LONDON – A collection of love letters written by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger to American singer Marsha Hunt, believed to be the inspiration for the band’s hit single “Brown Sugar,” sold at Sotheby’s on Wednesday for $301,000.

The 10 letters, dating from the summer of 1969, had been expected to fetch about half of the bid amount, according to the auctioneer.

“The passage of time has given these letters a place in our cultural history,” Hunt said after the London sale.

“1969 saw the ebbing of a crucial, revolutionary era, highly influenced by such artists as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, James Brown and Bob Dylan.

“Their inner thoughts should not be the property of only their families, but the public at large, to reveal who these influential artists were — not as commercial images, but their private selves.”

Hunt, with whom Jagger had his first child, Karis, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper last month that she was selling the letters, written in July and August 1969, because she had been unable to pay her bills.

“I’m broke,” Hunt, who lives in France, told the newspaper.

Jagger wrote them to Hunt while filming the Tony Richardson movie “Ned Kelly” in Australia.

They showed a sensitive side of the then-young singer, who wrote about the poetry of Emily Dickinson, meeting author Christopher Isherwood and an unrealized multimedia project.

Jagger’s relationship with Hunt, who is African-American, was kept under wraps until 1972.

Hunt has said she was the inspiration for “Brown Sugar,” which Jagger wrote while in Australia.

The rock star also cites in the letters the disintegration of his relationship with singer Marianne Faithfull, whom he was also dating at the time, and the death of Rolling Stones’ guitarist Brian Jones.

There has been a surge in interest in the rock band this year, as Jagger and his three surviving bandmates celebrate the 50th anniversary with concerts, a book and a greatest hits album.

Talk host to expand audience

NEW YORK – Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham will soon be back on the air after taking a short break.

Courtside Entertainment Group says it will distribute “The Laura Ingraham Show” starting Jan. 2. Meanwhile, she will boost her audience through a deal with Launchpad Digital Media, which will stream the three-hour daily program and make it available for download on podcast.

Talkers magazine says the conservative Ingraham is the most-listened-to woman on radio, with an estimated 5.75 million listeners a week. Her show is now heard on more than 300 radio stations nationally.

She is also a Fox News contributor and principal guest host of “The O’Reilly Factor.”

LA cries foul when Bynes gets all civil

LOS ANGELES – Actress Amanda Bynes has resolved a misdemeanor hit-and-run case after entering into a civil settlement with other drivers.

Court records show Bynes entered a civil compromise to end the case and her attorney informed a Los Angeles court on Thursday. She was charged with leaving the scene of accidents without providing proper information.

Defendants in certain California misdemeanor cases are allowed to enter civil settlements to resolve criminal cases.

A city spokesman said prosecutors objected to the dismissal, noting other instances in which Bynes has been cited for driving without a license and her pending driving under the influence case.

Bynes starred in Nickelodeon’s “All That” and has also made several films, including 2010′s “Easy A.”

– From news service reports