Ringo Starr’s Beatles drum kit sells for $2.1 million

A drum kit used by Ringo Starr from 1963-4 has been sold at auction for $2,110,000.

The three-piece Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl kit was used by Starr on more than 200 live performances and in over 180 studio sessions.

It was the first Ludwig kit owned by Starr, who took possession of it on 12 May 1963. It appeared on Beatles hits including ‘She Loves You’, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘All My Loving’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.

The drums were bought by Jim Irsay, owner and CEO of American Football team Indianapolis Colts. Irsay already owns around 200 guitars, including the Fender Stratocaster played by Bob Dylan during his controversial electric debut at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

In March 2015 Irsay paid $530,000 for a Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar formerly owned by John Lennon. In 2013 he bought a 1966 Vox guitar played by Lennon and George Harrison, for $408,000, and in 2004 he paid $567,000 for a Gibson SG formerly owned by Harrison.

In November 2015 he also paid $2.125 million for a bass drum head used by Starr during The Beatles’ first US tour, including three record-breaking Ed Sullivan shows, two Carnegie Hall concerts and their live US début at the Washington Coliseum. The drum head was Starr’s second to bear the famous drop-T logo.

Starr’s Ludwig drum kit was one of around 800 lots put up for auction by the former Beatles drummer. The snare drum from the set was sold separately, and fetched $750,000.

The two-day sale was held by Julien Auction’s website. Part of the sale proceeds will go to the Lotus Foundation, founded by Starr and his wife Barbara Bach, which helps charitable projects aimed at advancing social welfare.

Other items in the Starr sale included:

Last updated: 5 December 2015
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