For Sale: 27 Smiths artwork proof sleeves, many unreleased

After several years of holding onto these treasures, I have decided to sell the pride of my Smiths collection - a lot of proof sleeves used in the making of the Smiths' iconic album and single covers by Jo Slee. Most of these 12" and LP sleeves would have had just handful made, or are even unique. You can read more about the lot at the Ebay site:

The Smiths - Lot of 27 Proof Sleeves+Jo Slee Draft Book (Inc. Alternate Artwork) - eBay

Thanks for looking.


Description excerpt:

This auction is for a magnificent lot of 27 proof artwork prints for what would become covers and inner sleeves for several of The Smiths' 12" and LP releases.

These proofs originally came from the collection of Jo Slee - Morrissey's/The Smiths' art director who played a central role in designing the timeless sleeves that would become an integral part in cultivating the band's image and mystique. Slee took Morrissey's sleevework ideas and turned them into the final products we know today, and this collection provides us with a glimpse into that process.

Although some of the proofs in this collection are the same as the final releases, most of them differ and represent alternate variations to the final sleevework. In some cases the differences are subtle, with small colour changes in the text or pictures. In other cases, the results are more dramatic, with completely different colours throughout or, in the case of one release, a totally different intended single. Details of all the proofs are listed below.

Putting a number on how many of these sleeves exist is a tricky proposition. For the majority of the proofs, at most a handful would have been made. I was told between 1 and 5 made for the rarer, unreleased versions as they represented stages in the process toward getting to the final design. For the regular, released sleeve proofs, I would assume slightly more exist.

As a kind of "bonus" item in this lot, I am including an actual proof booklet that Slee worked on for the re-release of the single "William, It Was Really Nothing" (RTT166). Inside the booklet is a layer of tracing paper coloured with design elements in marker, written instructions and Pantone tabs. Underneath is an outline trace of the sleeve's central image of Billie Whitelaw. Needless to say this is a one of a kind!

I acquired this collection several years ago from a seller, famous in Smiths collecting communities, who acquired them himself directly from a former Rough Trade worker who, without revealing too much, remains a close collaborator with Morrissey to this day. Nearly all of the proofs are in near mint or excellent condition, with only a few exhibiting some light creases or blemishes around the edges. These do not detract from the central artwork however.

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Johnny Barleycorn

Well-Known Member
OP, how about an enormous coffee table book for we non-millionaires, before you sell the originals?

Famous when dead

That was a rather quick auction. Don't know how long it was on Ebay before the link appeared here, but I saw the above and the auction was over!
£1900 doesn't seem a lot for this collection.
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Well, that was fast. Valuation on these types of items is tricky as I was never sure how much of a market there was for them. My biggest fear was shooting too high and letting it languish on ebay for weeks while interest waned.

The auction was for half of my collection - the 12" and LP sleeves. I will also be selling the other half - 7" sleeves - which includes some arguably even more interesting items. Not sure how much to sell this lot for yet.

For anyone who is interested in a preview, here is a link. No descriptions yet, but I tried to give an idea through the photo titles.

Thanks for looking.
As a lot. But there's a chance these might sell before they go to auction. In discussion now so we'll see...

I'll update this thread either way.


Forever Ill
Shame I read it now, 2500 euro and they would be mine maybe

nice stuff, sad the person who had this stuff, was delighted with BP 1900 and stopped

It's good to see the good old stuff is still around, thanks for making crazy

'and they say he's mentall;.. would love hace a spare set of Smiths single cd's

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