Rolling Stones legend Bill Wyman is putting his collection of memorabilia that spans the five decades he spent with the band up for auction for £3million.
The collection of 1,000 items includes guitars, keyboards, amps, awards and outfits the band wore on stage throughout his 50-year career playing bass for the rock ‘n roll legends.
Wyman, 83, who played with the band from 1962 to 1993, says he will donate some of the proceeds to a group of his favourite charities.
Among the highlights are some incredibly valuable bass guitars, some of which are worth up to £400,000 each.
The most expensive instrument is a 1969 Fender Mustang bass in a ‘Competition Orange’ finish designed by Leo Fender himself. It was played by Wyman during the Stones’ concerts and recordings in 1969 and 1970 and was exhibited at the O2 Arena Rock Exhibition in London in 2010. It is expected to sell for £385,000.
They are all going under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles in late May.
Music producer Bill Wyman is putting his £3million collection of Rolling Stones memorabilia that spans five decade up for auction for £3million. Pictured left: A 1978 Travis Bean custom short scale bass hand built for Bill Wyman. Right: Early 1960s Framus Star Bass model 5/150 used by Wyman between 1963 and 1965
This guitar case used by Wyman during his time playing bass for the Stones will also be up for grabs in May’s auction
This guitar case is among 1,000 items being put up for auction by Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, now 83, at an auctioneers in Los Angeles, USA
Pictured: The 1962 VOX ‘Normal’ model amplifier used by Bill Wyman at his audition for the Rolling Stones. It was used regularly in the Stones’ early days and Richards later admitted it played a part in Wyman joining the group
This poster advertises the auction, which begins at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles, USA, on May 29, and will see 1,000 of Bill Wyman’s possessions from his time with the Rolling Stones go under the hammer
A 1978 custom-built Travis Bean short scale bass used by Wyman on the band’s recordings, videos and tours in 1978 is tipped to make £230,000.
A Dan Armstrong prototype bass that once appeared on Top of the Pops with Wyman is also valued at £155,000.
One of the most stand-out lots is an old amplifier Wyman used for his audition to join the fledgling band in 1962.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones were suitably impressed by Wyman’s musical skills and his VOX AC-30 amp that they hired him.
The amp was used regularly in the Stones’ early days and Richards later admitted it played a part in Wyman joining the group.
Richards, 76, said: ‘Bill had amplifiers! Bill came fully equipped. A Vox AC-30 amplifier, which was beyond our means to possess.
‘We used to worship it. We used to look at it and get on our knees. To have an amplifier was crucial.’
This bright orange outfit worn by Bill Wyman with an ice cream cone embroidered on the back is going under the hammer for several thousand pounds in Los Angeles in May
Also going under the hammer is this Mellotron MKII Model Keyboard, which was delivered to Wyman’s house in December 1966. At the time the American instrument cost him £830 but it is now expected to sell for £45,000
There is also a Mellotron MKII Model Keyboard going under the hammer, which was delivered to Wyman’s house in December 1966.
At the time the instrument cost him £830 but it is now expected to sell for £45,000.
The wooden piece was incredibly advanced for its day as it included built-in recording equipment that could capture everything that was played.
There are a number of personal artefacts in the collection that document some of the Stones’ earliest days as a group.
There is an early BBC radio contract dated July 15, 1964 for an appearance The Rhythm and Blues Show, recorded on October 8 1964.
The show aired on October 31 that year and the contract is now predicted to fetch £2,000.
Other items from the early years of the group include an early press release from April 1964 worth £2,000.
There is also a bar bill made out to hellraiser Brian Jones for drinks and food at the Scotch of St James nightclub in London dated April 1966.
The venue was a popular hangout for celebrities in the swinging sixties. The bill is also valued at £2,000.
Pictured: The 1969 Ampeg Portaflex bass amp used by Bill Wyman in 1971 with the Rolling Stones while recording Exhile on Main Street
A ‘silver’ record presented by DISC magazine to the Rolling Stones while Wyman played bass for them
One poignant lot is a bi-fold pamphlet containing a poem by Jim Morrison titled, ‘Ode to L.A. while thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased’.
This is one of only 500 copies of this poem printed by Wetern Lithograph Co. in July 1969. The work reflects on the death of Jones who died in a swimming pool on July 3, 1969.
Morrison distributed the pamphlet during two performances by The Doors at the Aquarius Theatre in Hollywood on July 21 1969.
Very few survived as many concert goers failed to save them. It has an estimate of £4,000.
Speaking about the sale, Wyman said: ‘Collecting and archiving has been one of the great pleasures of my life and will undoubtedly be one of my legacies.
The most valuable instrument in the lot is a 1969 Fender Mustang bass in a ‘Competition Orange’ finish designed by Leo Fender himself (left). There is also the famous ‘Wyman bass’ made by Vox (right) up for grabs
Among the many hundreds of items going on sale is this programme for an NME-sponsored gig at Wembley in April 1965
‘It feels like the right time to share my archive with the world and I hope people will get as much joy from my collections as I have.
‘It is easier to let these items go knowing that a portion of the proceeds from this sale will support three causes that are close to my heart.’
Some of the proceeds will be split between The Prince’s Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Central Caribbean Marine Institute.
Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions, added: ‘This sale features nearly all of the important instruments, equipment and wardrobe in Wyman’s archive, offering fans a singular opportunity to own these historic pieces.
‘The remaining categories of items represented in the auction are by contrast just a sample taken from Wyman’s vast archive of documents, awards, records and memorabilia.’
Laura Woolley, a consulting sale specialist for Julien’s Auctions, said: ‘In my more than 20 years of working with memorabilia and celebrity archives I have never seen an archive as comprehensive as Bill Wyman’s archive.
‘It is unprecedented to find an artist who is as passionate about documenting and preserving history as he was about making history with the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll band, the Rolling Stones.’
The sale will take place between May 29 and May 31.
Wyman recalled paying £830 for this keyboard in the 1960s, but it now has an estimated value of £46,400
Pictured is a very early Decca Records promotional handout of a Rolling Stones LP from April 1964
Laura Woolley, a consulting sale specialist for Julien’s Auctions (promotional poster pictured), said: ‘In my more than 20 years of working with memorabilia and celebrity archives I have never seen an archive as comprehensive as Bill Wyman’s archive. It is unprecedented to find an artist who is as passionate about documenting and preserving history as he was about making history with the world’s greatest rock ‘n roll band, the Rolling Stones.’