Sex Pistols God Save the Queen A&M single sells for £13k

The Sex Pistols God Save The Queen Image copyright Wessex Auction Rooms
Image caption Most copies of the A&M pressing were destroyed when the label dropped the band

A rare copy of the Sex Pistols' single God Save The Queen has sold for £13,000 at auction.

The single was originally recorded for A&M Records in 1977, but the label dropped the band before it was issued and most of the copies were destroyed.

Martin Hughes, of Wessex Auction Rooms near Chippenham, said: "It's a holy grail item... and as far as I can tell it's never been played."

In near mint condition, it is among the most valuable vinyl discs of all time.

While other records have since sold for considerably higher prices, the Pistols disc remains among the most sought after artefacts of its kind.

Image caption Martin Hughes said the item was a "holy grail" for record collectors

It was pressed for A&M in March 1977 but withdrawn within days after the band were sacked because of their notorious behaviour.

Shortly afterwards it was re-released by Richard Branson's Virgin Records to coincide with the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

It officially reached number two in the UK charts, despite being banned by the BBC, and is believed by some seasoned rock observers to have been the "real" number one, outselling its nearest rival by two to one.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The Sex Pistols signed a contract with A&M Records outside Buckingham Palace in March 1977
Image copyright Wessex Auction Rooms
Image caption The lot included an accompanying "golden handshake" letter

Mr Hughes said it was thought only nine copies of the single were kept "in a vault" and handed out to a few long-standing employees when the London office closed in 1998.

He said he was a "bit sceptical" when the seller emailed him saying he had a copy, as it was "one of the rarest and most sought-after records in the world".

"He sent me pictures and it was undeniably the right thing," he said.

"And then I saw the all important 'golden handshake' letter and it just blew my mind."

Originally estimated to fetch between £12,000 and £15,000, it was bought by an anonymous online bidder who will pay £15,652 for it including the buyer's premium.

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