by Brooke Kennedy
Every corner of rock n’ roll was represented in RR Auction’s Marvels of Modern Music auction. From the British rock tunes of the Beatles to the outlandish style and flair of Prince, buyers were showered with a plethora of amazing music items. Our passionate music collectors had the chance to relive the days of hardcore punk and the gentle sounds of Billy Joel’s piano, so find out which lots became our headliners.
Beginning his career at 18 years old, Prince Nelson Rogers made a name for himself with his unique style and sound. Our highest selling lot of this auction is a testament to our sophisticated buyers who always return to RR to embellish their Prince collections. Though its original estimate was around $35,000, our consignor was extremely excited to see Prince’s 1976 demo tape reach a price nearly double that – realizing $67,259.
“The special artifact was discovered by Jeff Gold, a former Warner Bros. Records executive vice president and general manager who was friends with music industry executive Russ Thyret,” according to CNN, “Thyret, who later served as the record company’s CEO and chairman, signed Prince to Warner Bros. on June 25, 1977, shortly after his 19th birthday.”
At the time of its recording, Prince played every role in the creation of his demo, writing, arranging, singing, and even playing all of the instruments himself. The tape featured three unreleased versions of Prince’s originals, “Just As Long as We’re Together,” “My Love is Forever,” – which Prince re-recorded for his debut album – and the never-released “Jelly Jam.” When aspiring music manager Owen Husney heard Prince’s demos, he took Prince to meet with Warner Bros. vice president Thyret, and the rest is history.
“I wanted to thank you all for your great effort on behalf of my Prince tape,” wrote consignor Jeff Gold in an email sent to RR Auction’s staff. “I was thrilled with the result, and very happy with the publicity.”
The Rolling Stones
Rock band the Rolling Stones became a landmark group of hard rock, and have remained active for over six decades. This auction’s second highest priced realized lot allowed bidders to relive the early days of the Rolling Stones, and captures the charisma of leading man Mick Jagger. Selling for $64,346, this archive of Rolling Stones candids exceeded its projected estimate, and our client was ecstatic with RR Auction’s sale.
This collection of over 80 photographs of the band were taken by amateur photographer and dedicated Rolling Stones fan Marilyn Hill. Topping the number of autographs is Mick Jagger at 40 out of 48 autographs. In this collection you could also find individual signatures from members Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger, with Jagger and Richards co-signing one of the photos.
Hill also assisted the band’s fan club during this time, and she recalled her involvement with the band in a 2010 blog post, ‘The Rolling Stones at corner of Rossmore Road.’
“189 Gloucester Place was where the band’s manager Andrew Loog-Oldham lived and as I was reminded by The Stones magazine, the fan-club was moved to another flat in the same building in 1966,” said Hill, “My friends and I helped out during holidays when the girls in the office were busy.”
Coming in third for highest sale price is Billy Joel’s elegant 1908 stage-used piano. Joel used this piano religiously, touring and recording with it between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s. This piano is said to have been used to record his iconic 1976 hit, “New York State of Mind.” This piano can also be seen in a recorded BBC concert on March 14, 1978 where Joel performed “Only The Good Die Young” and “Just The Way You Are.”
Bechstein pianos are the top choice for rock stars due to their complimentary sound and their rich history. The company was originally established in 1853, and their pianos have been used by other rock n’ roll greats including the Beatles, Queen, and Bob Dylan. This lot ended up selling for a staggering $50,000 – a great sale for its consignor.
“Thanks again for guiding me through this entire process and making it as easy as possible,” said the consignor of the Mosrite. “I’ll definitely return to RR if/when I have more to offer.”
This Marvels of Modern Music auction also marked a new first for RR Auction. Regular RR consignor Andrew D Gore began pursuing his new passion as a stained glass artist, mixing it with his love for punk rock. His newest project, titled “The Church of Punk Rock,” brings together the elegance of stained glass art and the hard core imagery of his favorite bands. In his standout piece, Gore pays homage to the motifs of Nirvana in his hanging art piece titled ‘Kurt.’
“I really appreciate all your help and educating me. Everybody took extremely good care of me, and always had my best interests first and foremost,” said Gore. “Again, thanks for guiding me along on this journey. I understand the workings of this auction world a lot better thanks to you.”
This piece also made an appearance at RR’s New York City Prince and Ramones exhibition.
We’re halfway through 2023, but there are still plenty of auctions coming up! We’re seeking consignments for upcoming auctions including Fine Autographs and Artifacts, Space Exploration and Aviation, and our 60th Anniversary JFK auction. If you have any items you’d like to sell you can hit our consign button down below or dial us at 800-937-3880 to learn more about selling with RR Auction!
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