Generations of cool gathered by Swann for its Subculture Sale, Feb. 8

1967 album ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico,’ signed by band members Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, John Cale, and Maureen ‘Mo’ Tucker, and also inscribed to ‘Sal’ by Reed and Tucker, estimated at $5,000-$7,000 at Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK – Swann Auction Galleries is presenting The Subculture Sale, a timed-plus auction that surveys the fringe, the avant-garde, and the indie, and probably includes something that speaks to your youth or those of people you love. Launched on January 23, lots will begin to close around noon Eastern time on Thursday, February 8. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

No fewer than 12 lots reference Andy Warhol (1928-1987) in some way, and several have to do with his collaboration with the legendary band The Velvet Underground. A key offering is a group of 12 albums of the 1967 release The Velvet Underground & Nico. Warhol designed the cover, which became famous for its image of a banana covered by a removable sticker of a peel that invited the record owner to ‘Peel Slowly And See’. The yellow and black stickers on the dozen albums are in various states of removal and represent different pressings and cover iterations of the record. They are together estimated at $7,000-$10,000.

Another breathtaking prize in the sale lineup is a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico signed by band members Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, John Cale, and Maureen ‘Mo’ Tucker. It is also inscribed to ‘Sal’ by Reed and Tucker, and it carries an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

Attracting the highest estimate in the sale, at $10,000-$15,000, is a 1980 Xeroxed collage by Keith Haring (1958-1990). Dubbed Ronald Reagan Accused of TV Star Sex Death after headline clippings the artist assembled from the New York Post, he photocopied the work and posted it across New York City. Understandably, few of these ephemeral and formative Haring pieces survive. The provenance of this one includes the collection of Robert Beers, a film archivist and a member of New York’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company. The Haring shares its $10,000-$15,000 estimate with Untitled (Burning House with Camouflage Plane), a 1982 piece by David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992).

Also showcased is a circa-2002 trio of foam-over-plywood prop gravestones for Nas, Tupac Shakur, and the Notorious B.I.G., created for a music video for Nas’s cover of Tupac Shakur’s Thugz Mansion. The cover song appears on the 2002 Nas album God’s Son, but the video was never made. The props are collectively estimated at $3,000-$4,000.

John Coltrane fans will thrill to the inclusion of a circa-1967 promotional poster for the artist, released by Impulse Records, which bought out his contract in 1961. The lot notes describe it as ‘One of the few, if only, posters issued by Impulse featuring Coltrane during the 1960s. Rare.’ It is estimated at $3,500-$5,000.

Swann President Nicholas D. Lowry said of the Subculture Sale, “Swann is excited to be able to bring this eclectic, unexpected, and seldom-encountered selection of material to market. In many ways, we are offering a living history in this auction. Subcultural relics and societal items from within or not so much longer ago than our own lifetimes — a time frame underserved by the auction community. Our thanks to Boo Hooray Gallery, who helped co-curate this collection of ephemeral fragments and inspirational stepping stones.”