NEW YORK – What do B.B. King, Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Mickey Mantle, Jimi Hendrix and Franklin D. Roosevelt have in common? Treasured objects from these and other legendary figures and events will be auctioned through Guernsey’s on Wednesday, September 21. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The sale will feature more than 100 lots, many with no reserve. Highlights include B.B. King’s first-ever acoustic guitar, given to him when he was a child. This historically-important musical instrument carries an estimate of $600,000-$800,000.
The guitar leads a stellar group of B.B. King-related material that includes handwritten music by the artist as well as several dazzling performance jackets, including the purple brocade garment he wore at his 2015 Christmas Eve performance for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. Its estimate is $4,000-$6,000.
Other music-related lots include:
An impressively large pair of speakers that belonged to Jimi Hendrix, which were originally installed in the musician’s famed Electric Lady West 8th St. studio in New York City, estimated at $30,000-$400,000.
A Steinway M grand piano, known as the Pannonica Piano and estimated at $75,000-$125,000. Its first owner was Pannonica de Koenigswarter, a member of European nobility who came to America and immersed herself in the world of jazz to the point of living with Thelonious Monk and earning the moniker of “Jazz Baroness.” Monk and other legendary musicians played and gathered around this piano.
The Apollo Theater’s unique 460-page ledger documenting the performers that appeared on the stage from the 1930s through the 1970s, estimated at $70,000-$90,000. The illustrious names include James Brown, Duke Ellington, Martha and the Vandellas, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix.
Several lots of unpublished photographic prints from what proved to be John Lennon’s last recording session. Taken by noted photographer David Spindel at John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s request just weeks before the musician’s tragic death, the prevailing lot estimates are in the $3,000-$4,000 range.
Entertainment-related lots are led by a group of photographs of 19-year-old, as-yet-undiscovered star Marilyn Monroe, shot by army lensman David Conover, who was assigned by Captain Ronald Reagan to find “Rosie the Riveter-type” pretty girls to help the war effort. The photographs are estimated at $10,000-$15,000.
Sports memorabilia offerings include Mickey Mantle’s 1955 American League Championship ring, estimated at $500,000-$600,000, as well as an assortment of photographer Neil Leifer’s images of legends Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Tom Seaver and Joe Namath, captured during crowning moments in their respective careers, along with the official press passes that gave him access to these respective sports events.
In support of New York City’s 9/11 Tribute Museum, the auction will feature the American flags that flew over the 10th anniversary ceremonies at the World Trade Center site; tools used in the recovery effort; and a detailed architectural model of the World Trade Center. All proceeds from the sale of these objects will benefit the museum.
Notable items from the World War II era include Franklin D. Roosevelt’s diamond, ruby and sapphire-decorated American flag lapel pin, estimated at $10,000-$15,000; and the engine telegraph device from the U.S.S. St Louis, the only major warship to escape the Pearl Harbor attacks. An engine order telegraph is a communications device used on a ship to transfer orders of change in speed or direction from the bridge to the control room. This example is estimated at $50,000-$80,000.
Yet another historic piece in the auction is a sword that was affixed to the catafalque, or stand, that supported John F. Kennedy’s casket in the White House during the funeral ceremonies for the assassinated president. It has an estimate of $70,000-$90,000.
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