Records and music memorabilia once owned by the celebrated former BBC DJ John Peel, including a signed mono pressing of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1968 album Two Virgins, is to be sold at auction in June.
Peel’s family said in a statement: “John/Dad was in a position to have access to many of the most celebrated people and events in the history of popular music. This is reflected in a wealth of souvenirs he collected. In going through the accumulation of 40 years of pop music moments, we decided that some of the most interesting items might find a home, with fans of his programme or of the artists whose music he played.”
Among the other items up for auction in Live in Session: Property from the John Peel Archive are a handwritten letter signed by David Bowie, a 7in of Nirvana’s 1988 single Love Buzz/Big Cheese and the BBC Radio 1 DJ’s horn gramophone, which sat on his desk at the family home in Suffolk fondly known as Peel Acres.
The Lennon/Ono pressing is estimated to sell for between £15,000 and £20,000.
Katherine Schofield, director of Bonhams’ popular culture department, said: “John Peel had an incredible impact on the new music landscape. Without his passionate advocacy of emerging talent, generations of music lovers may never have heard the sounds of the Fall, the Undertones, Sex Pistols, and countless others.
“This collection, offered directly by the family, comprises some of Peel’s most collectible and rare records, spanning decades in music – many of which are accompanied by letters from the artists or their management.”
Peel died of a heart attack in 2004, aged 65. He was one of the longest-serving Radio 1 DJs, appearing on the station from 1967 until his death. He was known for his uncontainable and adventurous music tastes and for his particular patronage of artists including PJ Harvey, Captain Beefheart, Pulp and the White Stripes.
Trademarks of his BBC Radio 1 show included the live Peel Sessions and the annual Festive Fifty countdown of Peel’s favourite songs of the year. In 1998, he was named an OBE for services to British music.
He also ran a record label, Dandelion Records, from 1969 to 1972, was a regular presenter on Top of the Pops in the 1980s, and wrote a memoir, Margrave of the Marshes, which was completed by his wife, Sheila Ravenscroft, after Peel died while on holiday in Peru. Glastonbury renamed its new music tent as the John Peel Stage after his death.
The auction will be held at Bonhams Knightsbridge, London, on 14 June.