The One Million Pound Drum Kit - My Involvement

Through my interest in English Rogers drums in June 2010 I was viewing a Dave Clark Five website at  looking for photos. Where there is a photo of Dave Clark there is usually an English Rogers drum kit. This was my first post on the forum 3th June 2010  .

About half way down the page jabdc5 posts this link however this page has been updated since I bought the drums. Originally it looked like the page opposite - click the image to view full page.

I was aware of the drum kit in question. It is featured in Rob Cook’s excellent “The Rogers Book” and I am old enough to remember the fuss around the DC5 and DC’s drum kit back in the early 1960s.

There was enough information in the webpage for me to look for a telephone number for John and Carol. It took much less time than I thought to find one and I remember sitting there on a Saturday afternoon with the phone in my hand just wondering If it was a little silly to go running after this drum kit. I dialled the number and spoke briefly to Carol who had been presented with the drum kit. She put me on to John and I introduced myself and explained my interest in his drum kit and asked if he would be kind enough to let me come and see them. I don’t think either of them was at all sure about this odd phone call out of the blue. I sent them a couple of emails containing my private and business details so that they could see that I wasn’t a mass murder or anything of the like. They were happy for me to view the drums the following week.

At this point I had no idea what condition the drums might be in. Many drum kits of that age have been well used and may even bear the scars of modifications. Drummers like to replace aging hardware with the latest design and mercilessly drill their drums.

It was a warm sunny day when I arrived at John and Carol’s house. John fetched the drums from out of the garage; we set the drums up as Dave Clark had them and sat in the garden.

II was surprised to find that due to John’s care the drum kit had fared rather well.

At last it became clear how Dave Clark had managed to get two toms mounted on his bass drum.
The small number of kits I had seen up to this point with two mounted toms had ende up something like the one below.

Apart from John having lost the front bass drum hoop and the claws and rods that would go with it the kit was complete and in good condition.

The drums had all been kept in the cases that had been part of the prize. Some of these cases still had “DC5” written on them.

With John’s permission I took quite a few photos. I asked John and Carol if they would mind me posting about the kit on some drum forums, although I pointed out to them that I would not mention the Radio London webpage. I hadn’t found it difficult to find their phone number and address with the information helpfully provided by Radio London and I wouldn’t want my visit to result in anything happening to the drums. I was with them about an hour and a half before returning home.

A few weeks later I put together this…….. This does not hide the story as told on the  Radio London webpage as readers of this site already knew the story.

About nine months after this a Red Sparkle English Rogers drum kit came up on Ebay. It was this one …………

(Note that the mounted tom and the disappearing cymbal holder have been placed in the wrong, or perhaps left-handed, positions.)

I emailed John just to tell him what it had fetched, which was £558 as I remember. John’s reply was that he thought it might be time to sell his kit as he didn’t use it anymore. I said that I would not be interested in paying any more than his kit would make on Ebay without its DC5 connection as I was not a DC5 fan especially, but I would be happy to try and help him sell it, as a DC5 fan or collector might think it worth more.

I made a few enquiries and it seemed to both of us that Bonham’s auction house presented a good choice. I exchanged several emails with Stephen at Bonhams who it turned out was an old drummer and he appeared to “get” this kit right from the start. I found the missing parts for John and he took the drums to Bonham’s warehouse to be photographed ready for the sale which was scheduled for 15th December 2011.

Six days before the sale I had an email from John to say that Bonhams had had a phone call from someone who was calling the provenance of the drums into doubt. Stephen had asked the caller to put in writing what was being said. A few days later, despite there being no further contact with the caller, Bonhams withdrew the sale.

After a couple of months, when the dust had settled I made John an offer for the drums which he accepted.

Despite what happened to the Bonham’s auction I hope it can be seen that the provenance of these drums is unassailable. In 1966 Dave Clark is quoted as saying that they were his, he then personally presented them to Carol, who nominated John (who was present and photographed at the presentation) to have them, and I then bought them from John. I of course have a letter of sale and remain on good terms with John and Carol.
Elsewhere on this site you will find an examination of the history of the drum kit, the unique features of their build and their restoration. Reference is made as to how it can be seen that the drum kit that Dave Clark presented to John and Carol has all the same features as the one that Dave Clark had used from late 1963 to the end of 1965.