Bonhams sells late Richard Hamilton's '$31,653' Rolling Stones drug bust art

One of the iconic images of the Swinging Sixties by the artist Richard Hamilton, who died yesterday, is for sale at Bonhams Print Sale in London on November 29.

'Release' shows Mick Jagger and Hamilton's art dealer Robert Fraser handcuffed together in the back of a police car shielding their faces from photographers after being arrested for possession of drugs in 1967. 

The arrest followed a raid earlier in the year on a notorious party at 'Redlands', the house of Keith Richards.

Jagger was sentenced to three months imprisonment for possession of 4 amphetamine tablets. This prompted a famous editorial in 'The Times' under the title, "Who Breaks a Butterfly Upon a Wheel?' protesting at the harshness of the sentence.

The sentence was subsequently reduced to a conditional discharge on appeal.


Mick Jagger and Hamilton's art dealer Robert Fraser, painted by Hamilton

The print, which was executed in 1972, is based on a photograph of the two men taken at the time. It was produced to benefit an organisation called Release which helped people who had run into trouble with the police.

It will auction estimated at £15,000-20,000 ($31,653).

The unfortunate death of an artist always increases interest in their works - and this piece will undoubtedly benefit from collectors' desires to preserve Richard Hamilton's legacy.

But that's not all... The piece will also benefit from representing a famous and controversial episode from the Rolling Stones' career.

You don't need to be a musicologist to know that the Stones are near the very top of the rock pantheon.

This rare EP cover signed by all five original Rolling Stones
band members is presently for sale on the markets


Not surprisingly, their legend has resulted in much activity on the auction markets. Rolling Stones signed photographs have grown in value by 498% over the last 10 years (according to the industry's PFC40 Autograph Index).

Consequently, Rolling Stones group autographs - like the above pictured example for sale - are among the most coveted collectible items on the markets


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