Authentic Value

stevo from gosnells
[Stevo with his “mint condition” voucher for a special AC/DC songbook. Bec the photographer is in the background. Read about my first encounter with Stevo here…]

Stevo from Gosnells is a one heckuva collector.

I got his number from Robi at the Fremantle Arts Centre. As is often the case with the Bon Scott tragics I’ve been meeting lately, my tentative phone call, which is supposedly just “to work out if you might be up for a visit”, results in an avalanche of information being transmitted right then and there on the phone.

“I’m the biggest collector I know!” Steve said, and then he launched into a big list of the AC/DC items he owns. I had to rein him in – a lot of the stuff he was saying didn’t make any sense to me at all. Blue labels? Certificates of authenticity?? Souvenir songbooks??? Bon’s face on a dollar bill????

I jumped in the old Ford Laser with Bec the photographer and her trusty sister/assistant Brenda, and we arrived at Stevo’s place around sunset. Gosnells is an old suburb of Perth, but the section where Stevo and his wife Veronica live, with their kids Chelsea and Hayden, is pretty new. It’s the kind of place where the bush was cleared to make an expanse of sandy desert and then the roads were laid out before anyone even thought of buildings. The streets are winding labyrinthine configurations that look like the drawing of a brain from the air. It’s tricky to find your way around. Houses take up a significant portion of the land mass, and the smallish lawns and bubbling ponds tend to be well manicured. Everything (except the grass and the road) is coloured beige.

You might not expect to discover an oasis of Bon in all this suburban utopia. Wasn’t Bon the antithesis of suburban living? But I guess the Western Australian mining boom has been good to tradies, which might explain why fans like Stevo have begun to occupy this kind of real estate.

Stevo is a roof tiler. He works tradies’ hours, finishing around three pm each day. He’s set it up so that if he has an Ebay auction finishing while he’s at work, he can duck home, make his final bids, then catch up on his tiling later.

Online auctions are the main thing Stevo does on the internet. Apart from that, the virtual world is a bit of a mystery to him. For Stevo, the web is just a tool he can use to acquire tangible objects, namely, Bon-Scott-era AC/DC paraphernalia.

Stevo and Veronica invited us in. Arrayed across a large black pool table were dozens of albums, many of them autographed in black marker pen. While Veronica organised beers and iced water and peanuts and salty biscuits for us, I rummaged through the collection with Stevo.

Stevo hasn’t been collecting long. He began dabbling online a few years back, looking for first edition records from the 1970s. Apparently, you know they’re authentic Aussie LPs by the dark blue label with the little drawing of a kangaroo on it. He showed me a “blue label” copy of Dirty Deeds. It was in “mint” condition. I wondered how this could be possible, given that the record is more than 30 years old. It must never have been played. Which means either that someone was given the record as a gift and didn’t like AC/DC (unlikely) or that it’s a special copy purchased by another collector, way back in 1977, and put aside carefully as a legacy for the future (much more likely).

Stevo’s collecting obsession really took off at the 2007 fundraising concert for the Bon Scott statue:

“Backstage at that concert I got a few autographs on a big poster. Buzz from the Angels and Angry Anderson and Dave Evans and Mark Evans. Then for some reason all these rockers threw their weight behind my autograph-collecting project. It turned into this frenzy, everyone racing around trying to assemble a full set of signatures for me.”

stevo and veronica with the poster
[Stevo and Veronica unfurl the autographed poster…]

Stevo got everyone who played at the concert to sign the poster, except for a teenage AC/DC tribute group called The Flairz. I forgot to ask why he missed their signatures. Maybe they were too young to hang out with the adults backstage or something.

After that concert, a collecting bomb went off inside Stevo’s head. He went autograph crazy. The pride of his collection is a first edition of Let There Be Rock. He bought it from EBay – it came from America, and had all the AC/DC autographs except Mark Evans’. Then Stevo met Mark at the Bon Scott concert and got him to complete the set.

stevo with let there be rock

“The thing about Let There Be Rock“, said Stevo, “is that although Mark Evans played bass on it, the album wasn’t released until after he’d already left the band. So all the other signed copies of Let There Be Rock lack Mark’s signature. This may in fact be the only copy in the world with a complete set.”

Stevo’s enthusiasm is surprisingly infectious. It made me stop and think. Having Bon Scott’s scrawl on the cover of the album meant that at some time in the past – probably after a concert – a nervous fan had fronted up with the sleeve, together with a specially-purchased indelible texta. Bon Himself, sweaty and exhilarated after giving the performance of his life, had taken the album in His own hands, and written on it. And now, here I was, in a kitchen in Gosnells, holding that same piece of cardboard. How many cities had it visited, how many hands had the album passed through, on its journey to me?

Then again, I was a bit concerned about the autograph thing. Stevo said these signed albums often cost over 500 bucks. I wondered what would stop cunning profiteering forgers from “manufacturing” signatures to sell to devotees like Stevo.

He wasn’t entirely sure himself. The signed albums often come with authenticity certificates, but who authenticates the authenticator? Do you have to resort to something like this service, which runs a whole barrage of scientific tests including DNA and “Video Spectral” comparisons? Caveat Emptor! There are warnings galore online about faked AC/DC signatures.

Googling around some of these authentication sites, I found this image:

babe ruth baseball

Yowsa. What a strange world of arbitrary value. Fake is “worth” nothing… real is “worth” shitloads! But aren’t they both “just” baseballs with a scrawl of ink?

And what about poor old fans like Stevo, who would never dream of selling their collections? Could Stevo, I worried, be in possession of a set of fakes?

If they are fake, in some ways it would be better he never found out. Stevo is in it for the love. But if his stuff is real, then Veronica and the family could be looking at a nice little nest egg for later on, when (heaven forbid) Stevo heads off to join Bon in that big backstage in the sky…

stevo and veronica posing

Back in the Den, Stevo and Veronica rummaged through a huge stack of T shirts to find the right one for the photo shoot. Veronica went off to iron their chosen shirts, and brush her hair, and then they were ready to have their portrait taken. Bec tried out a bunch of different arrangements, but eventually decided that Stevo’s own aesthetic configuration was best: a wall of carefully framed CDs and posters behind, and his custom-built Jack Daniels pool table in front.

While Bec clicked away, Stevo and Veronica’s 14 year old son Hayden wandered into the kitchen. I was poring over all the stuff Stevo had laid out for me, including an AC/DC comic book, and his own growing list of signatures still to be obtained… I asked Hayden what kind of music he listens to. “Ah you know, the new stuff they play on the radio,” he said. But he digs AC/DC when dad plays it, and pretty much gets about non-stop in his Bon Scott baseball cap. “And what do you think of this huge pile of Bon Scott stuff your dad collects?” I asked. He paused and thought for a moment. “Expensive,” he replied.

Before we left Gosnells, Stevo hit us with a barrage of numbers. As much as he’s obsessed with first-edition records and autographed posters, he’s also constantly ruminating about coincidences in numbers and dates. These things hold great significance for him.

“When we bought this house, the keys were handed to us on July the 9th. Right? That’s Bon’s birthday. And when we put the house on the market to sell it, just a few weeks ago, guess what date it was? The 19th of February – the day Bon died! And whenever I buy lottery tickets, I always use those three numbers: 9, 19, and 33.”

Stevo is now 33: the same age as Bon when he died, drunk in a car in the freezing cold in a suburb of London, a million miles from Gosnells.


30 thoughts on “Authentic Value”

  1. Steve should snipe! He wouldn’t have to duck home to place last minute bids, though I’m sure the nickin’ off is half the fun. Why snipe? According to “Your early bid is an important information for other bidders. This especially applies to rare items, value of which is directly determined by interest. Other bidders may realize true value of an item only after you submit your bid. By bidding early, you are helping them, and that’s against your own interest.”

    Check the ‘R’ on Babe Ruth’s autograph. It’s flung like a baseball bat (flung, …or hung?!). That’s how ya authenticate his signature it seems!

    Christ, Veronica’s yellow edged dacca-tee is flamin’ HOT!
    Speaking of Christ, he too was 33, when he died (or seemed to die).

  2. Thanks Mickie. By the way, I too am 33 years old right now, if anyone cares to know…

    Wow, “snipe” is kinda the right word. Isn’t that a bit… unfair? That is interesting: “rare items, value of which is directly determined by interest”. Just like art.

    And if Babe Ruth’s signature resembles a baseball bat, anyone care to guess what Bon’s might look like?

    By the way, here‘s another man’s remark about the potential authenticity of Bon’s signature…

  3. Are you not 32? I thought you were a few months younger than me. Unless i am not 32 like i have been thinking i am …no, i just confirmed with my memory of my last birthday that i turned 32 (almost a year ago!).

    That link from Babe Ruth’s ‘B’ to Bon’s ‘B’ is a kak. Bon’s ‘B’ is a Boner by comparison!

    And as for ‘sniping’, well the self serving justification other than the seemingly unfair benefits is this:
    The normal procedure of Ebay is that a bidder submits his/her bid with their highest willing bid. The high limit of their bid remains hidden whilst only an increment above the previous highest bidder is shown. The high bid is only revealed when it is maxed out by another bidder finally taking the lead. And the justification for ‘sniping’: “If the ebayers maximum bid is higher than that of a sniping user, the ebayer will win regardless.”

    And if you wanna use the self-defense argument say this: “Ever been victim of shill bidding? It’s a fraudulent practice used by some sellers to inflate the price of an item by using another eBay ID to bid on their own item (and retracting bid if they go too far. Be especially careful if bidders’ IDs are kept private). If you use sniping, fraudulent sellers have no time to conduct shill bidding.”

    But really it comes down to manipulating feelings of “true value”. True and value, do those words even work together? Feelings and value …well sniping bidders hide their feelings until the end to get “good value” and “good feelings”, whilst regular joe ebayers “get excited during auctions, and are often ready to bid way more than what is rational.”

    ah this stuff tickles me.
    am i off topic?

  4. cool article- was a great read. also like this blog.
    I’m an avid AC/DC collector myself and collect everything under the sun that has to do with AC/DC -both Bon and Brian eras.
    There are some AC/DC records that have sold for up to and over $1,000 US. Collecting ACCA DACCA is a very fun and addicting hobby to say the least. cheers!

  5. Hey Guys,
    After reading all of your blogs about buying and selling this on ebay has freaked me out. I’ve got a few AC/DC albums at the moment. I WAS! thinking about selling them on ebay but now I’m not too sure. Any suggestions?????????????
    I have and autographed Dirty Deeds album, its signed by Bon, Angus, Malcolm (I think) and Mark. I’ve had it hanging on the wall for about 25 years and the signatures have started to fade a little. Also in my collection I have, Bon-Scott’s last oui-oui Paris 12/9/79 by DRIVILE RECORDS 1980, TNT by ALBERT PRODUCTIONS 1975, Monsters of Rock (Live in Stockholm 1984) by ??? Made in Holland, I think its a bootleg, Rock Sagas AC/DC interview with Chris Tetley by Fotodisk 1988, Shook you all night long (Picture Album) by EVIL-records, AC/DC Interview (Picture Album) by TELL TALES 1988, You Shook Me All Night Long 45 R.P.M By ALBERT PRODUCTIONS EMI 1983, Who made Who 45 R.P.M By ALBERT PRODUCTIONS EMI 1986. What value would you but on my collection?

  6. A ONE DOLLAR BILL WITH BONS FACE ON IT!!!?????? I WANT. the greatest thing i’ve ever seen, and the icing on the cake……. it’s legal tender!

  7. I am an AC/DC FANATIC to say the least. I have seen them with Bon Scott and Brian Johnson of course. I collect AC/DC signed rock memorabilia myself. I have, not one, but two “Let There Be Rock” signed albums from very early AC/DC with Bon Scott and Mark Evans’s signature on them both including the others we shall say all five band members. I have a Jackson Pro series Sunburst exquisitely made guitar signed by all of AC/DC with Bon Scott’s signature and they wrote their favorite songs with their names. Bon Scott’s song that he wrote this of course, “Let There Be Rock”. Angus Young wrote Bad Boy Boogie 24/7. I have famous artists artwork of Angus Young and uncirculated pictures of Bon Scott. I’m putting together a display a very expensive display of AC/DC in the 1979 era. I have a unique rare first print, sold for Australia only which is signed by all of AC/DC oh the name of the album is of course “HIGH VOLTAGE”, with the little dog peeing on the high-voltage transformer. All have been authenticated and are the real deal…!! I’ll become a member and put up the pictures and maybe the progress of this “museum quality” display I’ll working on..

  8. I think people have to be very very careful purchasing Bon Scott signed items. Obviously the most common pen to sign in when Bon was alive was actually ball point pen not markers.

    Most markers from the 70’s were water based and would’ve almost completely faded by now. Obviously there are some markers from that era that would’ve survived but I believe the record in this article is a fake.

    Have a read of this:

  9. Thanks, Memorabilia Collector! I think your cautions are very apt. I will pass this info on to steve the collector featured in this blog article.

  10. Hello,i have been a acdc collector for over 35 years and have been lucky to meet Bon 10 times over the 4 year period they played the uk with Bon,i have 11 Bon autograph’s i collected in person(2 on the same day)and sorry to say the Bon autograph on the let there be rock cover is a pisses me off the diehard acdc fans are getting shafted on ebay all the time,and authenticity certificates are useless as anybody can print one off on the computer these days,,sorry mate its a FAKE for sure,,

  11. I am an AC/DC memorabilia collector, in which I go through very high-end AC/DC dealers. All my so-called memorabilia have all been authenticated and documented. I see that you say above, you may have the one and only copy of “let there be rock” with Mark Evans signature along with all of the others (original), Bon, Angus, Malcolm and Phil along with Mark Evans signature. You know, you think you have the only copy (I have TWO “let there be rock” with Mark Evans signature)… I can send you pictures and as you know, Mark Evans either put an arrow towards him, or signed his name right above his head (the bass player on the cover)… He was proud to be an AC/DC (who wouldn’t..) I collect mainly Bon Scott era signed albums; trying to get the total band signatures on a rare rare album is the challenge and I have a few that would blow your mind. Be cool and rock on…!!!
    “forget the drugs, and you will have more time for sex and rock ‘n roll” Steven Tyler ” Aerosmith”

    1. hey darric ive only just recently inherited a bon scott autograph signed “best wishes barbara bon scott spektors xxxx” .it is in a autograph book along with countless other autographs.i also have 2 photos taken at a concert in sydney..not sure of the date…i know there authentic….just wondering what something like that is worth and….anyone wana buy em? cheers

  12. if there is a way to post some pictures on this website, I will send some pictures of the Mark Evans signed “let there be rock” albums I have and a guitar that will blow your mind that is signed by Bon Scott along with songs they wrote by their names (which isn’t unusual) but you can compare the two different albums and compare the Mark Evans signatures. I have taken mine to, a firm that owns signature cards and this was approved hands down… The appraiser even offered to purchase it from me. Go figure.. “the music was good and the music was loud” Rock on, Ronald Belford Scott

  13. Darric, email your photos to me and I will post ’em up! can’t wait to see em!

  14. Steve,

    I have an identical copy of Let There Be Rock with everyones signature except for Mark’s. I’ve had my copy for several years and I had it framed. Strictly for insurance purposes, what do you think the album is worth?

  15. can you send me closer pics of bon scott you have some recordslp, mmobilia bon scott era to sell.cheers.paulo

  16. I’ve been reading and listening to everybody thinking that they have REAL Bon Scott Autographs. From what I’ve seen so far, no one an Authentic Bon Autograph. I’m not sure, but I think most people don’t know what Bon’s Autograph looks like. I’ve been Collecting for about 30 years and have only acquired 2 Original Bon Autographs. The Bon Autograph on the above Album is DEFINITELY FAKE!!! Most anything claiming to have been Signed by Mark Evans is more than likely FAKE!! And the Signed Guitar with the members listing their Favorite Songs and including Bon’s Autograph, is DEFINITELY FAKE and I don’t have to see it, to know that. It sounds like something that came from AutographsAmerica–The biggest Rip-Off on the internet. If someone can tell me how to Post a Picture on here, I can alleviate everyone’s doubt by showing you what Bon’s Signature really looks like. You can also find Authentic Bon Scott Signatures from the Museum in Australia, who purchased the Love Letters from Bon’s Wife. All of them Signed by Bon. You can’t buy a Bon Scott Autograph until you know what it looks like. Good Luck.

  17. Lucas,

    I’ve been rummaging through some old stuff and came across something of which you might know the worth. In ’79 AC/DC came to Norfolk, VA— great show by the way. Really happy to see / hear them with Bon Scott. Anyway, Angus did his usual disrobing and tossed his shirt into the crowd. Being the tallest one there I reached straight up and it landed in my hand, sweat and all. Took it home, wrote in marker “AC/DC, Scope, 1979” or something like that and put it away. There must be two hundred of these shorts form that year, and an equal number from previous and subsequent years, and since the rumors of Angus’ death have been greatly exaggerated this could be worth nothing more than the ticket stub from that show. Then again…

    Please, if you can take a moment, lemme know if you can lend any insight into my query.



    1. hi christopher
      i have no idea what the financial value of that shirt would be (perhaps another reader can give you a sense of it).

      but it has immense personal value to you, and it would warm the hearts of the legions of fans to see a picture of it to go along with your story. do post up a picture we can look at! you’re a lucky man.

  18. I have an autograph book that includes signatures of Bon Scott, Angus, Phil from AC/DC signed in 1977 or so – plus Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, Alan Parsons, Saga, Scorpions, Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice, Loverboy, Ricky King, Etta Cameron, Camel, Saxon, and a few German artists and soccer stars – ie Udo Lindenberg and a few others. i have another book that has Def Leppard’s Phil Collen, Ronny James Dio, Quiet Riot, Mötley Crue, Queen, and others. I have hung on to all this for so many years, almost forgetting about it – but I am willing to sell it to someone who really wants it. It’s not gonna be going for peanuts, but I am gonna be fair. Make me an offer. Note: most of them have my name in it as a dedication and they are in the book, most of them with dates and some with places. Send me a message if you are interested through this site and I will give you my email address. Ellen

  19. just an enquiry , i have been given by my brother a vintage sony sterecorder , reel to reel stereo center 230 and it is believed to have an early radio interview on the reel , where would i get this authenticated , and would it be worth anything because its too old ( not a modern media )??

  20. I have Bon,Angus,Malcom,Mark and Colins autographs for 1975 south australian tour with support act the keystoneangels autographs rick.john.doc and Charlie.Happy to send pics to anyone how want to see real early acdc autographs cheers

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