Tom Petty's estate takes legal action against auction house for allegedly selling stolen items

Tom Petty
(Image credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Tom Petty's estate is taking legal action against a Boston-based auction house for allegedly selling stolen items once belonging to the late rock star.

Announcing their decision to sue RR Auction house, who claim to achieve "remarkable results selling autographs, memorabilia, and artefacts for record high prices", the estate released a statement on social media, noting how the company are in alleged possession of a number of Petty's clothing and memorabilia, including jackets, vests, T-shirts, signed records, hats, sweaters shoes, duffel bags and more.

Each piece of the 40-piece collection is predicted to bring in around $100 to $5,700, with many items having already received bids. 

On the auction house website, it states that they acquired the collection after Petty’s first wife, Jane Benyo Petty, lost their Encino family home to foreclosure in 2015.

After bank JP Morgan took possession of the house, contractors allegedly disposed of the contents, with a number of the items ending up at the auction house.

In the statement, Petty's estate declare that the items were "outright stolen from a secured archive based on prior knowledge, staff observations and documentation", and request for them to be immediately returned. They also ask that fans and collectors "refrain from participating in this auction until the matter is settled to avoid getting further involved in this legal action."

They continue, “We believe RR Auction, headquartered in Boston, is offering stolen Tom Petty memorabilia with a completely false provenance inaccurate to fact and in complete denial of clear evidence they have been presented. They will not disclose the cosigner who has provided these items or how they were acquired. But they are clearly stolen, there is no other word for it".

“These items have irreplaceable sentimental and educational value for the family and legacy of Tom Petty and we look forward to their safe return.”

RR Auction house has since responded to the claim via their attorney Mark S Zaid, who tells The Guardian in a statement that the company “has been cooperating with the Petty family from the moment they reached out to us just days ago and will happily continue to do so without unnecessary hostile threats of litigation.

“We take theft allegations such as these very seriously. Indeed, in the years I have represented the company, we have never failed to reach an amicable resolution when on the rare occasion items presented by our consignors turned out to have provenance concerns."

View the statement from Tom Petty's estate below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.