Bill Wyman's Rolling Stones audition amp goes up for auction

(Reuters) - Former Rolling Stones bass guitarist Bill Wyman is selling off part of his vast archive of music memorabilia, including the 1962 amplifier that helped him clinch his audition for the British rock band.

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Wyman, 83, who quit the Stones in 1993, is auctioning more than 1,000 items from a personal collection of instruments, stage clothes and Rolling Stones memorabilia that forms one of the biggest archives of the band’s more than 50-year career, Julien’s Auctions said on Thursday.

“Collecting and archiving has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life and will undoubtedly be one of my legacies,” Wyman said in a statement.

One of the most interesting items in the May 29-31 auction in Beverly Hills is the 1962 Vox AC30 amplifier that then 26-year-old Wyman brought to his audition for the Rolling Stones at a London pub in 1962.

According to Wyman, band members Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were impressed with the amp. “They had horrible amps so they were very happy about that. I bought a round of drinks for everyone and offered cigarettes and of course they jumped immediately because they all smoked but couldn’t afford them,” Wyman recalled in a 2008 interview.

The amp carries a pre-sale estimate of $80,000 - $100,000.

Wyman, who now plays with the blues band Rhythm Kings, is also selling off several of his guitars, including a 1969 Fender Mustang bass that he played at concerts and on Stones recordings in 1969 and 1970 that is expected to sell for up to $500,000.

Other items include a gold and black satin outfit Wyman wore onstage in the 1970s, a 1965 London concert program from one of the few shows the Rolling Stones played with the Beatles, early recording contracts and other promotional materials.

A portion of the auction proceeds will go to the Macmillan Cancer Support, the British-based youth charity Prince’s Trust and the Central Caribbean Marine Institute.

Some of the items will go on public display at the Museum of Style Icons in Ireland from March 10-April 20, and in Beverly Hills immediately before the May auction.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Mark Porter