The Fame and Fortune in Bowie Memorabilia
‘Ground control to major collectors!’ Watch out for a thriving market in David Bowie artefacts!
Fame is the title of one of David Bowie’s greatest hits. But he was once quoted as saying: “Fame doesn’t really afford you any more than a good seat in a restaurant!”
But for owners of genuine Bowie artefacts, finding the best seat in the best diners shouldn’t be a problem. These days items associated with Bowie are currently soaring in value.
A fine example is the recently sold reel-to-reel demo tape which includes unheard versions of the hit Starman. The tape was originally listed at between £5,000 to £10,000 but when it went under the hammer in March 2019, and sold for £41,000.
Bowie material is not difficult to come by, but with such a scramble for items like the Starman tape, is it any wonder the David Bowie artefacts are being seriously re-evaluated?
Attention also focused on an auction by Omega Auctions when another early Bowie demo tape was available. It’s a magnetic Scotch Tape (remember Scotch Tape?) and it came to the market with a starting bid of £3,000.
From an age when digital mobile cameras were science fiction, a set of original film negatives, of the final Ziggy Stardust concert are being sold. It’s also at the Omega Auction. The starting bid for these negs was £1,500.
If you thought cassettes were confined to history, don’t be so hasty. Two cassettes of a David Bowie press conference had a starting bid of £1,500 at the Omega Auction.
In Warhol’s footsteps?
As well as a musician and actor, Bowie was a prolific artist in paint. His reputation as a fine artist is drawing as much attention as his musical prowess.
Some were even predicting that Bowie could be the new Andy Warhol. It’s odd that except for re-prints, few Bowie original paintings have ever been offered on the open market. After his death in 2016, his private art collection sold for more than £24 million but it didn’t include any of his own works.
Zenzi is one of Bowie originals that did sell and its back on the market. It is special because it was the main attraction at his first solo exhibition in London in 1995. Prints of Zenzi have been sold for as much as £5,000 but the original has apparently been up for sale – on eBay. It’s been offered at £125,000 which art experts might consider a real bargain.
Starman lyrics for £53,000
In November 2017, a draft of the handwritten lyrics to the hit ‘Starman’ sold in the US for £53,000. The item had been expected to fetch about £5,000.
The lyrics were unsigned but dated from the early 1970s. It was accompanied by a letter of authenticity which stated that the lyrics were written prior to Ziggy Stardust’s release in 1972. There are differences between this version and the final recorded version of the song. It shows Bowie’s creative mind at work.
Less scary prices
Much more accessible to mere mortals are items like this signed copy of the album Scary Monsters which he autographed on October 17, in Berlin in 1991.
A Music Legends coin series?
Did you know Bowie is part of The Royal Mint’s Music Legends coin series? After his impressive 61 UK top 40 singles, he’s earned himself a spot on a £5 coin celebrating a colourful career. Its lightning bolt design is instantly recognisable from the Aladdin Sane era and is synonymous with the musician.
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