Bob Dylan’s Handwritten ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Lyrics Up for Auction

Bob DylanKevin Winter/Getty Images

A sheet of handwritten lyrics to “Like a Rolling Stone,” penned and signed by Bob Dylan this year, is up for auction with a starting price of $125,000 – but that’s less than 10 percent the price of a set of similar pages he wrote in 1965.

Back in 2014, an unidentified buyer paid more than $2 million for four sheets of headed notepaper from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, D.C., that were used by Dylan to write down lines that didn’t make it into his original recording of the classic track. The handwritten note also included rough scribbles and scored-out words.

At the time, it was described as “the only known draft of the final lyrics for this transformative rock anthem.” Nevertheless, auctioneers Nate D. Sanders argued that the new set of lyrics has a high value too. “Handwritten lyrics and signature have been authenticated by Bob Dylan’s manager,” the item’s listing explains. “Single page measures 8.5” x 11”. In near fine condition. Apart from the original draft, these are the only known lyrics of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ that have been offered at auction.

Bob Dylan LyricsNate D. Sanders

“With this song, Dylan reinvigorated his passion for his own work and fully embraced rock music,” continues the listing. “The song was initially thought too long to be commercially successful, until listeners in the mid-’60s harassed radio stations to play it in its entirety. Perhaps the greatest mystery in music is trying to figure out who Dylan is referring to in the song – even Andy Warhol has been mentioned – but ultimately, rock historians believe it speaks to anyone, even Dylan himself, who eschews an easy, pretentious life for one that is riskier but ultimately more fulfilling, with ‘nothing to lose’ and ‘no secrets to conceal.’”

Whether fans believe the 2017 page is worth $125,000 – or more – will be decided when the auction ends on Sept. 28. Earlier this year, a set of lyrics for an unrecorded Dylan song about Wisconsin was put on sale with a starting price of $30,000 and drew no bids.

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Next: Revisiting Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’