U2, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones Photograph Archive for Bonhams Sale

Four photographic archives of previously unseen images of U2, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are to go under the hammer at the Entertainment Memorabilia auction on 23rd June 2010 at Bonhams, Knightsbridge.

In 1978 a band called The Hype entered a competition as part of the Limerick Civic Week, but when the night came on 17th March 1978 they changed their name to U2.Emerging victorious, with £500 and studio time to record a demo which was heard by CBS Ireland, the drummer Larry Mullen is later quoted as saying, “We had no real idea how winning in Limerick would change our lives,” and the band went on to become a worldwide sensation. Bonhams are now auctioning thirteen black and white photos from this crucial turning point in their career. One of these images has been previously published, but the rest are all unseen. There are several of the band offstage, whilst the remainder show them performing at the Stella Ballroom. They are estimated at £10,000-15,000 and are to be sold with copyright.

In March 1973 Led Zeppelin arrived in Scandinavia to begin a European tour. They were presented with a number of gold records during a reception held at Stockholm’s leading sex club ‘Le Chat Noir’, against a backdrop of a live performance. Bengt H. Malmqvist, one of Sweden’s leading album cover photographers of the time was the only photographer invited to record the event, and of the resulting fifty-six photographs only a handful have ever been published. The collection is to be sold with copyright and is expected to fetch £20,000-25,000.

The Rolling Stones collection consists of Polaroids of the band, particularly Mick Jagger and his wife Bianca as well as a portrait shot of Andy Warhol. Relaxed, informal and fun they offer a candidinsight into the backstage and personal life of the band in the mid-70s. The photographer is unknown but a number of the shots have various comments written on them and the fifty-one photographs are estimated at £1,000-1,500.

The Beatles collection consists of eighteen black and white negatives taken at a reception in 1964. Completely unseen photos, none of these have ever been published. The informal shots showing the band relaxed and chatting are estimated at £2,500-3,000.

Stephanie Connell of Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Department comments, “It is very exciting to be able to offer such a variety of unseen images, particularly those of U2, taken on what proved to be such a pivotal night in their early career. The images of Led Zeppelin show the rock and roll side to their life that they were keen to promote.”


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