John Peel’s family selling rare items from his archive

Rare items from the late veteran BBC DJ John Peel’s collection – including a signed record from John Lennon and Yoko Ono – are to go under the hammer.

John Peel was BBC Radio 1’s longest-serving original DJ until his sudden death in 2004 at the age of 65, and lived near Stowmarket, Suffolk.

His radio shows helped many music careers, including those of David Bowie, Queen and the Sex Pistols.

His family said items had been carefully chosen for the 14 June sale.

John Peel's radio studio at home


Peel’s real name was John Ravenscroft and he was born in Merseyside and went to Shrewsbury School as a boarder.

His widow and children said he had collected a “wealth of souvenirs” through his close access to stars and events.

“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,” they said.

“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.”

John Peel's personal collection at his home


In the 1980s, the broadcaster was a presenter on Top Of The Pops and regularly covered the Glastonbury Festival, with The John Peel Stage being dedicated to him in 2004.

Objects from his collection, including records, personal correspondence and memorabilia, will be auctioned at Bonhams Knightsbridge on 14 June – the week before Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary.

John Peel's record by John Lennon and Yoko Ono


One item, with an estimate of between £15,000 and £20,000, is a mono pressing of Lennon and Ono’s 1968 LP Two Virgins, 1968, which famously had them pictured naked on the cover.

Other pieces include a signed Rolling Stones 1969 promo LP, estimated to go for £6,000-8,000, a Queen LP that comes with a letter from Freddie Mercury, with an estimate of £1,000-1,500, and a Joy Division single and letter – estimated at £4,000-£6,000.

Katherine Schofield, of Bonhams, 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, The Sex Pistols, and countless others.”

The Joy Division single features a letter by Stephen Morris


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