The Abbey Road Studios EMI TG12345 MK IV console used to record Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, which was expected to sell for ‘a significant six-figure sum’ when it went under the hammer at Bonham’s earlier this week instead fetched a whopping $1,807,500 at auction.
One of the main attractions at the auction house’s ‘TCM Presents…Rock and Roll Through the Lens’ event, the desk – with a pre-auction estimate of ‘only’ $700,000 – was housed in the facility’s iconic Studio Two between 1971 and 1983, commissioned as an update for the MK II model and one of only two consoles custom-made by EMI engineers for Abbey Road.
Described as “the greatest console ever constructed” by ex-Abbey Road technician Brian Gibson, the MK IV was utilised by Pink Floyd and producer Alan Parsons during the making of the band’s landmark 1973 album, which stayed in the charts for 741 weeks and was recently voted the Number One Rock Album of All Time by Rolling Stone.
In its time at Abbey Road the console was also used to record works from other pop and rock greats such as Paul McCartney and Wings, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Kate Bush. It remains in full working order and the lucky new owner also received a letter of provenance from former Abbey Road studio manager Ken Townsend as part of the purchase.
"The world record price of this important item of music engineering only confirms the military precision of EMI craftsmanship and the powerhouse persona of Abbey Road Studios,” said Katherine Schofield, Bonhams’ head of Entertainment Memorabilia in London. “The intense bidding seen in the room and on the phone speaks to its association with one of the UK’s most relevant and successful bands, Pink Floyd, and highlights the fact that this is far from being any ordinary console."