Led Zeppelin album sleeve sets record at auction

An album sleeve signed by all four Led Zeppelin members has sold for £15,000 – even though it doesn’t have the actual record inside.

Led Zeppelin

The sleeve of the iconic rock band’s 1973 fifth studio album Houses of the Holy has set a record. As a result, having well-exceeded the estimated price of between £1,200 and £1,800, it was expected to sell for.

In part, this sizable sum is down to the rarity of the piece: it’s signed by all four members of Led Zeppelin, including drummer John Bonham, who died in 1980.

The £15,000 tag is made more impressive by the fact the album sleeve doesn’t actually contain the record inside.

Led Zeppelin performing

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives

What’s more, it was reported to have been acquired by the seller during a chance encounter at Gatwick Airport back in 1977.

Fewer than 30 signed copies of Led Zeppelin albums are thought to exist.

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The original cover art for the Houses of the Holy album was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End.

The cover is a collage of several photographs featuring two naked child models taken at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland by Hipgnosis co-founder Aubrey Powell.

Houses of Holy

Credit: Gildings Auctioneers

Andrew Smith, music and memorabilia specialist at Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, told the BBC: “We were thrilled to achieve this astonishing result for this set of Led Zeppelin autographs 50 years on from the original release of Houses of the Holy.

“Thanks to the extreme rarity of full sets of the band’s signatures, this album cover represented a holy grail for collectors determined to own a very special piece of music memorabilia.”

“The bidding did become more hesitant after hitting the £10,000 mark, but in the end, a telephone bidder triumphed over the fierce competition online.

“This outstanding result is testament both to the value attached to fully signed Led Zeppelin memorabilia and the general strength of the market for autographed items.”

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