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Bob Dylan’s Lyrics Shatter Sotheby’s Auction Record

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“How does it feel?”

If you happen to know any famous or about-to-be-famous musicians, do them a favor and tell them to keep their handwritten song lyrics.

Bob Dylan’s handwritten, working draft, original lyric sheet for the 1960s classic Like a Rolling Stone, just fetched over $2 million yesterday at Sotheby’s rock and roll auction. According to Sotheby’s, the multimillion dollar sale demolished the previous record of $1.2 million for music manuscripts, which was set in 2010 for John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for A Day in the Life .

Like a Rolling Stone topped Rolling Stone magazine’s list as the greatest rock and roll song of all time. The 1965 tune appeared on Dylan’s album Highway 61 Revisited.

Richard Austin, who is head of books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s and also a Dylan fan, said, “It is always pleasing to set the world record. It carried a strong estimate (up to $2 million) as well, and we felt the estimate was justified given the importance of the work.” He added, “I thought it was one of the coolest things that I have ever handled.”

So who shelled out the cold hard cash? Right now, all we know is that it was sold to an anonymous private Dylan fan from California.

Several different pieces of rock and roll memorabilia including instruments and awards were also auctioned off. One other interesting item of note was one of Elvis Presley’s signature jumpsuits. The lot featured a green and blue peacock, rhinestones, and gold lame on the front and back. The suit, from his later days in Vegas, still had sweat stains in the armpits. It was expected to sell for $100,000 – $200,000. However, apparently fans still love their King. The jumpsuit wound up selling for a very impressive $245,000.

Sotheby’s used yesterday’s auction as a way to take the temperature of the current collector’s market, and to get a sense of what prospective buyers were willing to spend.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Bob Dylan’s Lyrics Shatter Sotheby’s Auction Record
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