Ram Rods Grateful Dead Collection Brings More than $1.1-Million Today in San Francisco

Deadheads were Live and Bidding at Bonhams & Butterfields

Bonhams & Butterfields’ Tuesday, May 8, 2007 auction of Grateful Dead memorabilia from the Ram Rod Shurtliff Collection fetched more than $1.1-million today — garnered from competitive bidding on telephones and in the crowded San Francisco auction room. Top lots of the day included guitars played on stages and in-studio by Jerry Garcia, original art used on album covers and equipment and collectibles associated with the Grammy Award®-winning band.

Lawrence ‘Ram Rod’ Shurtliff, long-time Road Manager and President of the Grateful Dead’s corporation, passed away in 2006. The property on offer was consigned for sale by his son Rudson Shurtliff.

Spotlighted in the sale were Jerry Garcia-played instruments including an electric guitar custom-made by noted San Francisco guitar-maker Doug Irwin in 1971, known as “The Eagle.” It sold for $186,000. A circa 1975 Garcia electric guitar made by Travis Bean has been seen in numerous photos, played on stages as well as in studio recording sessions – the cream-colored guitar sold for $312,000 (est. $250/300,000). It was offered with its custom black leather case and several collector treasures: Garcia’s Vinci guitar strings, a tuning fork, a string winder and an unopened pack of Garcia’s cigarettes (Camel non-filters). A buyer paid $102,000 for a Jerry Garcia acoustic guitar and $39,000 was paid for a Garcia Gibson electric.

Jerry Garcia’s circa 1973 stage-worn tooled leather guitar strap by Nudie’s, “Western tailors to the stars,” sold for $20,400, quadrupling its estimate, while a flight case filled with Garcia’s picks, never-opened guitar strings and other accessories sold for $16,800.