Depeche Mode fans 'can't get enough' as $329,600 auction sells-out 99%


"I'm not that sentimental about a lot of the stuff I've collected..." - read our exclusive interview with Depeche Mode's Alan Wilder

Collectibles harked back to the 1980s at Omega Auctions' sale of the Alan Wilder Collection in Manchester, UK, over the weekend (September 3).

For aficionados of '80s synth pop, Alan Wilder needs no introduction. Between 1981-1995 the keyboardist and arranger helped revolutionise pop music as part of the electronic quartet Depeche Mode, and later in Recoil.  

Alan's collection boasted everything from tailored stage outfits to rare records and even vintage synthesizers. The entire collection appeared at the northern England auction house with an overall estimate of £200,000 ($329,600).


Martin Gore's hallowed Knight
Gretsch Anniversary guitar

Excitement brewed among Depeche Mode's worldwide fanbase in the run-up to the auction, and its results didn't disappoint. In the end, 417 of the 422 lots sold, equal to 99%, with 170 people in Omega's saleroom and a further 570 online bidders from 33 countries.

In fact, 86% of the auction's total sales went to internet bidders. The auction surpassed its £200,000 sale total to bring £223,205 (£256,000 including buyers' premium).

"We're extremely pleased with the results of the sale and the fantastic feedback received from both those who attended the sale, in some cases having travelled from as far afield as Canada, Russia and across Europe," auctioneer Paul Fairweather told Paul Fraser Collectibles.

Despite the range of vintage synthesizers for sale, a vintage guitar (classic guitars being among the most popular collecting niches) was among the sale's big highlights.

The Knight Gretsch Anniversary guitar was used by Wilder's band mate, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore, for the group's blockbuster 'World Violation' and 'Devotional' tours. It appeared with a pre-sale estimate of £3,000-5,000.

In the end, the lime green axe more than doubled this to bring £10,400 (£11,960 inc buyers premium).

Meanwhile, a highlight among the synthesizer lots was - perhaps unsurprisingly - an instrument whose provenance includes regular appearances in Depeche Mode's live concerts and records, an Emax Turbo II Model 2205 16 bit sampler keyboard.

"What can one say about the Emulator range? Used so much on DM recordings and on stage between 1983 and 1994, they were probably the most versatile of samplers from the 1980s," commented Alan Wilder in the sampler's lot notes.


To the tune of £7,360: the Emax Turbo II Model 2205

"From the very first Emulator 1, I have used them all and been captivated by sampling technology ever since. I remember when we first inserted the huge floppy disc into the Emu 1 and listened to the 'Motorbike Idling' sound (which later became the mainstay rhythm behind the [Depeche Mode] song 'Stripped')."

The lucky buyer of this synth will now be able to hear that sound for themselves. The keyboard, sold with a set of discs, brought £6,400 (£7,360 including buyers' premium) - again more than double its £2,500-3,000 pre-sale estimate.

According to Paul Fairweather, the majority of online bidders had never even participated in a live auction before. "It's been a great achievement for all those involved," he said.


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