An autograph and drawing by Harry Potter author J K Rowling are among a giant collection of celebrity signatures sparking major interest ahead of their auction this week. (April 11).
More than 240 notable figures including Sir Paul McCartney, Honor Blackman, Shirley Bassey, Joan and Jackie Collins, Lenny Henry, Sir Patrick Moore, Sir Norman Wisdom, Sir Terry Wogan, Steve Davies, Sir Richard Branson, David Copperfield, Dawn French and Julie Walters provided their autographs alongside a piece of artwork inspired by a button to aid a charity project.
Now the entire collection, sourced by the late Karen Gammon to aid charities, is due to be sold at Hansons Auctioneers Library Auction on Thursday, April 11 with an estimate of £3,000-£5,000.
Jim Spencer, head of books and works on paper at Hansons, said: “There’s huge interest in the collection because it includes so many of Britain, and the world’s, most famous and talented people. Thanks to the sketches, which Karen called ‘mini masterpieces’, every signature is unique.
“Hundreds of celebrities took part in the charity project, which started in 2000, including pop stars, artists, sports personalities, actors, authors, comedians, designers, royalty and, sadly, some people who are no longer with us such as comedy legends Ronnie Barker and Victoria Wood.
“The doodle drawing makes J K Rowling autograph unique. Plus, these days, she simply doesn’t sign. She’s so overwhelmed by correspondence from fans, her management company posted a public statement online saying she couldn’t provide autographs.”
The collection was put together by the late Karen Gammon and began life as her contribution to a Millennium Art Exhibition designed to raise money for charities nominated by the celebrities.
Karen sent a button to each well-known figure and asked them to design a piece of art around it. Many sketches are appropriate for the figure. For example, J K Rowling sketched three silhouettes flying around her button on broomsticks, one being Harry Potter wearing a scarf.
Other button art signatures include Sir Paul McCartney who drew a cartoon with the button as a nose; Sir Stirling Moss who turned his button into a steering wheel; artist Grayson Perry who turned his buttons into figures being hanged, and Mary Quant who incorporated her button into a dress sketch.
Meanwhile, Nick Park, of Wallace and Gromit fame, drew a cartoon of Gromit with the button as his nose; Ronnie Barker used his padlock button in a gag about his wife’s handbag; Phil Collins turned his button into a drum and Sir David Jason doodled a wall with 'Del Boy woz 'ere'.
Flowers inspired artist Mary Fedden, who drew a cat holding a flower; Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, who drew flowers around her button, and Jamie Oliver who drew a funky flower.
The collection comes with consent forms relating to the acquisition of the autographs, often signed again, and press/publicity photographs, many of which are again signed, together with copies of a book produced in 2010 to illustrate the collection, 'Celebrity Button Art - An A to Z of Celebrity Mini Masterpieces'.
The unique collection of autographs and artwork by celebrities and notable figures, Lot 4425, will be sold in Hansons Auctioneers Library Auction on April 11 at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, ST17 0XN. To find out more, email [email protected] or view the catalogue at www.the-saleroom.com. The collection can be viewed at Bishton Hall on Wednesday April 10, 11am-7pm, or on the day of the sale, 9am-11am.