Ringo Starr’s first Beatles drum kit sold for a record $2.2 million at an auction last week, but three Ludwig sets of his that were made in Monroe also did quite well.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay gobbled up that 1963 Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl kit faster than you can say “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.” Ringo had bought his first Ludwig kit in London before the Beatles hit the states in the 1960s, attracted by its sound and that it was made in America.
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Ludwig moved to Monroe in the mid-1980s. About 50 people work at the plant, making drums for Ringo, other professional musicians like Questlove, as well as the general public.
A 2002 gold sparkle kit that Ringo used in a memorial concert for band mate George Harrison fetched $64,000, according to Julien’s website. Its pre-auction estimated value was between $30,000 and $50,000.
Finally, at a relative bargain, his 2011 studio drum kit sold for $35,200; its pre-auction estimate was $20,000 to $40,000.
All told, the auction raised nearly $10 million. Some of the proceeds benefit the couple’s charity, the Lotus Foundation.