Ed Sheeran's Rare Schoolboy Demo Tape Sells for Close to $80,000 at Auction
Ed Sheeran has recorded another hit album — only this time it was put together in his teenage bedroom!
A rare copy of the "Shape of You" singer's first-ever demo — called Spinning Man — auctioned for an eye-popping $80,000 in Lancashire, England on Wednesday.
Recorded in 2005 when the 29-year-old was a student at Thomas Mills School in Framlingham, Suffolk, it features nine previously unreleased tracks and is just one of a handful of Sheeran's schoolyard CDs to remain in existence.
"It was the very first demo tape that he did, and he sold them at school for £5 ($6) each," Karen Fairweather from Omega Auctions tells PEOPLE about the rare CD, adding that the auction house was "completely blown away" with the price it eventually reached.
"When he became famous, I think he tried to get them all back," she continues. "According to Ed there were around 20 of them and he's quoted as saying that he's now got 19. But I think there's a couple more still out there somewhere. Five tracks were released a few years later, so of the 14 tracks, there's nine that have never been heard. That's why it's such an interesting piece."
According to Fairweather, Sheeran's teenage recording showcases the full range of the four-time Grammy winner's talent, which he partly honed by busking on the streets of Galway in Ireland.
That, however, is not quite how Sheeran — who recently reflected on his "addictive personality" and binge eating — views the demo recording.
"Ed didn't want it to come out because he's probably embarrassed by it,” says Fairweather. "But it's actually a really good effort for a 12-13-year-old schoolboy.
"Considering his age, it's really very good. It's very different from his music now though — it's very rocky and heavier."
The inside cover of the demo — which states that Sheeran provided all the lyrics, music and production on the songs — also provides a glimpse into his early songwriting influences, with the then-Norfolk teenager crediting "Damien Rice, Eric Clapton and Jimmy H" as his "inspiration".
“Songwriting and playing the guitar are like having a direct line to my thoughts and feelings," adds the "Perfect" singer in a highly personal note. "Everyone has strong feelings whatever their age. We can all feel love, joy, longing, pain and hate. I hope young people can get into my stuff and find something which they can identify with."
"This is the first collection of tracks I've done," he continues. "I'm really looking forward to playing them live in concert."
Fairweather is determined to keep the identity of the demo new owner — who bid by telephone — a closely guarded secret. One person who can definitely be ruled out, however, is the new daughter that Sheeran and his wife Cherry Seaborn welcomed in late August.
"Ello! A quick message from me as I have some personal news that I wanted to share with you …," the singer posted on Instagram on Sept.01 alongside an adorable photo of a pair of baby socks on top of a blue and green blanket.
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"Last week, with the help of an amazing delivery team, Cherry gave birth to our beautiful and healthy daughter — Lyra Antarctican.
"We are completely in love with her. Both mum and baby are doing amazing and we are on cloud nine over here," the new dad continued. "We hope that you can respect our privacy at this time. Lots of love and I'll see you when it's time to come back, Ed x."
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