Lyrics Handwritten by Bob Dylan On Sale for $2.2 Million

    20 April 2020

    A paper on which music star Bob Dylan wrote the words to one of his most famous songs, The Times They Are A-Changin,' has gone on sale. The asking price is $2.2 million dollars, a record amount for such an object if someone pays it.

    Gary Zimet owns the business Moments in Time, an autograph dealership in Los Angeles. He said that the paper was first owned by Jeff Rosen, a top employee of Dylan's. Now, Zimet said, it is being sold by an unidentified private collector.

    FILE--Singer Bob Dylan is seen in this April 27, 1965 file picture in London.
    FILE--Singer Bob Dylan is seen in this April 27, 1965 file picture in London.

    "It's not an auction. It's a private sale. First come, first served," Zimet told Reuters.

    Similar Dylan papers have been sold for record amounts already. In 2014, a buyer paid $2 million for a paper on which the musician wrote the song Like a Rolling Stone.

    Dylan wrote The Times They Are A-Changin' in 1963 and included it on an album of the same name the following year. It became a major protest song of the 1960s.

    Zimet said he was also selling papers on which Dylan wrote the words to two other songs. The dealer set the price for the writing of 1965's Subterranean Homesick Blues at $1.2 million. He wants $650,000 for the paper on which Dylan wrote Lay Lady Lay, a song released in 1969.

    "They are not quite as important," said Zimet, explaining the lower prices. "Subterranean Homesick Blues is certainly a major, major song but not in the same league as ‘The Times They Are A-Changin'," he said.

    Musicians' hand-written words to popular songs have become some of the most sought-after objects for collectors.

    Singer Don McLean's 16-page handwritten document of the song American Pie sold for $1.2 million in 2015. Paul McCartney's handwritten words to the Beatles' song Hey Jude sold for $910,000 at an online auction earlier this month.

    The 78-year-old Dylan is considered the voice of his generation. Last month, he released his first new music in eight years. It included a 17-minute song called Murder Most Foul about the 1963 murder of American President John F. Kennedy.

    In 2016, Dylan became the only songwriter to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

    I'm Caty Weaver.

    Jill Serjeant reported this story for the Reuters news agency. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


    Words in This Story

    lyrics–n. words of a song

    autograph –n. something written by a famous person in their own hand

    auction –n. a public sale in which goods are sold to the people who offer to pay the most

    league –n. a level of accomplishment; ‘the same league' can mean at the same level