Joey Ramone Was Worth $6 Million, but His Punk Memorabilia Is Priceless
Punk icon Joey Ramone, leader of the groundbreaking band, The Ramones amassed millions over his career but also left behind a trail of treasures and priceless gems currently in the possession of his brother Mickey Leigh.
Ramone, whose real name was Jeffrey Ross Hyman, died of lymphoma in April 2001 at age 49. The Ramones became a beacon for the punk movement inspiring other seminal bands. Paul Cook, the drummer from the Sex Pistols recalled how The Ramones trailblazed the punk genre.
“Ramones was the first so-called punk album,” he told The Guardian. “It made us think: ‘We’d better crack on here.’ But the Ramones and the Pistols were different animals, with a different flavour. They were more basic, three-chord rock’n’roll. Great songs, really catchy, all two and a half minutes long.”
Joey Ramone lives on through personal artifacts
Ramone had a reported net worth of $6 million at the time of his death. But he also left behind priceless gems like the guitar he used to composed many Ramones songs. Also, Ramone’s signature leather jacket, which became a symbol of the band almost never left his side.
“Joey wore his leather jacket at home,” Ramones former manager Danny Fields told The New York Post. “I knew a guy who delivered hamburgers to Joey’s apartment, and he told me that Joey would come to the door wearing pajama bottoms and a leather jacket. He wore it in the hospital. For him, I think, the jacket was like a security blankie.”
Leigh also has his brother’s well-known round glasses, which were a nod to John Lennon. “At 16 or 17, influenced by John Lennon and Roger McGuinn, he begged my mom to take him to the eye doctor so he could get prescription sunglasses,” Leigh recalled. “She went along with it. She didn’t know he would wear them all the time. But he did.”
Leigh has items like his brother’s passport and high school report card. “I’m not sure that Joey loved getting on airplanes, but he loved playing out of the country,” he said. “Early on, at clubs in Connecticut and New Jersey, there would be 12 people and bikers would yell, ‘Play ‘Free Bird!’ Years later, in Argentina, they were treated like The Beatles.”
Joey Ramone’s guitar was auctioned for $71,000
Leigh does not have every guitar Ramone used. In 2015, one of his nine Mosrite guitars was sold at auction for $71,875. The instrument was also autographed, “Best always, Johnny Ramone, 5/22/90.”
“One of just nine Mosrite guitars owned by Johnny Ramone known to exist – it is not surprising that it was able to achieve such an impressive figure,” RR Auction Executive VP Bobby Livingston said in a statement, Rolling Stone reported.
Other auction items sold from Ramone’s estate included another one of his leather jackets ($18,184.80), a pair of his glasses ($12,426.40) and apparently even another old passport ($12,454.80).
But Leigh’s memories are priceless. “So I showed him how to play Alice Cooper’s ‘I’m Eighteen’ on this guitar,” he told The Post. “But he was left-handed and I’m righty. So I told him to just play the lower three strings.”