More than 800 items owned by Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, are going to auction, including rare Beatles memorabilia like his three-piece drum kit used in more than 200 performances and a Rickenbacker guitar known as the "Beatle-Backer" that John Lennon owned and later gave to Starr. The unprecedented number of Beatles-owned objects will be offered Dec. 4-5 at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills. "We have so much stuff and a lot of it we haven't seen in 20 to 30 years," Starr, 75, said in an exclusive phone interview with the AP from his London apartment. He said the idea for the auction came after The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles asked to do an exhibition about his life and music in 2013-2014.
Then another project—an upcoming book and an exhibition currently at London's National Portrait Gallery of photographs Starr took of his former bandmates—turned up "boxes of negatives from the '60s onward," he said. On top of that, the couple sold their country house in England and closed down their apartment in Monte Carlo. "We thought, 'What are we going to do with all this stuff?'" he said. So they turned to Julien's Auctions. "Beside the dinner services and glasses, I thought I will make it very special. ... I'm also putting in 'The White Album No. 1' which I had in a bank vault for the last 35 years" and several guitars, including a Gretsch that was a gift from George Harrison and the Lennon Rickenbacker, he said. Like his book, Photograph by Ringo Starr, coming out later this month, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the couple's Lotus Children Foundation that focuses on social welfare issues around the world. Click for more auction highlights and estimates. (Read more auction stories.)