Auctions | November 15, 2013

Psychedelic Art, Rare Guitars at Julien’s December Auction of Rock Memorabilia

Beverly Hills, California—Julien’s Auctions, the world’s premiere music and entertainment memorabilia auction house has announced a very rare opportunity to own Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia’s Custom Travis Bean TB500 Electric Guitar at a two-day auction event featuring the best of rock royalty. On Friday, December 6th and Saturday, December 7th, 2013.  Julien’s Auctions will host one of the largest collections of music memorabilia as it wraps up its year of historically record-setting auction events with Icons & Idols: Rock n’ Roll.

For the very first time, Julien’s Auctions will offer one of the most significant guitars of rock history, the guitar that pioneered Jerry Garcia’s tone and sound and was one of the most played guitars by the psychedelic leader of the legendary band, The Grateful Dead. Many will argue that this guitar was played during the pinnacle of Garcia’s most musically creative time period. Garcia’s unmistakable guitar tone enchanted multitudes of “Deadheads” throughout the band’s 30-year career and beyond.

The guitar, designed and built by Travis Bean Inc., was played by Garcia on stage and in recording sessions. It features an aluminum neck—a design pioneered by Travis Bean, three single coil pick up configurations and Garcia's Onboard Effects Loop. This guitar was the first to employ the Onboard Effects Loop, which was then incorporated into all of Garcia's electric guitars.

The guitar was debuted at the Grateful Dead concert on December 31, 1976 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. It is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Steve Parish, Garcia's guitar tech and the Grateful Dead's Equipment Manager from 1969 to 1995, who states that this guitar was the third most played by Garcia—behind "Tiger" and "Wolf." It was Garcia's primary guitar beginning in 1976 through much of 1977 and a smattering of times beyond.  A sticker affixed to the body of the guitar reads "Ass, Grass or Gas/ Nobody Rides Free" which was placed over an earlier sticker that read "The Enemy is Listening." Garcia was photographed playing with both stickers on the guitar.

Garcia played this TB500 at over 90 concerts in the late 70s. The Grateful Dead's three night stint at the Winterland Ballroom in 1977, approximately 35 Grateful Dead concerts, a benefit for Greenpeace, and as he toured around the country with the Jerry Garcia Band.   During this time the Dead also recorded the album Terrapin Station with Garcia playing this guitar.   "Terrapin Station" and "Estimated Prophet" were both played in concert for the first time on this guitar.  "Terrapin Transit" (often incorrectly called "Alahambra") is said to have only been played live once by the Dead with Garcia playing this guitar. The guitar is so historical that it was previously exhibited at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum during The Grateful Dead: What a Long Strange Trip exhibit of April 12, 2012 to March 24, 2013. It is estimated to sell for $150,000-$200,000 and believed to represent the last time a Jerry Garcia guitar of this significance will come up for sale.

This rare guitar was the pioneer of Jerry's "new tone" with the on board effects loop and unity gain buffer that was incorporated in to every electric guitar he played after this one. The guitar was not only played but has long been associated with Garcia’s creative spirit. Collectors know that only a handful of this style guitar ever existed and to find one with such historical provenance is unprecedented.

While Jerry Garcia’s rare TB500 guitar headlines the event,  the Icons & Idols: Rock n’ Roll Auction will also feature artifacts, personal items and cherished memorabilia from a long list of the world’s greatest artists of all time. All items have time worn histories and incredible pop culture pasts.  An archive of music art from the 1960s era of American psychedelic lifestyles, handwritten lyrics, instruments played on stage, clothing and personal property from musical geniuses who had us screaming for encores at every performance are included in the 750 lots in this auction.

In 1964 the Selmer Company, the British distributor of Hofner guitars, commissioned Hofner to design a very special guitar for the new face of their violin bass, Paul McCartney.  The custom guitar with gold plated pickups was to be given to McCartney as part of an arrangement to appear on the bass hang tags.  How it travelled from Selmer to where it is today is a mystery. Only a few of its stops along the way are known and eventually it was identified by a music shop for its significance.  Julien’s Auctions will offer this guitar at Icons & Idols: Rock n‘ Roll. It is one of only three Hofner basses made specifically for McCartney.                                                                 

Psychedelic art will also celebrate The Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia at the auction. The leading designers of psychedelic poster art of the 1960s, Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Dennis Larkins, and Gary Grimshaw are represented in an extraordinary collection of artwork including many lots produced for the Grateful Dead. The collection includes the Grateful Dead Jester painting used on the cover of The Grateful Dead Songbook, (1973) along with sketchbooks, logo lettering, concept drawings, finished artwork, logo lettering, t-shirt, publicity and poster designs also for the legendary rock band fronted by Jerry Garcia. The largest collection of uncut posters and plates from Chet Helms Family Dog productions and other music events in the San Francisco area are also included in the auction. The psychedelic storytelling represented in poster art being offered combines a sense of controversy and a misunderstood era but nonetheless holds an outstanding place in American art and music history.

There isn’t any other musical icon associated with the world of early rock as widely as the legendary Jimi Hendrix. The iconic images of Hendrix on stage in his trademark embroidered vest are as vivid today as they were in the 1960s. The legendary rock icon’s own stage worn embroidered vest will be sold at Icons & Idols: Rock n’ Roll. Other Hendrix related highlights will include a Jimi Hendrix Experience signed cut sheet, Hendrix photographs taken by Ed Thrasher and Jimi Hendrix’s handwritten working lyrics for the song “Local Commotion,” said to have appeared on the unreleased “Black Gold” suite. Other lyrics being offered will include Bob Dylan’s handwritten “Tambourine Man” lyric, Jim Morrison’s handwritten lyrics for “L’America,” George Harrison’s handwritten lyrics for “Isn’t It A Pity,” and other handwritten lyrics from Bon Scott, LL Cool J, Bruce Springsteen and annotated lyrics from Stevie Nicks.

The personal journey of controversial Guns ‘n’ Roses front man Axl Rose has been described as tumultuous at best. The man famously known for “Welcome to the Jungle” married Erin Everly who was the inspiration for the hit song “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Everly is offering a collection of memorabilia never before seen that includes items from the couple’s own personal evolution that began as sweethearts and later led to marriage, the foray into instant rock celebrity and the eventual dissolution of the relationship. The collection includes candid photographs, their 1990 wedding video and marriage license, Axl Rose’s personal video and publicity worn clothing, a domestic abuse report, love letters and many other items.

Rock n’ Roll is defined by the instruments and the attitude played by the artists on stage. You can almost hear the feedback from an electric guitar plugged into a mile-high amp from some of the world’s most infamous stages and concert venues when you review the remarkable catalog of instruments to be offered at Julien’s Auctions. It’s as impressive as the Platinum selling records in which they were used.  The Estate of guitarist, composer and producer Ronnie Montrose will be represented with a collection of guitars including those he named “The Beast,” “Trigger,” “Skinny” and “Montrose.”  Other equipment highlights include a Roland G-707 Synthesizer Guitar owned by Jimmy Page, a Kramer Ferrington guitar owned by Mick Jagger and later gifted to his brother Chris Jagger, a 1956 Fender Stratocaster and a 1873 Martin D-18 acoustic guitar owned by Creedence Clearwater’s Tom Fogerty, a 1954 Fender Telecaster played and signed by Keith Richards, a 1956 Guild Thunderbird electric guitar used by John Doe on his solo projects, a Jimmy Vaughan stage played Fender Stratocaster and two guitars from the Cash musical empire; two guitars owned by Johnny Cash and one by his wife June Carter Cash.

“If this auction was a concert where we sold tickets to attend, it would surely sell out in seconds, not minutes,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien’s Auctions. “The collections going up for auction on December 6th and 7th are worthy of a place in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. It is without a doubt, one of the best music related auctions we have ever been given the privilege to stage.”                                                              

A rock n’ roll auction of this proportion is not complete without a bit of glitter, some blue suede and a lot of regalia. Liberace, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson are the trifecta of Pop Royalty being offered during the two day experience. Highlights include antiques and decorative items from Liberace’s home including candelabra, over-the-top furnishings and a mirror one wishes could talk.

Elvis Presley’s one pair of blue suede shoes from Memphis Mafia member Joe Esposito, his 1970s Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine outfitted with a plaque that reads “Custom made for Elvis Presley 70th Anniversary Edition,” the coat he wore on the album “Elvis is Back” with the original Paramount Pictures label, a ukulele gifted by Presley to Hank Garland, his personal gold “partner cross” commissioned by Presley in which he made the other for Priscilla and a 1977 Presley concert footage sold with copyright are amongst the Presley highlights.  

From the King to the King of Pop, Julien’s Auctions will also offer a selection of Michael Jackson memorabilia including his LIFE Magazine worn jacket, stage costumes and personal clothing. A Michael Jackson glove gifted to friend and photographer Jonathan Exley which was used while rehearsing “Billie Jean” on tour joins the amazing collection of items that also include sunglasses and a selection of his personal jackets.

Other highlights include a Fender Stratocaster painted and signed Ronnie Wood, a knit scarf of the Ramones with “Hey Ho Let’s Go” framed, an original digital artwork representation of “Maggie May” created by Soundwaves Studio signed by Rod Stewart, a sheer turquoise gown worn by Cher while performing with Sonny, a terracotta  ram sculpture used in the Beatles film “A Hard Day’s Night,” (Proscenium, 1964), a group of approximately 83 backstage passes and 49 ticket stubs from Bruce Springsteen’s European leg of The River Tour in 1981, a Marshall 4 x 12 speaker cabinet used by The Who circa 1980, a scarlet red Versace suit owned by Elton John,  a pair of satin Dolce & Gabbana trousers owned by Whitney Houston, a Slash signed handwritten set list attributed to the 1988 Guns n’ Roses performance at Giants Stadium, a Ronnie Montrose 1943 Gibson J45 Acoustic guitar in Sunburst, a Cordoba Ukulele signed on the body “Eddie Vedder,” a white Gretsch guitar signed on the gold-toned pickguard “Neil Young,” a pair of blue denim jeans owned by Andy Warhol and A.B.C. Rich Bich Double Neck 4/8 string guitar used by Harry Shearer who plays Derek Smalls, bassist for the heavy metal band Spinal Tap in “This is Spinal Tap.”                                                                                                              

Julien’s Auctions has also partnered with The GRAMMY Foundation and Musicares in auctioning several of these items that will specifically benefit the organization.                                                                                                        


Dec 2nd through Dec 5th, 2013

10:00 am - 5:00 pm Daily


Icons & Idols: Rock n’ Roll 

Friday December 6th, 2013

Session I: 2:00 pm PDT 

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Session II: 10:00 am PDT

Session III: 2:00 pm PDT                                                                        

Registration is required to bid in this live auction and can be done in person at the exhibition and auction, or online before the sale at the Registration page to bid by phone, proxy or in person, or online at to bid live online, or by calling (310) 836-1818.

There are four ways to bid in this sale:

  1. Bid through Julien's Auctions Online Live in Real Time at
  2. Place bids in the room by attending the auction.
  3. Bid over the telephone through an auction house representative, who sits in the room and conveys the bid to the auctioneer.
  4. Enter Absentee bids. Absentee bid forms are included in the back of each catalogue, and are also available by calling Julien's Auctions or online at