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Gainsbourg auction sets new record

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Gainsbourg auction sets new record
Claude Truong-Ngoc
09:00 CET+01:00

An auction of handwritten song lyrics and other artefacts from French singer Serge Gainsbourg raised €266,000 ($360,000) in Paris on Wednesday, well above initial estimates.

Collectors and fans attended the auction at Sotheby's which beat all previous records of sales of the singer's belongings.

Song manuscripts, photographs and even a torn 500 franc note were all on sale. They had originally belonged to the singer's butler Fulbert Ribeaut, reported Le Point magazine.

The best selling item was a manuscript of the song "Sorry Angel," which was written by Gainsbourg about his break-up with his long-time partner Jane Birkin. 

The handwritten text sold for €51,150 putting it well above the original estimate of €18,000 and much higher than the previous record of €33,000 for a Gainsbourg manuscript.

Other song manuscripts on sale included "Love on the beat" (€39,150) and "You're under arrest" (€21,150).

A 500 franc note, torn and signed by Gainsbourg, sold for €24,750.

Gainsbourg was a singer, songwriter, actor and director known for an inventive style and outstanding lyrics.

The sexual nature of his work often caused controversy. A song he wrote for the young singer France Gall called "les sucettes" ("lollipops") had strong sexual innuendoes, with references to oral sex that the singer herself was allegedly unaware of.

He achieved fame and notoriety outside France, notably with the song "Je t'aime…moi non plus" which was recorded with English actress Jane Birkin. The song achieved widespread success and was banned in countries including Spain, Sweden, Italy and the UK. 

Gainsbourg died of a heart attack aged 62 in March 1991.


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