams, Liam Gallagher and Paul McCartney. 

Price: £2.1m

7. Bob Dylan's Hand-Written Lyrics To Like a Rolling Stone



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Breaking through the million-pound mark at a 2014 Sotheby's auction, the first draft of the lyrics to Bob Dylan's most celebrated song offer an intriguing insight into where his mind was at at that moment in time: Not only are the pages covered in distracted doodles, they also feature reminders of upcoming appointments, scrawled in the margins. 

Price: £1.2m 

8. KISS's Stage Costumes



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Detroit rockers KISS may not boast the most critically acclaimed back catalogue in the business, but it was onstage that the band came into their own. Their live shows were designed to blow audience's minds in the most gloriously OTT manner possible, with pyrotechnics, levitating drum kits, fire-breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars and, of course, the band's instantly recognisable make-up and costumes.

Following a 2002 auction at Bonhams, a full set of those KISS clothes went to one lucky member of the KISS Army. 

9. Madonna's Blond Ambition Tour Costumes



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Two particular outfits worn by superstar Madonna on her gleefully controversial Blonde Ambition tour in 1990 were auctioned off in 2012, both snapped up by a superfan of the Queen of Pop for more than twice the expected amount. One was a corset designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier; the other was the rather (in)famous conical-bosomed bustier that was to become synonymous with the singer's saucy image. 

Price: £58,000

10. Ringo Starr's Copy of The White Album



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Auctioned off in December 2015, this is officially the most expensive vinyl record ever sold: Ringo Starr's own copy of The Beatles' critically acclaimed ninth album. A UK pressing stamped with the serial number 0000001 (rumour has it this originally belonged to John Lennon), Starr had kept the album in mint condition by storing it in a vault for 35 years, adding yet another layer of irresistible desirability for obsessives of the Fab Four.

Price: £592,000

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