Sex Pistols singles owned by John Peel sell for £20,400 at auction

Rare records by the likes of The Smiths, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Nirvana also went up for sale

A pair of test pressings of a Sex Pistols single that were owned by the late DJ and broadcaster John Peel have sold at auction for £20,400.

A sale of 200 items from the John Peel Archive, including rare records, personal correspondence and memorabilia, took place at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London, yesterday (June 14), with total sales reaching £465,783.

Peel’s pair of 1976 test pressings of the Pistols’ ‘Anarchy In The UK’ / ‘I Wanna Be Me’ single was the top-seller, going for a final price of £20,400. It had been estimated pre-auction that the lot would not sell for more than £8000.


Other items that were sold at auction yesterday included an original demo cassette recorded by The Smiths in 1983 which contained a handwritten letter from the band (sold for £17,850), a signed LP copy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono‘s ‘Two Virgins’ (£15,300), and a 7″ copy of Nirvana‘s 1988 single ‘Love Buzz’ / ‘Big Cheese’ (£8,925).

All of the items that were sold at auction yesterday were selected by the Ravenscroft family (Peel’s real name was John Ravenscroft), who said in a statement: “By virtue of the role he played in it, 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 throughout his life.

John Peel. Credit: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images
John Peel. CREDIT: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

“He had not only a voracious appetite for vinyl, but a keen sense of what memorabilia, ephemera and correspondence might find an interested audience in decades to come (though it could be argued that this was achieved by a strategy of keeping almost everything that crossed his path).”

The statement added: “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. Bonhams have assisted us to carefully select what is being offered for sale, and we hope these items find the attention and appreciation that we’re sure John/Dad would feel they warranted.

“We had no desire to split up his beloved record collection but have included in the sale a selection of particularly rare or unique records that do not take away from the integrity of his archive.”


Earlier this month over the Platinum Jubilee weekend, the reissue of Sex Pistols’ notorious anti-monarchy anthem ‘God Save The Queen’ became the top-selling single in UK.

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