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Motorhead original artwork for Warpig emblem for sale

The original sketch is the only one in the world.

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Original sketch by Lemmy - Motorhead merchandise design work. (Hansons via SWNS)

By Adam Dutton via SWNS

Rock fans are being given the chance to bag the "ultimate piece of heavy metal memorabilia" at auction – the original artwork of Motorhead’s iconic emblem.

The famous Warpig design of a helmeted beast with tusks, an Iron Cross, chains and a miniature skull was first created in the 1970s.

It was designed by American artist Joe Petagno in conjunction with Motorhead founder and lead singer Lemmy before the pair fell out and the artwork was lost.

The logo was reproduced in 1987 and the British artist who created it is now parting with his original sketch, which is the only one in the world.

The Warpig design is now expected to fetch between £5,000- £6,000 ($6,000 - $7,000) when it goes under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, UK, on December 8.

The sale is being heralded as a 'once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity to own one of the most famous pieces of rock n roll memorabilia.

Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead performs on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, on June 26, 2015. (Adam Gray via SWNS)

The designer, who created the emblem at Lemmy's request, said: "It is the only one in the world! It may sound an outrageous statement but it is fact.

"This version of Warpig has been used on official merchandise since 1987.

"It is a significant symbol, not just of the band but, culturally, of the entire spectrum of heavy rock and heavy metal in general, in much the same way as ‘Hoover’ has become synonymous with vacuum cleaners.

“It is an original and exceptional piece of artwork, not merely a product of design mechanicals.

"Petagno's air-brush painted version was lost or destroyed years before this was created.”

Motorhead merchandise design ideas by Lemmy - fax copy. (Hansons via SWNS)

The designer, who created much of the band’s tour and retail merchandise for more than a decade, is also selling Lemmy’s Motorhead T-shirt, with an estimate of £500-£600 ($600-$700 USD).

He added: “Lemmy literally gave me the shirt off his back as reference for a design he wanted to be worked up for a forthcoming UK Tour.

"The next time I spoke to him I asked what he wanted me to do with the shirt. He replied, ‘Keep it.'"

The sale also includes Lemmy's own hand-drawn sketches plus supporting notes and faxes.

It charts the development from post-it notes and other sketches to final designs for a Motorhead tour and retail merchandising.

The seller, originally from London, UK, said he had fond memories of working with the legendary band.

Describing how it all began, he said: “One morning I was called into one of the company owners’ offices and told that Motorhead had signed to the company the night before.

"Did I know their work? Could I work in their style? And, more importantly, would I go and take a meeting with them?

“The answer was ‘yes, yes and yes’. Lemmy had a reputation for not suffering anyone at the business end of the biz-we-call-show particularly gladly but, apparently, I was our best shot.

"And I felt surprisingly confident he’d accept me. His parting reprimand to my colleagues on signing was, allegedly, ‘Don't ever send me anyone in a f*cking suit!’ So, no problem there.

Lemmy's Motorhead t-shirt. (Hansons Via SWNS)

“Lemmy and Philthy (Motorhead's drummer Philip Taylor) were living in a mews house in Mayfair rented by their management – following a reputedly eye-wateringly expensive sojourn at the Ritz, just up the road.

“The day of the meeting arrived, so I put on my office wear du jour - full rocker leathers, Elvis 1968, or so I fancied, sat astride my 1963 Triumph Thunderbird, and set off for Mayfair.

"I banged the heavy Georgian door knocker to announce my arrival.

"After some dull thumping and muffled cursing, I heard the locks and chain on the door being wrestled into compliance – and then the door swung open.

“Lemmy looked like sh*t. He was the poster boy for near-death influenza. His skin was almost grey and gleamed dully with a thin sheen of sick-sweat.

"He was hunched over and snuffling – not at all the proud, shoulders-back, head-held-high character I had expected to see.

“'What do you want?’ he asked. ‘We have a meeting.' The doorway opened into a large-ish living room draped with First World War imperial German and Japanese banners.

"The curtains were still drawn, and it took a while for my eyes to adjust to the gloom…’ Do you want a drink?’ ‘Yes. Thanks.'

“An achingly flu-ridden Lemmy cracks open a fresh quart of Jack, swigs a few great gulps from the bottle, then hands it to me, fixing me with a beady stare.

"Without missing a beat, or breaking eye contact for even a moment, I take a gulp, then another, and hand the bottle back.

Original logo sketch by frontman Lemmy - Motorhead merchandise design work. (Hansons via SWNS)

“He motions towards an armchair. ‘Do you smoke?’ ‘Ta.' As we sit, Lemmy takes a cigarette from a crumpled pack and puts it in his mouth to light it.

"I can't help but notice the watery mucous glistening on his mustache, dripping onto the cigarette filter as he leans forward. He hands me the cigarette.

“Without missing a beat or breaking eye contact for even a moment, I take a deep draw.

"There are a few long seconds of silence as Lemmy scrutinizes his visitor. I exhale, sending a plume of smoke above his head. ‘You’ll do. Shall we have this meeting, then?’

“It turns out we have a major problem to solve before we’ve even started. Lemmy and artist Joe Petagno, with whom he co-authored the notorious Warpig graphic in the mid-1970s, have fallen out.

"Seriously. And the original artwork they created has gone walkies. ‘Can you make us a new one?’ ‘Yes’.”

Claire Howell, music memorabilia specialist at Hansons, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for rock fans.

"I can’t think of anything more important to own than the original artwork of Motorhead’s emblem.

"The iconic image has adorned countless T-shirts, album covers and official merchandise for what seems like forever.

“Our vendor’s relationship with Lemmy began in 1987 when he became Art Director for Bravado International Group and the items on sale date from 1987 to the late 1990s.

"He has treasured them for decades but feels now is the right time to sell.”

Motorhead was formed in London in 1975 by Lemmy, Larry Wallis (guitar) and Lucas Fox (drums).

The band released 23 studio albums, 10 live recordings, 12 compilation albums and five EPs over 40 years. They have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.

The albums Overkill, Bomber, Ace of Spades and, particularly, the live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith cemented their reputation as a top-tier rock band.

Lemmy, real name Ian Kilmister, died in 2015 from cardiac arrhythmia and congestive heart failure, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

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