Led Zeppelin‘s original debut album artwork is set to be auctioned off next month, and is expected to bring an estimated $20,000 to $30,000 (£16,121 to £24,181).
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Designed by George Hardie, the iconic cover for the band’s 1969 self-titled LP is based on a famous Hindenburg disaster image by photographer Sam Shere. The piece will go up for auction during a sale due to take place between June 2-18 at Christie’s.
Peter Klarnet, Christie’s senior specialist of Books and Manuscripts, told Rolling Stone: “In terms of rarity, this is a unique object — I don’t think you can get rarer than that.”
Hardie, an English graphic designer and illustrator, produced his take on the photo while studying at the Royal College of Art in London. His friend, photographer Stephen Goldblatt, had recommended his work to Led Zeppelin, with Jimmy Page later suggesting he used Shere’s Hindenburg photo.
The band reportedly paid Hardie just £60 for his efforts, though he is said to have discovered a note reading “George’s pension fund” upon finding the original tracing years later.
“The historical significance of this album cover cannot be understated,” Klarnet explained. “It marked a major turning point in the history of pop music, heralded by the debut of Led Zeppelin. It was louder, bolder than what had come before and would come to define the shape of hard rock for generations.”
“This simple rendering of the Hindenburg exploding over Lakehurst stands as a monument to that important historical moment. And the image has endured in a way that most other album covers have not — it very much has taken on a life of its own.”
Meanwhile, Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Dancing Days’ has recently been covered by St. Vincent. Annie Clark offered up a stripped-back acoustic version of the song via Instagram.