Auctions | December 16, 2014

Jerry Garcia Letter Written to Vogue Cover Model for Sale at RR Auction


BOSTON, MA—An extremely rare handwritten letter by Jerry Garcia will be offered during a live auction event by Boston, MA based RR Auction this January.

The two-part letter written to a former Vogue cover model Garcia had met at an Upper West side party, in New York City in 1980. During which time the Grateful Dead were performing a series of shows between October 22 and October 31, at Radio City Music Hall.

The First part on two pages both sides, 5.25 x 8.5, no date but circa late May-early June 1982.  The letter reads in part: “Thank you really for sending that postcard, I feel like it’s sort of our first ‘official’ communication somehow. I’ve been hoping we could get together ever since we first met at Al’s that winter nite so long ago (sigh) —I hope it doesn’t seem like I’ve been avoiding you, although I admit I’ve kind of been waiting for the opportunity (that is, the ‘right’ opportunity) for us to meet in some kind of neutral context that would be comfortable and relaxed and free of any pressure. Oh! also in spite of never having been alone with you, I somehow feel close to you and I’ve looked forward to and enjoyed those times, however brief, that we have been in the same general vicinity and spoken slightly (New York, Germany, Calif etc.) you know—so... The Grateful Dead just played our first outdoor show of the year at a place called the Greek Theatre (a nice amphitheatre in back of The University of Calif. in Berkeley kind of like this),” Here, Garcia draws a very detailed sketch showing all elements of their performance at the Greek Theatre: the columns lining the back of the stage; the band on stage, which he labels “us”; and the audience, labeled “them.”

The letter continues on in a second part, written later on Hotel Parker Meridien, New York letterhead, postmarked June 22, 1982. Garcia admittedly had uncharacteristic “stage fright” with this method of correspondence as he repeatedly revealed, waiting so long he added a second part. When he finally mailed this letter from NYC, he was prepping for his June 25th acoustic solo act with John Kahn at The Palladium. The legendary front man mentions a little bit of everything including the June 21, 1982 birth of Prince William, “Latest news from England is of course the Royal birth.”

Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed in Garcia’s own hand.

“The rarity of this handwritten letter cannot be overstated—research indicates no others ever being on the market—even Garcia himself noted, “this is the first letter I’ve written in years,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive Vice President at RR Auction.

 “The unique sketch he drew of the Greek Theater, is particularly poignant as it relates to their Bay Area roots—this year would have been the band’s 50th Anniversary,” adds Livingston. 

Among the other items that will be featured in the Live Auction event:

Johnny Ramones personally-owned and stage-used 1965 Mosrite guitar.

Elvis Presley signed candid photograph in his Army uniform, circa 1950’s.

Beatles signed 1963 portrait taken at Odeon Southend.

A special live auction event will take place on January 22 at RR Auction’s Boston Gallery, and will feature nearly 150 items. More details can be found online at