DALLAS – When the early October Heritage Auctions Signature sale of music and entertainment memorabilia finally opens to floor bidding on Oct. 4, it will mark the end of an important journey for Heritage Auctions; with so much quality featured material, the gallery has gone a long way toward establishing itself as the best music and entertainment auctioneer in the nation, joining its status as the best in coins, comics, sports and movie posters.
Much of the focus of this deep sale has been on The Glenn Ford Collection, a tartan couch and a now-infamous tryst with Marilyn Monroe, the Boris Karloff Estate, Kurt Cobain’s watch and Buddy Holly’s last autograph. While all those things are tremendously rare and valuable, the depth of the rest of the sale is undeniable, with some of the rarest vinyl ever pressed, cream of the crop Elvis and Beatles memorabilia, a selection of the estate of J.D. Sumner, the Godfather of Gospel, the Billy Wilder Archive, a fabled Hollywood costume collection and a sampling of the greatest concert posters of the psychedelic era.
If that doesn’t whet the appetite of most any collector, from any background, then perhaps a taste of what’s to come will entice the reticent:
Elvis Presley’s Two-Piece Custom Chamois Leather Suit. This supple white chamois leather jacket and pants set was one that Elvis had custom-made for himself, circa 1974. After admiring a similar one worn by singer Johnny Mathis, Elvis commissioned North Beach Leather to tailor a set of four for him, each slightly different from the others. The handmade suit has a large collar, thick leather stitching along the seams, a floral motif trimming, and a large illustration of a nymph-like figure entwined in vines hand-painted on the back of the jacket. Elvis wore the suit during the summer of 1974 while playing his record-breaking series of consecutive gigs at the Las Vegas Hilton, as seen in the accompanying photographs. After Elvis’ death, the suit fell into the possession of Elvis’ second cousin, Jerry Presley.
Perhaps the best provenance for the suit are the bloodstains in seat of the pants from Elvis’ receiving B-12 vitamin shots before shows; due to the lack of inner lining in the trousers, the leather was directly stained. The stains have been tested by Jerry Presley and have been confirmed to be DNA and not ink, paint, or other material.
The suit is complete and in overall Very Fine to Excellent condition, devoid of holes and tears, and shows only some minor spots of soiling. The overall wear is minimal, but distinctively bright white patches under the arms contrast with the overall cream color of the suit, suggesting some discoloration with age. A fantastic, one-of-a-kind item. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Elvis’ second cousin, Jerry Presley. Estimate: $125,000 – up.
Beatles Yesterday and Today 1st State Butcher Cover Stereo LP (Capitol 2553, 1966). Unbelievably pristine copy of what’s arguably the most famous single item of Beatles memorabilia. This original cover for the Yesterday and Today album caused such a stir before hitting retail markets that virtually all copies were pulled before the public could get buy one at retail outlets. The album was released in the US in 1966, in-between Rubber Soul and Revolver. There was even a name for the photo – "Somnambulant Adventure," the little-used adjective referring to sleep-walking, which, of course, is completely incongruous to the image, unless you were a Beatle!
So, what big brain initially decided to issue the album with this cover in the first place? In fact, the Beatles didn’t even know the photo was being used as an album cover, and it wasn’t anywhere other than the US. An excellent site for details about the rise and fall of the Butcher Cover can be found online at "All about the Beatles Butcher cover." The cover in "1st State" (not censored by a paste-over, which is how many copies were dealt with) is rare enough, especially in the Stereo version, but it’s practically unheard of to find a specimen like this – 1966 fresh! Beatles memorabilia continues to be in great demand, driven by the respect and recognition of every generation since the ’60s. $15,000 – up.
Beach Boys "When I Grow Up" Rare Red Vinyl 45 w/ Picture Sleeve (Capitol 5245, 1964). We’re having a hard time finding anyone who’s even heard of a red vinyl version of this single, so it’s safe to say it’s pretty darn rare. It may, in fact, be unique. At any rate, you know you want it! Estimate: $3,000 – up.
Joan of Arc Academy Award for Best Costume Design, 1948, The First Oscar Ever Awarded for Costumes. In 1948, 34-year-old costume designer Dorothy Jeakins found herself collaborating with director Victor Fleming and costuming actors Ingrid Bergman and José Ferrer. The film, Joan of Arc, was Jeakins’ first Hollywood project, and her inventive, character-driven designs caught the eye of the Academy, as well as costume design legend and competitor, Edith Head. That year, the two were nominated for the first Oscar for Best Costume Design ever to be awarded. This is a rare opportunity to own an award that made history, truly the first of its kind. Made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, the statuette stands 13.5", weighs 8.5 lbs., and depicts an Art Deco-style male figure holding a sword standing upon a reel of film, a design recognized worldwide. Accompanied by an image of Dorothy Jeakins holding the award alongside the award’s presenter, Elizabeth Taylor. Estimate: $40,000 – up.
Frank Sinatra Original 1990 Oil Painting. While he was influenced by several abstract artists, Sinatra’s painting – like his singing – was not imitative, but interpretive. This abstract painting combines Sinatra’s fascination with geometric shapes and his interest in the less severe forms found in nature. This rare 51" x 26.5" painting, framed in 1.75" gold-colored aluminum, also includes a 1" white matte. It is signed "Sinatra 90" at lower right, and signed and dated "Frank Sinatra/Rancho Mirage 1990" on the reverse. Sinatra created this work as a personal gift for his longtime aide and closest friend, Jilly Rizzo, whom he considered "the brother I never had." From the Jilly Rizzo Estate Archive. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from William Rizzo. Estimate: $20,000 – up.
Theda Bara Cleopatra Long Pearl Bra and Jewel Tassel, and Salome Gold Pantaloons with Pearls. 1918’s Salome, in some film historian’s judgment, surpassed Cleopatra. Indeed, Theda Bara threw herself passionately into the role of the infamous biblical temptress, causing a sensation. This lot presents pieces from both Cleopatra and Salome – the Queen of the Nile’s plunging bejeweled bra, and Herod’s stepdaughter’s gold pantaloons with pearls. Very Good condition. These costumes capture all the gaudy splendor of early Hollywood movie-making, and have the distinction of having been actually worn by one of the great legends of the screen in all her vampy splendor in two of her most famous roles. Theda personally presented these costumes to the consignor shortly before her 1955 death. From the Joan Craig Costume Archive of Theda Bara. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Joan Craig. Estimate: $15,000 – up.
Bruce Springsteen Unpublished Handwritten Lyrics. Lyrics to an unpublished, unrecorded song handwritten on a sheet of composition notebook paper in blue ballpoint by Springsteen. The lyrics are loose and note-like in structure, suggesting a very early draft for a song that was never completed. The page is in Very Fine condition with some wear along the edges and mild overall toning. Estimate: $1,500 – up.
The Who – John Entwistle Elton John Preliminary Sketch Group (undated). Set of six preliminary fine-line marker sketches on tracing and white paper of Rock icon Elton John. Elton is pictured as a flying superhero in most. Accompanied by Letter of Authenticity from the John Entwistle Estate. Estimate: $1,200 – up.
Graham Nash’s Woodstock T-Shirt. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was one of the last acts to play during the legendary music festival, taking the stage around 3 a.m. for nine acoustic and seven electric songs. This is Graham Nash’s t-shirt from that historical concert, a personal souvenir from a career highlight. In Very Fine condition with mild wear and soiling. Estimate: $750 – up.
Drifters Unique Splash Vinyl 45 (Atlantic 2201, 1963). One of a kind. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group’s 1963 hit "I’ll Take You Home" in splashy color! Condition: NM 8. Estimate: $700 – up.
Beach Boys Los Angeles Surf Fair Concert/Event Poster (1962). From the collection of original Beach Boy David Marks (who has since rejoined Mike Love in the current version of the band) comes this rarely-seen poster, celebrating the World’s Fair of Surfing at a special Surf Fair event, held at the Santa Monica Civic Center. The poster measures approximately 13" x 19.75", and is in VG- condition with fold lines. Estimate: $4,000 – up.
For more information on the Heritage October 2008 Signature Music & Entertainment Memorabilia Auction, go online to www.ha.com and click on Entertainment memorabilia.