Joy, Divided: Ian Curtis’ Kitchen Table Sells for $13K, Band Doesn’t Approve
eBay auction criticized by Joy Division's original members and the Curtis family
Last week we learned that a kitchen table owned by Joy Division’s late, great leader Ian Curtis had hit eBay overseas. Now the piece of furniture has sold for a whopping £8,400, or $13,475.28, following 65 bids. The high price no doubt is partly due to the fact that the Curtis hung himself in the very same kitchen where that table sat. It’d since changed hands a few times, possibly between various family members and neighbors, and now has a new home.
While the winner is likely celebrating this pricey victory, others are not so pleased — former members of Joy Division and the Curtis family, specifically. In the original posting, seller Tel Harrop claimed he had emails from the widow Deborah Curtis and daughter Natalie Curtis which authenticated the object. While this still appears to be true, it’s misleading in that those letters apparently confirm the table’s legitimacy but not for the sake of an auction.
The following statement was issued to NME:
Joy Division original members Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris would like to lend their voice of support to Deborah and Natalie Curtis, who have been caused great distress over media reporting of the sale of the table originally owned by the family, and currently being auctioned on eBay.
“Deborah and Natalie would like to point out that the sale of this table has nothing whatsoever to do with them. The table was sold along with the house in 1980 and Natalie has never signed any authentication document. Furthermore, they consider the sale of a personal family item, and the subsequent media reporting, to be distasteful and upsetting.”
In speaking to the British publication, Harrop reiterated, as was mentioned in his listing, that the Curtises have been offered the table since it was bought along with the property shortly after Ian Curtis’ death. It seems that much of the distress comes from inaccurate reports that this particular piece of memorabilia was used by the artist in the act of taking his own life. Thus far, there’s no reason to believe that’s true.
“I don’t know what to say,” Harrup said. “I can’t un-exist the table. Reading the headlines that have gone around the world, I’m really unhappy with that, and it’s caused me distress because of the things that have been put out. My picture is on the listing and people have been saying, ‘If I see that guy…’ you know.”
And then he illustrated the seriousness of the situation by punning:
“I can’t turn the table on the table story. I’m upset the way its gone but I didn’t put it on for the money, I just did it for good intentions. I want the sale to end now because it’s all got out of hand. At the end of this it might not even sell – with 10 minutes to go there might be a bunch of retracted bids and I may end up with it.”
Always a possibility, but if that happens, how will Harrop ever start his own music career? Yes, he explained that he’s selling off parts of his Joy Division collection in order to buy recording equipment. He also shares that his wife banned the table from “the main part of the house.” Perhaps Harrop’s next.