A guitar signed – and believed to be once owned – by Rolling Stones legend Ronnie Wood could sell for thousands of pounds at auction thanks to a touch of magical provenance.
It was swapped for a set of extra-large playing cards which once belonged to legendary comedy magician Tommy Cooper – thanks to celebrity intervention and a kind bar owner.
The instrument, which has a guide price of £8,000-£10,000 at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire on March 28, is special for lots of reasons, not least its quirky provenance revealed in part by the bold handwritten message it bears – ‘To Steve at Pussy Galore!!! 2006 – Ronnie Wood’.
Pussy Galore was a sports bar in Pattaya, Thailand, once owned by 59-year-old Steve Gregson – a popular character with some generous celebrity friends.
Steve, who’s lived in Thailand for more than 20 years and still runs a bar there, is a generous man, too. He was happy to help his good friend snooker legend Jimmy White when he was in need of a unique gift for his buddy Ronnie Wood.
Steve’s son Jack Gregson, a 28-year-old electrician from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, picks up the story: “The Ronnie Wood signed guitar was given as a gift to my dad in 2006. It all came about when dad ran the Pussy Galore bar. He got to know some well-known faces, and sometimes he was given unique gifts to display at the bar.”
“Among them was a pack of large playing cards that belonged to Tommy Cooper. Apparently, Tommy’s nephew gave them to him. They must have been a great talking point as Cooper was legendary and lots of people admired him, even though he passed away many years before at the age of 63 in 1984.
“Perhaps Ronnie Wood is a Tommy Cooper fan because dad ended up giving the playing cards to Jimmy White. He’s good friends with Ronnie Wood and wanted to give them to him for his birthday.
“In return for his generosity, dad was given the guitar signed by Ronnie, which we understand belonged to Ronnie. It took pride of place on the wall at dad’s sports bar for years. He asked me to sell it for him because he has cancer and wants to raise funds to help pay for his treatment in Thailand. He’s in recovery now. I hope I can cheer him up with a good auction result.”
Claire Howell, music memorabilia consultant at Hansons, said: “What a find and what a story! This guitar is a unique piece of music memorabilia with links to three huge talents from the world of rock, snooker and magic. That makes it extra special and I am sure Rolling Stones fans worldwide will be keen to bid for it.
“We understand a similar guitar signed by Ronnie Wood made £50,000 at auction in 2007. It would be nice if we could smash the guitar’s estimate to help Steve as he recovers from cancer.”