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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Jerry Garcia guitar auctions for $62,500 at Bonhams

Bonhams announced results for its Entertainment Memorabilia auction on June 24 in Los Angeles. The sale featured a wide variety of items related to Hollywood, Rock ‘n Roll and Animation Art. Highlights included pieces connected to Jerry Garcia, The Muppets, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Frank Sinatra, Flash Gordon, the Estate of Rock Hudson, the Gaston Collection of original movie poster and lobby art and Property from Serendipity Bookstore, Berkeley, CA.

Dr. Catherine Williamson, Director of Entertainment Memorabilia, said of the sale: “The market for Hollywood collectibles and rock n’ roll continues to grow. We saw strong participation online and in the saleroom for iconic pieces from music and film history.”

Leading the auction was a Jerry Garcia-owned custom Alembic electric guitar (est. $50,000-70,000, sold for $62,500). Named “Lucky Number 13” by Garcia this custom made guitar was only the 13th complete instrument made by Alembic as a company and was constructed exclusively for the musician. Garcia had been modifying his guitars for years at this point and had just begun to go the custom route with instruments made by Doug Irwin and by Alembic. “Lucky Number 13” is an important stepping stone to Garcia’s more well-known Doug Irwin-made Wolf and Tiger. Lucky Number 13 has the luxurious feel and subtle details of a fine custom instrument.

An accompanying letter signed by Bob Weir states that this guitar was believed to have been used by Garcia on his first solo album, “Garcia.” It is unknown why he stopped using the guitar, but he later ended up gifting the instrument to Matthew Kelly, member of Kingfish, Bobby and the Midnites and solo artist, while Garcia was a guest guitarist on Kelly’s solo album “A Wing and a Prayer.” Proceeds from the sale of this guitar will go to the Amicus Foundation in Bhutan and Thailand.

Also of note was a collection of nine sheets of Jim Henson character and story ideas for “The Muppet Show” from 1974 (est. $25,000-35,000, sold for $35,000) from the Collection of award-winning Producer, Director and Writer Gary Smith. Each page contains one or more Polaroid images or a color pencil sketch plus handwritten notes explaining the character or scene. The collection was sent by Henson to ATV Studios in London in anticipation of a 1974 pitch meeting. Noted characters and scenes include: Hamilton Pigg and the introduction of Miss Piggy; and Jim Henson and longtime Muppet performer Richard Hunt appear in a selection of the Polaroids.

As well, a group of paintings by singer, actor and entertainer Frank Sinatra was prominently featured within the summer auction. Sinatra began painting in the 1970s, focusing primarily on clowns. He later developed his own style, shifting from representational canvases to abstract art. Works of note by Sinatra included a large, colorful abstract (est. $7,000-9,000, sold for $21,250); a square, 30 inch abstract painting (est. $6,000-8,000, sold for $17,500) and a petit abstract painting (est. $4,000-6,000, sold for $16,250). Each painting is signed by the artist.

Highlights from the Estate of film and television star Rock Hudson also sold well. Hudson, born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. and known later as Roy Harold Fitzgerald, was one of the most popular and well-known leading men of the 1950s and 1960s. The tall actor, who measured an impressive 6 ft 5 in, was voted “Favorite Leading Man” and “Star of the Year” by film and celebrity magazines many times over. Over the course of his career, Hudson starred in nearly 70 films as well as several television productions including the Academy Award®-winning “Pillow Talk” (1959) with Doris Day and Tony Randall.

Items of note from Hudson’s Estate include a twice-signed passport recording travel to London, Kenya, Italy, Switzerland and Brazil between June 1956 and February 1958 (est. $2,000-2,500, sold for $3,125); a contemporary custom-made oversized sofa made expressly for and used by Doris Day and Hudson in the film “Pillow Talk” to accommodate his height (est. $800-1,200, sold for $2,750) and a pair of wrought iron garden armchairs that were kept on the patio off the star’s master bedroom (est. $400-600, sold for $3,500) as well as several collections of signed film-related contracts and personal items.

Indiana Jones’ iconic bullwhip from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was also prominently featured during the June sale (est. $30,000-50,000, sold for $31,250). This bullwhip is one of the six props of its type used during stunt sequences in the classic 1981 film.

Additional highlights from the June auction included an illustrated pen and ink “Flash Gordon” Sunday page by cartoonist Alex Raymond dated “9-6-42” (est. $15,000-20,000, sold for $13,750), a 1964 Gibson Firebird III guitar used by Motown artist Eddie Willis (est. $12,000-18,000, sold for $11,250) and a large archive of scripts from the Serendipity Bookstore featuring works from the Selznick Studio libraries (est. $5,000-7,000, sold for $10,000) and an original promotional painting for Modern Times featuring an image of Charlie Chaplin from the Gaston Collection (est. $1,500-2,500, sold for $3,125).

Sales featuring additional Property from Serendipity Books will continue on June 26 through our online bidding platform. The sale will feature approximately 500 multi-volume lots of books that are currently available for viewing onsite at the Berkeley store June 22-25. Please visit for more information.