An Album Cover Hall of Fame Special Auction News Edition for June 24th, 2020
By Mike Goldstein, AlbumCoverHallofFame.com
I know, I know, I’m early, but I thought you’d want to know about the results of three recent auctions I previously reported on, with some of the results confirming, once again, that “money talks”:
1) To follow up on my early June posting about photographer Mark Seliger’s fund-raising auction of 26 of his photo portraits of celebrities from the worlds of music, film, TV, stage and politics, I’d like to report that the total raised for the COVID-19 relief organizations he’s supporting was a remarkable $232,375, with the item raising the most money – that being Seliger’s portrait of past President Barack Obama – selling for an impressive $37,500. Well done, Mr. Seliger!
Proceeds from this auction, hosted by Christies.com and which ended on June 12th (and raised money to benefit charities through an advocacy campaign called RADArt4Aid), will be shared with the following organizations – The American Red Cross, America’s Food Fund, the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, New York Cares, The Prince’s Trust, World Central Kitchen, UN Women, One Family LA, Direct Relief, Meals on Wheels, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Get Us PPE, Good+ Foundation, Hidden Heroes, The Let Love Rule Foundation, Middle Way House, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, Support + Feed, and Pieta.
I’m so happy to see the many ways that those involved in the arts have used their talents and their good names to help those in need while we all struggle through the disruptions in our lives caused by this terrible pandemic and the varied responses to it. For more information on this artist, please visit – http://www.markseligerphotography.com
2) In news about another Christie’s auction-related event, bidders participating in a June 18th online auction featuring historic items in many categories brought fat wallets to do their best to take home a truly one-of-a-kind item – George Hardie’s original artwork for the first LP released by Led Zeppelin (titled Led Zeppelin, but known by most as “Led Zeppelin 1”). With bidding beginning on June 2nd, and with the pre-auction estimate for the stipple tracing of the 1937 photograph of the doomed airship Hindenburg estimated in the $20K-30K range, the well-heeled participants quickly drove bidding up to the stratosphere for this type of work, with the final price paid for the work being £260,500, or approximately $325,000.
As I mentioned in my earlier reporting, George was paid about $125 for his work back in 1969, which since has been reproduced on countless posters, t-shirts and the nearly 10 million copies of this record sold since its release. He’d stuck the flimsy in a drawer to keep the work after it was used in production. He put a note on it that read “George’s Pension Fund” – you have to wonder how he’d know it would be just that. The item was included in a sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts including a copy of the first newspaper printing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and a letter by George Washington on the significance of the American victory at Yorktown – https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/open-book-fine-travel-americana-literature-history-print-manuscript/original-art-led-zeppelins-debut-lp-88/86909
You can read a summary about this auction and Mr. Hardie’s work in this article on the UK’s Daily Mail web site – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8454899/Artist-designed-Led-Zeppelins-iconic-debut-album-sells-original-tracing-260-000.html?
3) Lastly but not leastly, I’d earlier reported on a huge entertainment industry auction, staged in four sessions over two days (June 19 – 20) by the Julien’s Auction house in which, in addition to a slate of items that included the guitar Kurt Cobain used on a a memorable TV performance and one of Prince’s custom guitars (both items going on to sell for unimaginable amounts of money) a fair number of album cover-related items were offered. In its catalog of over 800 lots, the two previously-mentioned guitars made headlines on their own, with the 1959 Martin acoustic guitar Cobain used during their 1993 MTV Unplugged appearance selling for an astonishing $6,010,000 (about 6X more than the pre-auction estimate), while the 1984 Prince-owned Cloud 2 Blue Angel guitar, with an estimated value of $400K – $600K, selling for a cool $563,500.
And while both of those items produced many a raised eyebrow, the several items that might have made the album art fan in your life very happy as well included several lots that did well for their owners as well: Lot 1 was a black and white Anton Corbijn photo print from the estate of Karen Roberta Stanley (Steely Dan’s manager at ABC Records and guitarist Walter Becker’s lady friend) that was used on the cover of the band’s Greatest Hits record (pre-auction estimate in the $300 – $500 range, sold for $5120); Lots 41-42 and 45-46 were test proof prints of the iconic album art for Steely Dan’s Aja (est $500-$700), sold for anywhere from $448-$576 per lot; Lot 172 – A printer’s proof of the unreleased original cover art for Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland LP framed with a print of the released artwork to show the slight differences $1-$2K est., sold for $1875; Lot 189 – a framed, limited-edition print of the painting that Joni Mitchell produced for use on the cover of her 1982 album Wild Things Run Fast ($1-2K est), sold for $1280; Lot 195 – while not exactly a “real” album cover image, this was a pretty cool piece of memorabilia…used as a prop in Oliver Stone’s film starring Val Kilmer titled The Doors, this cover image, modeled after the band’s debut cover, substitutes the film’s stars for the original band members (est. $100 – 200), sold for $448; Lot 208 – David Alexander’s photo used on the cover for Hotel California by the Eagles was offered in a limited-edition print ($400 – 600), a steal at $320; Lot 223 – A 1993 art print of the cover art for Elvis Presley’s 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong album ($400-600), selling for only $192; Lot 361 – a Rush band-signed, limited-edition print of the cover for their 1976 hit LP 2112 ($600-800 est) sold for $2560, proving that autographed items still seem to be selling for big money; Lot 522 – a fully-band-signed limited-edition print of the cover for Bon Jovi’s Cross Road, printed in 1995 ($600-800), sold for $1024; Lot 528 – Artist David Welker’s original oil painting used on the cover of Phish’s 1993 album Rift ($10K-20K), sold for nearly 4X the low estimate at $38,400; Lot 714 – a portfolio package including 10 limited-edition prints by artist/musician Klaus Voorman of the art he produced for Ringo Starr’s 1973 album Ringo ($2k-3k), taken home by a thrifty bidder for only $1280; Lot 740 – a framed promo poster of the famed “baby in a pool” photo by Kirk Weddle used on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind LP, signed and hand-embellished by all three of the band members ($6K-8K), sold for an extraordinary $56,250 – https://www.julienslive.com/m/lot-details/index/catalog/320/lot/138595? and, our final item, Lot 831 – a set of 2 printer’s proof prints of artist Alan Aldridge’s unused artwork for the unreleased 1975 album Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus by the Rolling Stones. The package was released over 30 years later, but with different packaging (est $2K – 4k), splitting the difference at $2880. There were many interesting items in this auction, so if you’d like to see more of the details, I’d invite you to tour the online catalog yourself for this auction event at https://www.juliensauctions.com/flip-through-catalog?id=307
That’s all for today – be back in a week or so with my monthly summary.