Auction Roundup: Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Manuscript could Realize $2 Million

The pages are a working draft of Bob Dylan’s 1965 song “Like a Rolling Stone,” one of the most popular rock ’n’ roll songs of all time. The manuscript, in Dylan’s hand, will come up for auction on June 24 at Sotheby’s in New York. It could realize an estimated $1 million to $2 million. (Photo: Sotheby’s)

Touting it as the “most significant popular music manuscript ever to appear at auction,” Sotheby’s announced on Thursday that Bob Dylan’s original working manuscript for his iconic 1965 song, “Like a Rolling Stone,” will be auctioned on June 24 and is expected to realize an estimated $1 to $2 million.

The four sheets of paper from the Roger Smith hotel in Washington, D.C., featuring Dylan’s lyrics hand-written in pencil and some doodles, is arguably the song that transformed Dylan from a folk singer to a rock icon. Sotheby’s calls it a “piece of 20th century cultural history.”

It is fitting that such an important piece of rock ’n’ roll history will lead Sotheby’s inaugural Rock & Roll History sale, which will also include items connected to the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones and Joni Mitchell.

“This is the Holy Grail of rock lyrics,” said Richard Austin, the expert in charge of the Presley to Punk. “The release of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ irreversibly changed postwar music history. With one song, Bob Dylan elevated rock music from mere ‘pop’ to the medium though which youth culture expressed itself.

“The lyrics set down on these four small sheets of paper are a near-complete rendering of the song that resonated like no other, influencing the course of pop music for the next 50 years,” Austin added.

Purchasing one-of-a-kind Bob Dylan memorabilia can get pricey. Last December, Dylan’s 1964 Fender Stratocaster that he used when he “went electric” at the Newport Folk Festival, sold for $965,000, the highest price any guitar has ever achieved at auction.

‘Citizen Kane’ script sold at Orson Welles auction

Orson Welles’ Bell & Howell 240 16-mm movie camera sold for $37,500 at auction, surpassing the $2,000 pre-sale estimate. (Photo: Heritage Auctions)

Welles used the camera in 1962 to film his documentary “The Land of Don Quixote,” although the movie wasn’t released until 2000 in Spain. (Photo: Heritage Auctions)

A working script from his masterpiece “Citizen Kane” and Orson Welles’ person home movie camera were the top lots at an auction of the late actor/director’s belongings at Heritage Auction on Aril 26.

The auction, facilitated by Heritage Auctions, sold 67 lots related to the Hollywood icon. The items are “piece(s) of cinema royalty,” according to Margaret Barrett, the director of entertainment-linked auctions sold at Heritage Auctions. The auction realized $180,000 overall.

The script—or partial script, really; 24 pages—from Welles’ 1941 masterpiece gaveled for $15,000, soaring past the $2,000 pre-sale estimate.
A Bell & Howell movie camera that Welles used while traveling in Spain, was the auction’s top lot, bringing $37,500.

The items were consigned by Welles’ daughter, Beatrice, who discovered the items in old boxes and trunks.

Letter Written aboard Doomed Titanic Realizes $200,000

These pages are from a letter written on the Titanic just hours before the ship hit an iceberg and sank. The letter sold for $200,000 at auction on April 26 at Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneers. (Photo: Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneers)

A letter, written on the Titanic on the cruise ship’s White Star Line stationary just before the ship hit ab iceberg, sold at auction on for $200,000 on April 26 at Henry Aldridge & Son Auctioneers in London. The letter—written by Esther Hart, second-class passenger—on April 14, 1912, noted that she was experiencing a “wonderful passage.”

The letter survived because it was inside a pocket of a coat Easter’s husband, Benjamin Hart, gave her as he put his her and daughter Eva in a lifeboat. Esther and Eva were rescued, along with some 700 others.

Prices for anything related to the Titanic have been bringing high prices recently, as the centennial anniversary of the ship’s sinking has revived interest in recent years. A violin believed to have been played as the doomed vessel sank sold for more than £1 million in October.

Aldridge & Son Auctioneers specializes in Titanic items, and the April 26 auction contained several other pieces related to the Titanic.

Early Andy Warhol Computer Art Found on old Disc

An image of a Campbell’s soup can, created by artist Andy Warhol on a primitive Amigo home computer in 1985, was recovered by a team from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Museum staff. The images were stored on an old disc. (Photo: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc.)

Taking advantage of an early computer graphics program, Andy Warhol created some crude remakes of some of his icon works some time in 1985. The images would have never seen the light if not for tech-savvy members of the Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club.

The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh says in a release that the artist had a contract with Commodore International to produce images on one of its Amiga home computers.

The collegiate cybersleuths pulled the images—which vary from doodles to versions of Warhol’s well-known works, such as a Campbell’s soup can and a Marilyn Monroe portrait—after artist Cory Arcangel learned of the Amiga work from a YouTube clip showing Warhol promoting the release of the Amiga 1000 in 1985.

Gregory Watkins is the editor of You can e-mail him at

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