If you missed out on former Beatle Ringo Starr’s gigantic auction last December (December 3-5, 2015 by Julien’s auctions) you may think your chance to own an authentic piece of Beatles history has slipped away. In that auction, Ringo said goodbye to drum sets, sticks, and stage outfits, at some very high prices. But pieces of Ringo’s memorabilia can still be owned, and for a reasonable price. National Music Examiner has learned that several pairs of Ringo’s used drum sticks, housed in beautifully framed and signed art pieces, are available through Donn Bennett’s Donn’s Drum Vault. We just spoke to Bennett, official distributor for the pieces, about them. During our phone call we learned what is included in the pieces, how they are constructed, and–a very important secret to authenticating Ringo’s drumsticks.
Bennett is the founder and former owner of Donn Bennett’s Drum Studio. He said, “The art pieces include an actual pair of Ringo Starr’s stage-used sticks, professionally framed with a photo of Ringo at the drums taken by his photographer Rob Shanahan. There is also a sample of the custom finish from the drum set shown in the photo, from the 2006 and 2008 tours. Each piece is personally signed by Ringo himself.
He continued, “There are two designs available, which you can see in the video. They are reasonably priced, much lower than the auction. In the auction, some of them went for over $7,000. And here you will get so much more, in a nice frame.” (They are priced at $2995.)
Donn pointed out that these framed pieces, which at 30” x 22” will be a fine addition to any wall, are limited editions and are only made in batches of six. When they reach 144, (72 of each design) they will be gone forever. “These pieces are very labor intensive and each one is hand-crafted,” Donn said. “This is why only six come out at a time. Several different people are involved in making them: Rob Shanahan provides the photographs, Chris Heuer makes the crystal pieces using a laser beam to cut the material. Jeff Chonis, Ringo’s drum tech, personally delivers the pieces to Ringo’s house for him to sign; and then they are professionally framed. Some get sold on tours, and the others come here.”
Donn revealed an important clue to authentication of Ringo’s drumsticks: “The sticks Ringo used are a custom made Pro Mark model—they are about ½” shorter than the stick you can buy commercially, and these are only available to Ringo.”
Don’t miss the section at the bottom of Donn’s Drum Vault page, showing some of the newer items that have been added, including Rob Shanahan’s picture of Paul McCartney and Ringo, (hand-signed and numbered) entitled “Paul kissing Ringo.” Donn said, “This was taken during the Beatles Rockband session. Paul leaned over, and Rob was able to grab this amazing shot of Paul planting a kiss on Ringo’s cheek.”