It’s amazing how stuff can just pile up.
That’s what Ringo Starr thought last fall when he started looking through the storage units he and his wife own. The problem became even more apparent when Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, decided to sell their country house in England and close down their apartment in Monte Carlo.
“We thought, ‘What are we going to do with all this stuff?'” Starr told the Associated Press. The answer: Get rid of it.
But, this being the former drummer for the Beatles we’re talking about, the offerings are something of a step up from those at your standard weekend garage sale. The hundreds of items of “stuff” Starr plans to purge include the three-piece drum kit Starr played in hundreds of performances, a Rickenbacker guitar known as the “Beatle-Backer” that John Lennon once owned and one of the original four pressings of the White Album, which Starr says he had locked in a bank vault for the past 3½ decades.
Those belongings, along with artwork, furniture, jewelry and a dinner service, will be sold at Julien’s Auctions in early December. The proceeds, which auctioneer Darren Julien estimated could range from $5 million to $10 million, will go to the Lotus Foundation, the charity founded by Starr and Bach.
“We’re fed up with having the stuff in storage when it could be put to some good use and also give a lot of people joy,” Starr told the AP.
Like any nostalgic couple, Starr and Bach had some trouble choosing what items to give away.
After opting to let go of certain items “we’d take them back,” Bach, a former model and actress, told the AP. “But then we’d say, ‘Where are we going to put it’ and realized it would have to go back in storage, so we said, ‘Okay, let’s put it back in the auction.'”
Here are a few of the 800 or so items that made the final cut:
Ludwig drum kit (expected to sell for $300,000 to $500,000)
Starr’s Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl three-piece drum kit, purchased in 1963, was the first to feature the signature “the Beatles” logo with a dropped “T.” (Don’t remember when the logo used to involve a “B” with antennae? Exactly.) It was used to record some of the Beatles’ biggest hits, including ”Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” “All My Loving” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Paul McCartney would later borrow the kit for his first solo album, the 1970 record “McCartney,” according to Julien’s Auctions. It hasn’t been seen in public in five decades.
“Beatles Two” script (expected to sell for $2,000 to $4,000)
Ringo Starr’s personal copy of the film script for the movie “Beatles Two,” later renamed “Help!” In the film, Starr becomes the target of a cult that practices human sacrifice because of a ring sent to him anonymously. Starr and his bandmates struggle to get the ring off, and hijinks ensue. This undated script includes Starr’s notes handwritten in pencil, including a notation on the title page that reads “Courage Earlier?” according to Julien’s Auctions.
In the 2000 Beatles Anthology, Starr said, “A hell of a lot of pot was smoked while we were making the film. It was great. That helped make it a lot of fun.” The film’s directors may have felt otherwise.
The “Beatle Backer” (expected to sell for $600,000 to $800,000)
John Lennon owned this 1964 325FG Rose-Morris model Rickenbacker electric guitar and gave it to Starr after playing it during the Beatles’ Christmas shows in 1964 and 1965 and later in his home studio. The guitar model became known as the “Beatle Backer” and its makers would use Lennon’s likeness in advertisements.
Patek Philippe wristwatch (expected to sell for $80,000 to $100,000)
A regular Patek Philippe watch costs tens of thousands of dollars. Take it from Ringo Starr’s wrist, and it costs hundreds of thousands. It’s the miracle of celebrity (and really fancy watchmakers).
Seven-tom drum kit (expected to sell for $10,000 to $20,000)
In 1968, while working with drummer Hal Blaine, fellow Beatle George Harrison was inspired to buy a “Monster Drum Set” like Blaine’s for his friend Ringo. Only five sets of these custom kits are known to exist, according to Julien’s Auctions. After receiving the gift, Starr sent a thank you note to Blaine that read, “Thanks Hal, for the tom tom tom tom tom toms!”
George Harrison’s Gretsch Tennessean (expected to sell for $100,000 to $200,000)
The Harrisons gave this 1962 Dark Cherry Chet Atkins Tennessean guitar to Starr. The case still contains a small gift card that reads “Dear Richy, Happy Christmas & love you loads, 2002 from Oli & Dhani” (Olivia and Dhani Harrison, George’s wife and son) and the outside case sports the laminated ohm symbol tag Harrison used to identify his instruments.
Antique onyx ring (no estimate given) and sapphire pinky ring
According to Julien’s Auctions, these rings are “responsible for Richard becoming Ringo.” (Get it? RING-o.) Starr began wearing them as early as the 1950s, before he became a Beatle, and wore them throughout his time with the band. “This piece is again more than a simple piece of jewelry,” the auction site boasts of the onyx ring, “but instead imbued with a sense of history given the fact that it witnessed the meteoric rise of arguably the greatest rock band of the 20th century.” High praise for a piece of jewelry.
Car owned by Starr and Harrison (expected to sell for $60,000 to $80,000)
A 2000 Mercedes coupe originally owned by George Harrison and later purchased by Starr. For a mere half a hundred thousand dollars, you can sit in a seat graced by the bottoms of half the Beatles.
Tuxedo (expected to sell for $1,000 to $2,000)
Starr wore this tux during his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Dhani Harrison as George Harrison’s daughter. He is George’s son.