JFK diary, Johnny Ramone’s guitar headline at RR Auction, Sept. 25
BOSTON – RR Auction is proud to present Remarkable Rarities — a live auction hosted in Boston on September 25. The premier annual auction event features only the best of the best — a small, curated selection of the most elite items we will offer for sale all year. Also on September 25, during the Remarkable Rarities event, RR Auction’s sale of the Ramones and Punk Collection of Daniel Rey will come to a close. View the fully illustrated catalogs for both sales on LiveAuctioneers.
Leading the highlights in the Remarkable Rarities lineup is JFK’s diary from the summer of 1945. Towards the close of World War II, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy arranged for his 28-year-old son, Jack, to work for Hearst newspapers. This allowed the young veteran to attend the opening session of the United Nations in San Francisco in May and then travel abroad to cover post-war Europe during the summer of 1945.
JFK followed Prime Minister Churchill throughout England during his reelection campaign. He traveled to Ireland, France, then to the Potsdam Conference in Germany with Navy Secretary James Forrestal. He even viewed the charred remains of Hitler’s bombed out bunker in Berlin and observed the Fuhrer’s famed Berchtesgaden Eagle’s Nest.
Kennedy recorded his historic trip in a 61-page diary, documenting his personal observations of what he saw firsthand and perceptions of what would happen in the post-war world. This incredible manuscript reveals his insightful views and predictions of the world around him at an early age — a man who would, 16 years later, become America’s 35th President. Comprised of 61 loose-leaf pages, 12 handwritten and 49 typed, the diary is housed in a quality Trussell cowhide leather binder. It is estimated at $750,000-$1 million.
Another standout Remarkable Rarities lot is Anne Revere’s award for Best Supporting Actress in National Velvet. She won the iconic statuette for her role as Mrs. Araminty Brown in the 1944 MGM film National Velvet, starring alongside the young Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, and Donald Crisp.
Anne Revere was nominated three times in the Best Supporting Actress category for strong, matriarchal roles — as Jennifer Jones’ mother in The Song of Bernadette, Elizabeth Taylor’s in National Velvet, and Gregory Peck’s in Gentleman’s Agreement. This trophy, bestowed for her part in the classic horse racing film, represents her only win. A direct descendant of the patriot Paul Revere, she was steadfast in her ideals and stood in vocal opposition to the House Un-American Activities Committee — a stance that effectively ended her career in movies. After 1951, her place on the Hollywood blacklist denied any chance at another prize.
These award trophies are arguably the most coveted of all Hollywood collectibles, and they are very rarely available to the public at large. It carries an estimate of $150,000-$200,000.
Also of note is a collection of nine of Albert Einstein’s tobacco pipes, along with a wooden pipe stand. While most of the pipes are handsome but simple in form, two are quite decorative — one has a carved owl design (perhaps given to Einstein as a gift symbolizing his wisdom), and another white pipe features an intriguing design of a foot kicking a ball. The wooden holder has flexible slots to support the stems of eight pipes, and resembles the form of a menorah — a unique and interesting homage to Einstein’s heritage. The pipes and stand are estimated at $50,000-$60,000.
Rounding out the Remarkable Rarities top lots is Bonnie Parker’s handwritten poetry book. Entitled Poetry from Life’s Other Side, it includes 32 pages inside a black leatherette bank book and features a mix of Parker’s original creative compositions and renditions of popular folk ballads. Parker wrote these poems in 1932 while she was held in Kaufman County Jail, Texas, after being arrested for the botched armed robbery of a hardware store with Clyde Barrow, Ralph Fults, and Raymond Hamilton; while Barrow and Hamilton managed to escape on foot, Parker and Fults were apprehended. This was Parker’s first and only arrest, and she stewed in jail for about two months before being released on June 17, after the jury failed to indict her. The book is estimated at $50,000-$60,000.
Additional featured lots include important letters by Paul Gauguin, Mohandas Gandhi, Benjamin Franklin, Nicola Tesla, and other iconic figures.
A second RR Auction, featuring Johnny Ramone’s ‘Number One’ Mosrite guitar, will conclude on September 25, as the second session of the Remarkable Rarities auction in Boston. The Johnny Ramone guitar is a lead lot in the Ramones and Punk Collection of Daniel Rey sale, which began on August 24.
The 1965 Mosrite Ventures II electric guitar was personally owned and used by Johnny Ramone (aka John Cummings) for nearly two decades as the guitarist for punk rock legends the Ramones. The guitar’s back is signed, “Johnny Ramone, My Main Guitar, 1977-1996.” It was played at every Ramones performance until his retirement: from November 1977 through August 1996, for approximately 1,985 shows.
The instrument was used on all 15 Ramones albums and can be heard on any live Ramones bootleg from late 1977-1999. It was later displayed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
According to guitar historian Chris Lamy, Cummings originally purchased the guitar in 1977 to replace his original blue Ventures II slab body, which was stolen from the Sire Records van with the rest of the band’s gear after a show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. Ironically, this guitar had been offered to Cummings earlier in 1977, but he passed on it, feeling it was too expensive at $500, which was a little less than 10 times what he paid for his original Ventures II in 1974. The historic instrument now carries an estimate of $500,000-$600,000.
Also included in the auction is Johnny Ramone’s Electro-Harmonix Mike Matthews Freedom Amp. Cummings used this amp live at CBGBs and various early Ramones shows, including Arturo Vega’s loft throughout 1974 and 1975.
This specially-curated auction of rock and roll rarities originates from the collection of Daniel Rey, a musician turned producer from the New Jersey-New York underground who, for more than three decades, was a trusted and invaluable member of the Ramones’ inner sanctum. Among the additional highlights of the Rey sale are posters, invitations, and handwritten lyrics.
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