A collection of poems written by Minnesota college student Robert Zimmerman — later to become the “voice of a generation” as Bob Dylan — sold for $78,000 at an auction of rock and pop memorabilia.
Titled “Poems Without Titles,” and written in 1960, the 16-page hand-scrawled collection features the aspiring poet trying out his soon-to-be pseudonym. Most of the poems are signed “Dylan” or “Dylanism,” the earliest known use of his nom-de-tune, according to Christie’s auction house.
The rare cache of Dylan poems were bought by an anonymous European collector, a spokeswoman said.
Nearly 200 items were on the auction block Monday, featuring some of rock ’n’ roll’s greatest stars, including the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and The Who.
A Fender composite Stratocaster electric guitar played by Eric Clapton soared past its pre-sale estimate of $3,000 to $5,000, selling to a private American collector for $36,000. A private American collector also paid $22,200 for a Hammond B-3 electric organ from the Muscle Shoals recording studio in Alabama, where various musicians recorded hits between 1969 and 2005.
All the sale prices included a buyer’s premium.
The Dylan poetry shows flashes of the wit and style that eventually made him one of the 20th century’s most indelible songwriters, although nothing approaches classics such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” or “Like a Rolling Stone.”
“I search the depths of my soul for an answer/ But there is no answer,” he writes in one poem. “Because there is no question/ And there is no time.”
Another poem lists ex-girlfriends named Seela, Ione, Carol and Barbara. The ex who made the most lasting impression was Judy: “But she broke me/ Up when she didn’t/ Write back and/ I died for a year.”
Dylan, who memorably disappeared from the music scene for several years after a mysterious 1966 motorcycle crash, appeared prescient with this verse: “The motorcycle leans/ The motorcycle swerves/ ... The motorcycle just don’t/ Give a damn/ About anything.”
A medallion worn by Jimi Hendrix during his memorable performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival failed to attract any bidders at its pre-sale price of $60,000 to $80,000. According to Christie’s, Hendrix presented the medallion with its bird motifs to a Brooklyn woman after they met in a disco called The Scene about a month after Monterey.
Also failing to attract bidders were lyrics written by The Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison for “Not to Touch the Earth,” from the 1968 album “Waiting for the Sun.”