The Offbeat History of Unconventional Hosts for Music Memorabilia Auctions

Music memorabilia is immensely popular among certain circles, and many people pay a huge sum of money to be able to say they own a piece of music history. Whether it’s an autographed guitar, lyrics that are handwritten, or just about anything else that can be tied to a band or an artist, these items can be worth a lot of money.

In this guide, we’ll explore unconventional hosts for auctions, as well as some snippets of information about the items that sold (and the unbelievable money that has changed hands at times). 

Hard Rock Hotel

There are many Hard Rock Hotel and Casino locations around the world. It is an iconic brand that is associated with entertainment and music. But an alarming trend is rumbling through the traditional casino landscape, people are moving their play online. 

This trend has given casinos like Hard Rock tough competition from online competitors, such as Casino Daily Spins. While the primary focus of an online casino, might be to provide a digital platform for enthusiasts to enjoy the experience from home, sites like Daily Spins Casino go further by providing a wider range of entertainment options – like music themed games – that make it hard for traditional casinos to compete. Increased competition may be great for consumers, but it means businesses must adapt or lose players. A natural fit for Hard Rock Hotel, in-person music memorabilia auctions are one way the casino has chosen to adapt to the change.

Items to crop up at auctions at the Hard Rock Hotel include costumes, props, items from gigs and concerts, and instruments. One of the most famous and quirky items sold at this location was John Lennon’s hand-painted 1965 Epiphone Casino guitar, which went under the hammer in 2015 and eventually sold for an incredible sum of $2.41 million. 

Nate D. Sanders Auctions

When you think of the glitz and glamor of Hollywood or the history of music, you may think of locations like LA as being some of the most important. It is also the home of some true eccentrics. 

Nate D. Sanders Auctions has an eclectic range of different auctions and many different items have passed through this Santa Monica auction room, including signed items, props from concerts, and more. 

In 2016, one of the most famous items to pass through was the handwritten lyrics to “Like a Rolling Stone” and somebody forked out over $2 million in order to get their hands on the words penned by Bob Dylan. Dylan is an icon and recent documentaries and films have kept his name perpetuating.

Sanders continues to sell music memorabilia and even has more items from Dylan that can be purchased online or at the auctions in person.

Profiles in History

Profiles in History has now closed down, but was known for selling items from the rich and famous, including many Hollywood actors who have sold film memorabilia. 

They were perhaps most famous for selling $1.56 million worth of items, a collection of 21 costumes from The Sound of Music that sold in 2013. However, Profiles in History also had a number of music sales and items from musicals and other cinematic link-ups on sale. 

Julien’s Auctions

Julien’s Auctions is yet another that is based in Los Angeles. They regularly sell some very cool merchandise. They claim to sell totally unique items, and some of the names whose items have sold there certainly add to that claim. Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Ringo Starr, Lady Gaga, Banksy, and Kurt Cobain have all had items sold there. 

Eric Clapton’s D-45 acoustic guitar was also sold through Julien’s, as part of the “Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll” auction in Los Angeles in December 2021, and it sold for $625,000. The item also came complete with its original case, a signed letter to prove it was his, and some more Clapton merch. 


You might link Sotheby’s to fine arts and other high-brow culture, and you’d be right! Though the music item in question is not strictly memorabilia, we had to mention the stunning sale that took place when the complete manuscript of the composer Mahler’s second symphony, known as the Resurrection, was sold for £4,546,250. It is a 232-page document, and the items were sold at the same auction house that also sold Mozart symphonies and Schumann manuscripts for figures in the millions.

The mystery buyer got their hands on something Sotheby’s described as “the most significant musical manuscript ever to have been offered at auction”. 


From full manuscripts to instruments and more, there are so many items that have gone under the hammer. 

Of course, we now live in the age of the online auction, and many items are sold to people anonymously sitting behind a screen, such as when John Lennon’s piano sold for over $1 million and there were many famous bidders, including Noel Gallagher and Robbie Williams. Nothing beats an in-person auction, though.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

We no longer accept unpaid PR agency work. We believe the creative arts have value, and this includes writing. As always, we will write about artists who contact us - or who we contact - for free - but we can no longer work free of charge for PR agencies. We work hard, we put in a lot of hours writing, and we ask that you respect that. Contact us for our very reasonable rates.

Follow us on: Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Myspace, Facebook, Spotify, Youtube. Drop us an email on

Leave a Reply