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5 Of The Most Amazing Items Ringo Starr Put Up For Auction

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While sorting through his various storage units around the world in preparation for an exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles a few years ago, Ringo Starr realized something. "We have so much stuff and a lot of it we haven't seen in 20 to 30 years," he told the Associated Press. "We thought, 'What are we going to do with all this stuff?'" Add to that the fact that Starr and his wife of 34 years, Barbara Bach, were selling their country house in England and closing their apartment in Monte Carlo, and the rock-royalty couple found themselves with too much history and nowhere to put it all.

So they decided to auction off a lot of it. Over 800 items—including musical instruments, career memorabilia, personal effects, valuable antiques, and fine jewelry—will be available for purchase in-person or live online from Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif. on December 4and 5. It will be the first time one of the Beatles has ever auctioned off any of their personal property.

Starr and Bach, who married in 1981 after meeting on the set of Caveman, had a difficult time parting with many of the historically and personally significant items. Bach told the AP that they found themselves taking things off the auction list. "But then we'd say, 'Where are we going to put it' and realized it would have to go back in storage, so we said, 'OK, let's put it back in the auction.'"

Ultimately, they decided the items would be better off in the homes of fans, with a portion of the proceeds dedicated to the Lotus Foundation. "We're fed up with having the stuff in storage when it could be put to some good use and also give a lot of people joy," Starr, 75, said. Check out some of the most notable items below.

1. 1963 LUDWIG OYSTER BLACK PEARL THREE-PIECE DRUM SET

There are seven different drum sets used by Starr throughout his life up for auction. Some of the stand-outs include a custom-built Jumbo Silver Sparkle kit that was used in the Beatles' “Hello Goodbye” promotional video and a set commissioned by George Harrison for Starr based on a drum kit used by Hal Blaine. But by far the most significant drum set up for auction is the 1963 Ludwig Oyster used by Starr in more than 200 performances by the Beatles between May 1963 and February 1964. Starr played on this very three-piece kit for the recordings of many early Beatles hits such as “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” “All My Loving,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Money,” and “I Wanna Be Your Man." Additionally, it was used in Paul McCartney’s first solo album after the band broke up. The iconic kit, which hasn’t been seen in public for over 50 years, is expected to sell for close to half a million dollars.

2. A SILVER JACKET FROM HIS INAUGURAL TOUR WITH THE ALL-STARR BAND

Screenshot: Youtube

Since 1989, Starr has been touring with a rotating cast of notable musicians playing Beatles hits and solo work under the name Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band. For the All-Starrs’ inaugural tour in ’89, he wore this Richard Tyler-designed star-studded silver jacket (far right, above) in Toronto, which will be available for purchase. Other outfits on the auction block include the tux Starr wore when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the Beatles in 1988, as well as the gown that Bach wore to that induction ceremony.

3. A 1964 ROSE-MORRIS RICKENBACKER

This 1964 Rose-Morris Rickenbacker with a fire-glo sunburst originally belonged to John Lennon, who played it in his home studio and in the Beatles’ 1964 and 1965 Christmas shows. In 1968, Lennon gifted the guitar—which was known as the "Beatle-Backer"—to Starr while they were recording The White Album. The doubly significant instrument is expected to fetch between $600,000 and $800,000, although it’s not the only item up for auction owned by more than one member of the iconic band. A Gretsch guitar gifted to Starr by George Harrison is expected to sell for $100,000–$200,000, and a 2000 Mercedes Coup that was only ever owned by Harrison and later Starr should go for $60,000–$80,000.

4. AN OMEGA WATCH FROM KEITH MOON

Screenshot: Youtube

Starr and The Who drummer Keith Moon were well known for their close, affable friendship. Starr’s son Zak Starkey, who was both Moon’s godson and eventual, unofficial replacement as drummer in The Who, described Moon as “one of my dad’s best friends.” Moon, who used to babysit for Starr’s children, was responsible for giving Zak his first drum set at 12 years old. That set was auctioned off a few years ago from Sotheby's, but another artifact from the famous friendship is available now. A stainless steel 1973 LED watch—the first of its kind available in Europe—gifted to Starr by Moon is expected to sell between $400–$600. For a slightly flashier timepiece, an 18-karat gold “Moonphase” automatic wristwatch by Patek Philippe is available as well—and estimated to sell for $80,000–$100,000.

5. A PAIR OF RINGO'S RINGS

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In the late '60s and early '70s, Starr was repeatedly photographed with the same two rings: A black onyx and a pinky ring with a large blue stone.

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After wearing them for countless appearances, concerts, and personal events both rings are will soon be up for sale.

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To catch a preview of some of these iconic items, head to The Hard Rock Cafe New York in Times Square, where select highlights will be on display for a week starting November 16.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Steve Martin
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NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images

Is there anything Steve Martin can't do? In addition to being one of the world's most beloved comedians and actors, he's also a writer, a musician, a magician, and an art enthusiast. And he's about to put a number of these talents on display with Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life, a new comedy special that just arrived on Netflix. To commemorate the occasion, here are 10 things you might not have known about Steve Martin.

1. HE WAS A CHEERLEADER.

As a yellleader (as he refers to it in a yearbook signature) at his high school in Garden Grove, California, Martin tried to make up his own cheers, but “Die, you gravy-sucking pigs,” he later told Newsweek, did not go over so well.

2. HIS FIRST JOB WAS AT DISNEYLAND.

Martin’s first-ever job was at Disneyland, which was located just two miles away from his house. He started out selling guidebooks, keeping $.02 for every book he sold. He graduated to the Magic Shop on Main Street, where he got his first taste of the gags that would later make his career. He also learned the rope tricks you see in ¡Three Amigos! from a rope wrangler over in Frontierland.

3. HE OWES HIS WRITING JOB WITH THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS TO AN EX-GIRLFRIEND.

Thanks to a girlfriend who got a job dancing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Martin landed a gig writing for the show. He had absolutely no experience as a writer at the time. He shared an office with Bob Einstein—better known to some as Super Dave Osborne or Marty Funkhauser—and won an Emmy for writing in 1969.

4. HE WAS A CONTESTANT ON THE DATING GAME.

While he was writing for the Smothers Brothers, but before he was famous in his own right, Martin was on an episode of The Dating Game. (Spoiler alert: He wins. But did you have any doubt?)

5. MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT HE WAS A SERIES REGULAR ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

Martin hosted and did guest spots on Saturday Night Live so often in the 1970s and '80s that many people thought he was a series regular. He wasn't. 

6. HIS FATHER WROTE A REVIEW OF HIS FIRST SNL APPEARANCE.

After his first appearance on SNL, Martin’s father, the president of the Newport Beach Association of Realtors, wrote a review of his son’s performance in the company newsletter. “His performance did nothing to further his career,” the elder Martin wrote. He also once told a newspaper, “I think Saturday Night Live is the most horrible thing on television.”

7. HE POPULARIZED THE AIR QUOTE.

If you find yourself making air quotes with your fingers more than you’d really like, you have Martin to thank. He popularized the gesture during his guest spots on SNL and stand-up performances.

8. HE QUIT STAND-UP COMEDY IN THE EARLY 1980S.

Martin gave up stand-up comedy in 1981. “I still had a few obligations left but I knew that I could not continue,” he told NPR in 2009. “But I guess I could have continued if I had nothing to go to, but I did have something to go to, which was movies. And you know, the act had become so known that in order to go back, I would have had to create an entirely new show, and I wasn't up to it, especially when the opportunity for movies and writing movies came around.”

9. HE'S A MAJOR ART COLLECTOR.

As an avid art collector, Martin owns works by Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, and Edward Hopper. He sold a Hopper for $26.9 million in 2006. Unfortunately, being rich and famous doesn’t mean Martin is immune to scams: In 2004, he spent about $850,000 on a piece believed to be by German-Dutch modernist painter Heinrich Campendonk. When Martin tried to sell the piece, “Landschaft mit Pferden” (or "Landscape With Horses") 15 months later, he was informed that it was a forgery. Though the painting still sold, it was at a huge loss.

10. HE'S AN ACCOMPLISHED BLUEGRASS PERFORMER.

Many people already know this, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that he’s an extremely accomplished bluegrass performer. With the help of high school friend John McEuen, who later became a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Martin taught himself to play the banjo when he was 17. He's been picking away ever since. If you see him on stage these days, he’s likely strumming a banjo with his band, the Steep Canyon Rangers. As seen above, they make delightful videos.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Wine
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by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Between the vine and the liquor store, plenty of secrets are submerged in your favorite bottle of vino. Here, the author of Back Lane Wineries of Sonoma spills some of the best.

1. DIGITAL EYES ARE EVERYWHERE IN VINEYARDS.

Certain premium estates in Bordeaux and Napa are beginning to look a little more like an army base—or an Amazon.com warehouse. They’re using drones, optical scanners, and heat-sensing satellites to keep a digital eye on things. Some airborne drones collect data that helps winemakers decide on the optimal time to harvest and evaluate where they can use less fertilizer. Others rove through the vineyard rows, where they may soon be able to take over pruning. Of course, these are major investments. At $68,000 a pop, the Scancopter 450 is about twice as costly as a 1941 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon!

2. THERE ARE ALSO LOTS OF COW SKULLS.

They’re not everywhere, but biodynamic farming techniques are on the rise among vintners who don’t want to rely on chemicals, and this is one trick they’ve been known to use to combat plant diseases and improve soil PH. It’s called Preparation No. 505, and it involves taking a cow’s skull (or a sheep’s or a goat’s), stuffing it with finely ground oak chips, and burying it in a wet spot for a season or two before adding it to the vineyard compost.

3. FEROCIOUS FOLIAGE IS A VINTNER’S FRIEND.

The mustard flowers blooming between vineyard rows aren’t just for romance. Glucosinolates in plants like radishes and mustard give them their spicy bite, and through the wonders of organic chemistry, those glucosinolates also double as powerful pesticides. Winemakers use them to combat nematodes—tiny worms that can destroy grape crops.

4. WHAT A CANARY IS TO A COAL MINE, ROSES ARE TO A VINEYARD.

Vintners plant roses among their vines because they get sick before anything else in the field. If there’s mildew in the air, it will infect the roses first and give a winemaker a heads-up that it’s time to spray.

5. VINTNERS EXPLOIT THE FOOD CHAIN.

A trio of wines
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Small birds like blackbirds and starlings can clear out 20 percent of a crop in no time. But you know what eats little birds? Big birds. Falconry programs are on the rise in vineyards from California to New Zealand. Researchers have found that raptors eat a bird or two a day (along with a proportion of field mice and other critters) and cost only about as much to maintain as your average house cat.

6. THE BIG PROBLEMS IN TASTING ROOMS ARE VERY SMALL.

Winemakers are constantly seeking ways to manage the swarms of Drosophila melanogaster that routinely gather around the dump buckets in their swanky showrooms. You know these pests as fruit flies, and some vintners in California are exploring ways to use carnivorous plants to tackle the problem without pesticides. Butterworts, sundews, and pitcher plants all have sweet-sounding names, but the bugeating predators make for terrific fruit fly assassins, and you’ll see them decorating tasting rooms across wine country.

7. WINE NEEDS CLEANING.

Winemaking produces hard-to-remove sediments. Filters can catch most of the debris, but winemakers must add “fining agents” to remove any suspended solids that sneak by. Until it was banned in the 1990s, many European vintners used powdered ox blood to clean their wines. Today, they use diatomaceous earth (the fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae), Isinglass (a collagen made from fish swim bladders), and sometimes bentonite (volcanic clay). Irish moss and egg whites are also fine wine cleaners.

8. ATOMS HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.

About 5 percent of the premium wine sold for cellaring doesn’t contain what the label promises. So how do top-shelf buyers avoid plunking down serious cash on a bottle of something bunk? Most elite wine brokerages, auction houses, and collectors use atomic dating to detect fraud. By measuring trace radioactive carbon in the wine, most bottles can be dated to within a year or two of the vintage.

9. FINE WINES GET MRIs.

Even with atomic dating, there are certain perils involved in buying a $20,000 bottle of wine. Leaving a case in the hot trunk of your car is enough to ruin it, so imagine what can happen over a couple of decades if a wine isn’t kept in the proper conditions. Back in 2002, a chemistry professor at University of California at Davis patented a technique that uses MRI technology to diagnose the condition of vintage wines. Not planning any $20,000 wine purchases? This is still good news for the consumer. This technique may soon be used at airport security, meaning you’ll be able to carry on your booze.

10. THERE’S A TRICK TO AGING YOUR WINE.

If you end up with a bottle of plonk, Chinese scientists have developed a handy solution. Zapping a young wine with electricity makes it taste like something you’ve cellar aged. Scientists aren’t quite sure how it happens yet, but it seems that running your wine for precisely three minutes through an electric field changes the esters, proteins, and aldehydes and can “age” a wine instantly.

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