Brit Rock Goes Under the Hammer at Bonham’s Auction House

Wear Joe Strummer’s bespoke biker jacket and carry Pete Townshend’s luggage.
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Wear Joe Strummer’s bespoke biker jacket and carry Pete Townshend’s luggage.

A one-of-a-kind biker jacket made for Joe Strummer of The Clash, a true icon of rebel rock & roll style, is among the offerings at UK auction house Bonhams’ Entertainment Memorabilia sale in London on Dec. 10. Made in 1977 for the super-cool Brit band’s "White Riot" tour, the bespoke black cotton jacket is adorned with red, grey and black zips on the front, back and arms inspired by Jackson Pollock’s iconic drip paintings. Strummer also added an image of a running policeman taken from the 1976 Notting Hill riots on the back of the jacket for good measure, and wore it through 1979 at various public appearances, when the band went from an opening act for the Sex Pistols to one of the most important rock acts ever. It’s expected to bring in around $9,500. 

That’s the coolest but by no means the only item of interest in the London sale. Also on the block is a bespoke black double-breasted velvet jacket with black cord trim made for Ringo Starr in 1972 that will set you back about $13,000; a three-piece blue pinstripe suit made by Angels & Bermans of Covent Garden for Mick Jagger and estimated to be worth $2,500and one of Thom Yorke’s signature Mod-style parkas, worn by the Radiohead frontman on the band’s "Pablo Honey" tour in 1993. The last one isn’t an antique – thus the moderate $1,200 expected sale price. 

And then there are some truly unique items that should probably be in a museum – or at least a Hard Rock Café – including Jimi Hendrix’s personal guitar repair kit, Pete Townshend’s scuffed leather tour bag, a set of Keith Moon’s drums and one of Jimmy Page’s signature double-necked guitars. Jimi kept his kit, including guitar parts and bits of old Fenders and Gibsons in a BOAC flight bag, which will run you about $19,000. Townshend’s leather satchel dates to ’72 and comes with this note from the Who frontman: “It came with me to every show, was in every bedroom I ever slept in, and contained all my papers and clothes for tours.” It also had several bottles of cognac broken inside it, all of which amounts to an estimate of about $2,000. The self-destructive Moon’s Ludwig Super Classic drum kit, used in some of The Who’s earliest shows, will run you closer to $30,000, while Page’s double-necked Gibson is a relative bargain at about $9,500.

Our advice? Get there before John Varvatos does.

Photos by Michael Putland / Getty Images