A series of love letters that Mick Jagger wrote in the summer of 1969 have sold at auction for £187,250 ($301,472). The handwritten notes were sent by the Rolling Stones frontman to his former muse and lover Marsha Hunt while he was in Australia working on the film Ned Kelly.
Hunt, a Philadelphia-born singer who is reportedly the inspiration for the Stones’ 1971 hit “Brown Sugar,” asked Sotheby’s to sell the letters on her behalf. “When a serious historian finally examines how and why Britain’s boy bands affected international culture and politics, this well-preserved collection of Mick Jagger’s hand written letters will be a revelation,” she said in a statement distributed by the auction house. The letters were expected to reach a maximum bid of between $110,000 and $160,000. However, according to the Associated Press, a private collector snapped up the letters for almost double the auction estimate.
Sotheby’s books specialist Gabriel Heaton told the Associated Press what could make the letters so valuable to a collector: “They provide a rare glimpse of Jagger that is very different from his public persona: passionate but self-contained, lyrical but with a strong sense of irony.” The letters, he added, reveal “a poetic and self-aware 25-year-old with wide-ranging intellectual and artistic interests.” The letters purportedly touch on everything from the moon landing to Jagger’s excitement at meeting writer Christopher Isherwood to dishing about John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and also detail the death of bandmate Brian Jones.
Hunt, according to The Guardian, sold the letters in order to pay the electric bill and fund repairs on her home. “I’m broke,” she explained. “Anyone who has the impression that I have money knows nothing about me.” Hunt and Jagger have a daughter, Karis, together.