Ringo Starr's personal copy of the Beatles' The White Album, numbered No.0000001, sold for a world record $790,000 Saturday at the Julien's Live auction of instruments and items from Starr and wife Barbara Bach's estate. Starr's White Album carried a pre-auction estimate of $40,000 to $60,000, a number that was easily shattered during bidding.
"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.
Starr's 1963 Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl three-piece drum kit, used in the recording of "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "She Loves You" and other classics from that era, sold for $2.2 million Friday. The kit was used by Starr in more than 200 performances between May of 1963 and February of 1964 and later employed by Paul McCartney during the recording of his 1970 solo album McCartney.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay purchased the drum kit, which hadn't been seen in public for over 50 years. The Colts owner and rock memorabilia enthusiasts previously purchased high-profile instruments like Bob Dylan's 1965 Newport Folk Festival guitar, John Lennon's 1966 "Paperback Writer" Gretsch guitar and Les Paul's "Black Beauty."
Other Starr instruments sold at auction include 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.