Bob Dylan’s handwritten manuscript for “Like a Rolling Stone” sold for just over $2 million at Sotheby’s auction house in New York on Tuesday, creating a new record for Rock and Roll manuscripts sold at an auction.
The auction, which also featured collections from The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones and Joni Mitchell among others, brought in a total of just over $4 million. The 1965 manuscript, penned by Dylan, was sold to an unidentified buyer and broke a previous record set by John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics of “A Day in the Life” from his 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which sold for $1.2 million in 2010, according to Sotheby’s.
“The Holy Grail of rock lyrics has taken its rightful place as the most expensive popular music manuscript sold at auction. Like A Rolling Stone irreversibly changed both the career of Bob Dylan and postwar music history and I am thrilled to see so many collectors recognizing these lyrics importance as a work of 20th century cultural history,” Richard Austin, Sotheby's head of books and manuscripts, said in a statement.
"I'm a Dylan fan myself," Austin said, according to Reuters, adding: "I thought it was one of the coolest things that I have ever handled."
Other items sold at the auction, called “A Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk,” also included a manuscript for Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," which was sold for $485,000 -- the second-highest amount at the auction, followed by a Vox guitar organ owned by John Lennon, which sold for $305,000. Presley's flamboyant jumpsuit from his Las Vegas days reportedly went for $245,000. Nearly 67 percent of the 150 items were reportedly sold at the auction.
According to Reuters, other notable items sold at the auction, which was held by Sotheby’s to reportedly assess the market and collectors’ interests, also included a 1977 acoustic guitar belonging to musician Ronnie Wood that was sold for $75,000 and Bruce Springsteen's autographed manuscript lyrics for "Thunder Road" that was sold for $37,500.
"We're very pleased with the sale overall," Austin said, according to Reuters. "It's an interesting market and we look forward to seeing where it goes."