Jazz Messengers signed photo tops $20,000 at RR Auction

Autographed photo of The Jazz Messengers. Price realized: $20,016. RR Auction image

BOSTON – A vintage signed photograph of  The Jazz Messengers sold for $20,016 at an RR Auction on Jan. 10.

The glossy photo (above) of the band taken during a performance was signed by members Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Walter Davis Jr. and Jymie Merritt.

The influential jazz combo existed for over 35 years beginning in the early 1950s and ending when longtime leader and founding drummer Art Blakey died in 1990.

The image was among a collection of photographs originating from the jazz fan club known as The Hot Club of Belgium. The club was founded in 1939 by Willy De Cort, Albert Bettonville, Carlos de Radzitzky and others, which operated until the mid-1960s.

American jazz singer Sarah Vaughan signed publicity photo. Price realized: $3,956. RR Auction image

The “Willy” and “Johnny” that many of these photos are inscribed to may very well be the founder, Willy De Cort, and Johnny Dover, a Belgian clarinetist and saxophonist, who once won the club’s award for the best clarinet player.

The lineup featured some of the greatest names of the jazz age—from Louis Armstrong to Lester Young.

This Johnny Hodges publicity photo sold for $7,083. RR Auction image

Highlights from the sale include:

Johnny Hodges vintage glossy publicity photo of Hodges displaying his stunning Buescher Aristocrat saxophone. Price realized: $7,083.

Sonny Stitt vintage glossy publicity photo of Stitt posing with his saxophone. Price realized: $6,373.

Big Bill Broonzy rare vintage glossy of the American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. Price realized: $4,963.

Roy Eldridge signed vintage glossy of Eldridge coolly playing his trumpet. Price realized: $4,788.

Coleman Hawkins vintage signed glossy publicity photo. Price realized: $4,788.

Sarah Vaughan vintage signed glossy of the “Sassy” American jazz singer. Price realized: $3,956.