Ringo Starr auctioning off first copy of The White Album

MusicBy Sunday World
Ringo Starr auctioning off first copy of The White Album

Ringo Starr is auctioning off the very first copy of The Beatles' self-titled 1968 record, known as 'The White' album.

Every copy of the band's eponymous album came with its own serial number stamped on the cover and the 74-year-old drummer is selling number A0000001, at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills.

Ringo - who was joined in The Fab Four by Sir Paul McCartney and the late John Lennon and George Harrison - has had the LP locked in a bank vault for 35 years but before he put it away to preserve it he used to play it at home.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, he said: "We used to play the vinyl in those days. We didn't think, 'We'll keep it for 50 years and it will be in pristine condition.' Whoever gets it, it will have my fingerprints on it."

The record is expected to sell for up to $50,000 (£30,000).

Known as 'The White Album' - because of its all-white sleeve with no text or graphics except for the band's name embossed - it was originally a double vinyl, four-side LP and it contains a plethora of the band's most revered work including 'Back In The U.S.S.R', 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da', 'Blackbird', 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', 'Good Night' and 'Helter Skelter'.

All four members of the group have significant songwriting credits, but it was John who demanded to own the very first pressed copy, according to Paul, when the band decided to have the records individually numbered.

The first four pressings were, however, all in possession of The Beatles while copy No. 0000005 sold at an auction in 2008 for just under $30,000 (£20,000).

The sale of the album copy is part of more than 800 items Ringo, 75, is auctioning off from his astonishing music career and life with wife Barbara Bach to raise money for his Lotus Foundation charity - which aims to advance social welfare for a variety of good causes including child and family issues, homelessness and substance abuse.

Other highlights from the sale include the suit he wore in film 'A Hard Day's Night', a 1964 Rickenbacker electric guitar given to him by John and a pair of rings he wore at every live Beatles gig he ever played.

Speaking about letting some of his treasured possessions go, he said: "Some of the stuff, it's a real surprise that we still had it because it's been in storage for so long. I don't mind getting rid of a lot of stuff and it goes to good use. That's the deal."