Pop culture items fetch high prices at NY auction

Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:57pm EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Sgt. Pepper's souvenir poster signed by the four Beatles sold for $52,500 at a Christie's auction of pop culture memorabilia on Tuesday, along with an array of rock, punk and grunge-era items that fetched strong prices.

The sale of some 300 items, from handwritten Bob Dylan lyrics to actor Bob Crane's leather jacket from the 1960s television comedy "Hogan's Heroes" took in a total of $650,863, including the auction house's commission.

Some 70 percent of the offerings found buyers, Christie's said.

Items from grunge and early punk rock days did especially well, said Simeon Lipman, Christie's head of pop culture.

Kurt Cobain's Sears bass guitar sold for $43,750, while a classic black leather motorcycle jacket signed by members of Nirvana and Soundgarden fetched $12,500, more than half again its high pre-sale estimate.

A pair of AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott's handwritten lyric notebooks from the late 1970s was bid up to $35,000.

"With memorabilia, nostalgia really drives the prices. Even in an unstable economy you'll see peaks for certain pieces," said Lipman, who cited Crane's jacket, which sold for $40,000 or twice its high estimate, as an example.

Offbeat items also fetched high prices, like a five-pair set of handcuffs and keys owned by escape artist Harry Houdini which sold for $25,000.   Continued...

<p>Rock musician Bob Dylan performs at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in this May 5, 2004 file photo. REUTERS/Rob Galbraith/Files</p>