“This will be a chance for people to own a piece of history and treasure his memory in the long term”
Personal items belonging to the Keith Flint will be sold at auction later today – including his MTV Awards, his custom-made bed, motorcycle leathers and nose piercing.
The Prodigy frontman was found dead at his Essex home in March this year at the age of 49. Flint’s possessions have been divided into more than 169 lots and will go under the hammer at Cheffins in Cambridge this evening (November 7) at 6pm.
As well as reflecting Flint’s musical career, the items on sale also show his wider interests too – including his love of motocross sport and art. Other items up for auction include an archive of recordings and artwork from Flint’s solo projects, after he worked under the Flint and Clever Brains Fryin’ moniker.
Speaking to NME, auctioneer Martin Millard of Cheffins says the auction has already seen a great deal of interest via previews and fans have already started queuing for the auction this morning. Millard added that many of those attending have already found the previews emotional.
Millard said: “We’ve had a huge amount of interest since we released details of the sale my emails and phone haven’t really stopped. Interest has come from all over the world. We’ve had a steady stream of people through the doors since the previews. We opened on Sunday for the first session viewing and we’ve been open every day since.”
“We’ve talked to quite a few of the fans already as they’ve come in through the doors and they’re all appreciative of the fact these things have to happen and they’re all quite pleased to see it laid out in a respectful manner but I think they were all quite touched at the chance of being able to see it all assembled in one place.
“It’s always difficult when you’ve got such a public figure that people feel they can relate to or have related to for a number of years or decades to suddenly feel that this is the end of an era. It’s always going to be difficult but it’s largely been a positive experience and hopefully this will be a chance for people to own a piece of history and treasure his memory in the long term.”
Speaking about the items up for sale, Martin said the lots represent all aspects of Keith’s life from the professional to the personal. Martin thinks Keith’s gold disks and awards will attract the most interest, together with his distinctive custom-built bed.
“We were appointed by the solicitor who is handling the estate and the sale really covers the full gammit of Keith’s life. It’s the personal effects removed from his home and it includes such personal things as his clothing, his sunglasses, through to more sort of publicly seen elements of his music career – music awards, gold disks and then as well there’s also things like his motorcycling leathers and helmet, representing another aspect of his life.”
“There’s also one or two centrepieces, the bed especially. I think it’s certainly one of the most amazing pieces of craftsmanship I’ve ever seen and probably ever likely to see.”
“By rights the bed should be one of the stars of the show but its a limited market – it’s so big, there’s only a select number of people who would want it in the first place and of those people even fewer who’ve actually got a place to put it. It’s a wonderful thing but it’s quite a narrow market that it will appeal to. I think the obvious attractions to fans will be things like the presentation disks and the music awards, ” Martin explained.
Two fans planning to visit the event, Gemma and James, said just being there and seeing Keith’s belongings in one place was special.
“I’ve been a lifelong Prodigy fan and I think seeing all the items together this evening in one place will be really emotional for me,” Gemma said. “I’m not sure if I’ll be even able to bid on anything but it was important for me to come along and see the items in one place.” Gemma also attended Keith’s funeral ceremony in Essex along with other Prodigy fans. “I still think about that day a lot. It was a real celebration of his life, and he would have wanted that.”
James agrees. “It was a celebration of his life and in a way this event is too as it’s giving fans a chance to own something of Keith’s. I think that’s a really special thing.”
Martin says that for many of the fans he’s spoken to already, it’s been an emotional for them to deal with.
Martin explained: “I think it’s been quite an emotional journey, especially for the fans who have travelled to see the things assembled all in one place. It’s always difficult in these circumstances but at least it gives them a chance to see the things and even one them, to have some little keepsakes and momentous of Keith’s life.”
“It would be lovely to think that some things would be available in public collections so it’s available for other people in the future. Let’s hope some things go that way.”
Thinking about how much money the auction will make on the night, Martin says with events like this “it’s a complete unknown quantity.” He added: “I think people are struggling to know at what sort of levels to leave bids and how to budget for purchases on the night.”
“These sort of sales don’t come along every day. I did handle the estate of Sid Barratt when he died about 13 years ago now and that similarly attracted huge amounts of interest. In those days, we didn’t have the facility for bidding online because the Internet was in its infancy so people really had to attend. We had crowds and crowds of people queuing to get in…now you can bid online very easily so with or without the same level of physical attendance. We’ve got a little bit of a history with these things.
“To do something like this which is so different and so sort of so much in the public eye is a pleasure and an honour – there’s nothing better as an auctioneer than getting on the rostrum and conducting a sale to a room full of people who want to be there, who want to take part and who are just there to soak it up.”
The auction takes place this evening at Cheffins in Cambridge from 6pm. Potential bidders can find out more information here on how to bid here. Bidders will need to purchase a catalogue for £15 to gain entry to the auction: the event’s organisers have advised people to come early to avoid disappointment.