Rare items from the late veteran BBC DJ John Peel’s home collection – including test pressings of Sex Pistols’ notorious debut single, “Anarchy In The UK” and a signed record from John Lennon and Yoko Ono – have gone under the hammer.
John Peel, who lived in Suffolk, was BBC Radio 1’s longest-serving original DJ until he died in 2004 aged 65. His widow Sheila Ravenscroft said “people ought to be able to look at, own and enjoy” the items.
The signed Lennon/Ono album went for £15,300, though the highest bid was for the test pressings of Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The UK” at £20,400. The lot had been estimated to sell for up to £8,000 but fetched more than double that amount. In total, the 200 lots sold for a total of £465,784 at the auction held by Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London.
Other high-selling items included an original demo cassette from The Smiths with a letter from the band, dated 4 February 1983, that had been expected to sell for between £500 and £700, but fetched £17,850. A Queen II LP that came with a letter from Freddie Mercury sold for £16,575.
The mono pressing of Lennon and Ono’s 1968 LP Two Virgins, 1968, which famously had them pictured naked on the cover, went for £15,300.
Peel’s real name was John Ravenscroft and he was born in Heswall, Cheshire and went to Shrewsbury School as a boarder. He moved to a village near the Suffolk town Stowmarket in the 1970s. The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts that opened in the town in 2010 and is due to be expanded.
Ms Ravenscroft said the family had thought about holding the auction for a number of years and thought it was a “good thing to do”.
“It’s 18 years since John died and the house is still full of all of his things that he collected, that he hoarded, and the house shouldn’t be a museum, things shouldn’t be packed away in boxes, they are interesting items and valuable items that people ought to be able to look at, own and enjoy,” she said.