Rolling Stone gathered... dust behind a wardrobe

It was a shopping trip auctioneer Stephen Ardley will never forget. He started out browsing the supermarket shelves for beans and cornflakes, but came away with an opportunity to handling a unique piece of art and pop history.

By LYNETTE ALCOCK

It was a shopping trip auctioneer Stephen Ardley will never forget.

He started out browsing the supermarket shelves for beans and cornflakes, but came away with an opportunity to handling a unique piece of art and pop history.

Mr Ardley was approached in the supermarket by the owner of a screen print by Andy Warhol.

But the 1975 portrait of Mick Jagger was not only signed by Warhol - who had dedicated the picture to the singer's first wife Bianca - but it had been signed in black felt tip pen by the Rolling Stone frontman himself.

Far from claiming pride of place in the owner's home, the print had spent the last decade tucked away behind a wardrobe.

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"I just couldn't believe it," said Mr Ardley, of the Lowestoft Auction Rooms.

"I banged into the vendor in Morrisons, and they just casually said would I be interested in selling an Andy Warhol print of Mick Jagger, signed by Jagger and Warhol.

"I just didn't know what to say. It was unbelievable.

"Then they went on to say it had sat behind their wardrobe for 10 years gathering dust. It was incredible. "When they brought it in I was very, very excited. In fact, excited is not the word; this is my era, the 1960s and 1970s.

"I never ever thought I would handle a piece of work by Andy Warhol."

The 110cm by 73cm print, which bears the message "To Bianca, with love, Andy Warhol" is now expected to fetch between £3,000 and £6,000 when it goes under the hammer next month.

But similar prints are currently being sold for up to £29,000 by galleries on the internet, leaving Mr Ardley unable to accurately predict the final price.

He said: "Copies of this particular print have been sold all around the world - Johannesburg, New York - all realising between £3,000 and £6,000.

"But this one is signed, so we may have something a bit special here.

"It is very rare that something like this surfaces in a town like Lowestoft, considering the other ones have been sold in major auction rooms around the world. To say I was quite pleased it had come to us would be an understatement."

The owner of the print has asked to remain anonymous.

Jagger was just one of Warhol's vast list of patrons who commissioned portraits in the 1970s, including John Lennon and Liza Minnelli.

A film about Warhol and the pop art movement, Factory Girl, starring Sienna Miller, is due to be released on Friday.

The film follows the life of the artist's muse and Sixties fashion icon Edie Sedgwick, played by Miller, who committed suicide when she was 28. The film, directed by George Hickenlooper, stars Australian actor Guy Pearce as Warhol.

The Warhol Jagger print will go under the hammer on Saturday, April 7 at Lowestoft Auction Rooms, Pinbush Road, South Lowestoft Industrial Estate.

The sale starts at 10am, but the print, which is Lot 100, will be sold at 11am.

The lot can be viewed online at www.lowestoftauctionrooms.com