Ringo Starr on Ludwig Drum Kit Up for Auction

Ringo’s Treasure Trove Brings in $9.2m

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Topping the list is the Ludwig drum kit that fired the opening shots of the British Invasion.

A lifetime accumulation of Ringo Starr’s memorabilia has been sold at an historic Beverly Hills auction with a portion of the $9.2m raised earmarked for the Lotus Foundation, Ringo and wife Barbara Bach’s charity. More than 1,300 pieces including clothes, instruments and jewelry were sold to benefit a wide swath of social causes ranging from substance abuse to animal protection.

Topping the list of prized items sold by Julien’s Auctions is the iconic Ludwig kit on which Ringo performed hundreds of times and cut “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” among many other early hits. It alone fetched $2,110.000.


A close-up look at some of the instruments auctioned off, with Mr. Starr himself curating.

Another significant sale item was Ringo’s copy of The White Album, numbered 000001, which brought in another $790,000—what is thought be a record-setter for a sound recording. Erroneously believed to have gone to John Lennon based on information Paul McCartney gave his own biographer, the first pressing of the double LP was purchased by an anonymous bidder.

While the question of how it came into Ringo’s possession is unclear, what is clear is that the record is not in absolute mint-condition In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ringo revealed that, "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 runner-up among the top-earning items in the auction was a 1964 Rickenbacker that John Lennon gave to Ringo in 1968. It fetched $910,000. Also auctioned was George Harrison’s 1962 Gretsch Tennessean. The instrument was given to Ringo by Harrison’s family following the posthumous Concert for George in 2002 and brought in $179,200.

A lifetime’s worth of rings were also up for sale, many of which Ringo wore during The Beatles’ heyday. Indeed, Randall Starkey morphed into Ringo Starr largely as a result of the array of rings he habitually wore.

Reflecting on the trove prior to the auction, Ringo said, "Some of the stuff, it's a real surprise that we still had it because it's been in storage for so long. I don't mind getting rid of a lot of stuff and it goes to good use. That's the deal."

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