It’s a fix that every major auction house in the world would love to have: In an auction with so much good material, all of which is deeply varied across film, television and music, what exactly do you promote as the star of the auction? That’s the delicious dilemma that Heritage Auction Galleries finds itself in as it prepares for its Feb. 21-22, 2009, Music and Entertainment Signature Auction.
“There are so many interesting, important and valuable pieces in this auction that I don’t know which one to focus on first,” said Doug Norwine, director of Music and Entertainment Auctions at Heritage. “You name it and it’s in the auction: classic rock and roll? Check. Rarest of the rare Hollywood memorabilia? Check. Estates from the stars of stage and screen? It’s all there.”
New estate offerings from icons of the entertainment world include the Mark Hellinger archive of film noir – including Mark Hellinger’s personal shooting script from The Naked City (with hand-sketched shot notations) – selections from the Ernie Kovacs/Edie Adams estate, an exceptional offering of groupings from the family of Sammy Davis Jr., and an offering from friends and associates of Frank Sinatra.
Sure to wow bidders and film fans are two never-before-seen-at-auction early autographs from Charlie Chaplin. One of the signatures is dated 1913, a full year before Chaplin made his first movie, meaning this signature is most likely the earliest Chaplin autograph ever seen.
Once he had become famous, Chaplin would frequently draw a caricature of The Little Tramp next to his name. In this rare lot, the caricature is simply of himself, no character attached. It’s sure to generate great interest among Chaplin fans, and Golden Age Hollywood collectors.
Heritage will be offering part two of the Boris Karloff estate in the auction, which includes letters of condolence from Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones, Peter Bogdanovich and Christopher Lee written to Karloff’s family after his death.
From the Billy Wilder archive, Heritage will offer several rare Marilyn Monroe photos and the complete handwritten development script for Wilder’s 1953 masterpiece Stalag 17.
The Ernie Kovacs/Edie Adams estate bears special mention. Kovacs was an early comedic television pioneer whose freewheeling comic style made him a favorite of his day and a lasting influence long after his death in 1962. Highlights include Kovacs’ famous Percy Dovetonsils glasses, three Nairobi Trio masks, plus awards, letters, documents, and props from his television show.
The music side of the auction has selections that will suit every taste in memorabilia. There are vintage psychedelic rock posters, a very hot commodity in today’s market; rare records; autographed guitars, including a few owned and used by the legendary Chet Atkins; and a Paul McCartney autographed Hofner bass guitar.
Among the music lots in the auction is a special treasure particularly poignant just after the 50th anniversary of “the day the music died,” a signed autograph album with the signatures of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, signed two days before their deaths in 1959. There will be an Elvis microphone that was given to his backup singer, J.D. Sumner.
There are rare contact sheets of candid photos of the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five rehearsing for appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Heritage will also feature Benny Goodman’s piano; Crosby, Stills, and Nash record awards and other rare memorabilia from the band; and a grouping of lots from the personal collection of legendary Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive front man Randy Bachman.
To view the catalog for this auction, and detailed photos and descriptions, visit www.ha.com/7004.
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