Charlie Watts’s Rare Book Collection Breaks Auction Records

Charlie's Surprising Collection Auctioned At Christies

The late, great Charlie Watts. Credit: DonClemente12F67/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

The Rolling Stones’ drummer passed away in 2021, not only did he leave behind an enviable musical legacy, but a surprising literary one too.

On Thursday, September 28, the late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts’s collection of first edition books,  was auctioned at Christie’s in Britain, writes the Independent.

Record-Breaking Sales

F Scott Fitzgerald’s renowned 1925 novel, ‘The Great Gatsby’, fetched the top bid, selling for £226,800. Christie’s described it as the ‘finest’ copy they’ve presented ‘in a generation’.

A first edition of ‘The Hound Of The Baskervilles’ went for £214,200, setting a new global auction record for an Arthur Conan Doyle printed book. Intriguingly, this ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ edition contained a personal note from Conan Doyle: ‘I perambulated Dartmoor before I wrote this book.’ Notably, Watts resided just 10 miles from the novel’s Devonshire backdrop.

Christie’s Gems And Other Highlights

Twenty-five of Agatha Christie’s novels were auctioned. An ‘exceptionally rare’ edition of ‘The Thirteen Problems’ from 1932 went for £60,480, establishing a new global auction record for a Christie work. ‘The Thirteen Problems’ is significant as it marks Miss Marple’s debut in ‘The Tuesday Night Club’.

Watts’s copies of ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ and ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’ fetched £56,700 and £34,020 respectively. Other notable sales included first editions of Dashiell Hammett’s ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (£27,720), and Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Sword of Honour’ trilogy, which sold for £47,880 after intense bidding. Additionally, Waugh’s ‘Brideshead Revisited’ from Watts’s collection sold for £60,480.

Watts’s Legacy And Upcoming Stones Album

Watts, who joined The Rolling Stones in 1963, passed away in August 2021 at the age of 80. At his passing, a statement from his bandmates, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, and Keith Richards said: ‘Charlie was the heartbeat of the Rolling Stones for nearly 60 years, he was totally unique and devoted to jazz and literature from boyhood. He was the quintessential English gentleman and his absence is a great loss for us all. We miss him hugely.’

Benedict Winter from Christie’s remarked, ‘Charlie built his collection of modern literature and jazz with passion, intelligence and dedication, and this two-part auction celebrates his distinguished collecting taste.’

The Rolling Stones are set to launch their new album entitled ‘Hackney Diamonds‘, on October 20. Drummer, Steve Jordan is Watts’ replacement. However, fans of Charlie can still hear him on two tracks which were recorded around 2019: ‘Mess It Up’ and ‘Live By The Sword’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.