A four page handwritten letter from David Bowie in 1969 is valued at £6,000-8,000 ($8,156-10,875) in Omega Auctions’ two day music memorabilia sale on May 9-10.
It’s addressed to the consignor (Dick Jones), whom Bowie had met at a festival over the summer, and invites his band (Drama Band) to perform at the Three Tuns pub in Beckenham.
This letter dates to a formative moment in Bowie’s career. He’d formed the Beckenham Arts Lab residency at the Three Tuns in May 1969 to showcase local talent and performed there regularly (the venue is now a branch of Italian casual dining restaurant Zizzi). His second self titled album, featuring his top 10 hit Space Oddity, was released in November.
Bowie explains the arrangements for the event, writing: “The bread that shall pass hands will be £10 English currency, in accordance with the rules of the present monetary system.
“There you go, baby.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing your band, unless I’m mistaken we should have a very happy constructive evening with interplay from both sides.”
The rest of the letter lays out Bowie’s plans for starting a record label called Undergrowth and talks a little about his plans for distributing records. He signs off with the words: "I May sound over-opt on things but it’s because i’m so excited by what’s happening down here. Dig?".
In 1972 Bowie would begin dressing as his alien alter ego Ziggy Stardust. His tour that year began at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth (since demolished) but as word got out the venues increased in size until he was stepping on stage at the Royal Festival Hall. His breakthrough, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, sealed his reputation as the most exciting star of his generation.
Bowie memorabilia is rare, as the star and his estate have kept a tight grip on pieces from his past. In 2013, a set of handwritten lyrics to The Jean Genie he gifted to the head of his US fan club achieved £18,750 ($25,489) at Bonhams. The same lot was offered again for between $50,000-70,000 at Paddle8 Auctions in March 2016, following his death in January.