White album $790,000
A rare pressing of the Beatles’ White Album from Ringo Starr’s record collection has sold at auction for $790,000.
Julien’s Auctions says an anonymous buyer made the purchase Saturday at a sale in Beverly Hills, California.
The mono pressing was the very first in the United Kingdom of the 1968 album.
“We used to play the vinyl in those days,” Starr previously told Rolling Stone of his copy of the band’s classic 1968 LP. “We didn’t think, ‘We’ll keep it for 50 years and it will be in pristine condition.’ Whoever gets it, it will have my fingerprints on it.” The copies of The White Album were numbered in sequence, ensuring that whoever purchased Starr’s copy would have the first printing produced of the album.
The auction house said the White Album sale smashed a record set in 2015, when Elvis Presley’s first acetate recording sold at auction for $300,000.
It followed a sale on Friday of one of Starr’s early drum kits for $2.2 million to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
The two-day auction included a drum kit from the “Hello Goodbye” video ($112,000), a Rickenbacker guitar gifted to the drummer from Lennon ($910,000, also purchased by Irsay) and a Starr-owned Hofner bass ($22,500). Starr’s A Hard Day’s Night suit was also sold for $50,000.
Another item that generated a lot of interest on the auction block was a 1971 18-karat yellow gold “Moonphase” Patek Philippe wristwatch. The watch – which sold for $179,000, nearly double its $80,000 estimate – was one of the few items on the block that didn’t need the benefit of Starr’s ownership to increase its value: As Bloomberg reported, Starr’s Patek Philippe wristwatch was incredibly rare, one of only 586 made, attracting watch enthusiasts more so than Beatles fanatics. When the same model Patek Philippe was auctioned in November 2012, it drew a closing bid of $136,000.