Press Release

For Immediate release!


Saturday – May 21, 2016 at Hard Rock Cafe New York in Times Square

David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kurt Cobain, Ringo Starr, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Much More 

Stevie Ray Vaughan “Jimbo” guitar

Beverly Hills, California – (April 7, 2016) – Julien’s Auctions, the world record breaking auction house to the stars, has announced its highly anticipated Music Icons auction event to take place at the Hard Rock Café New York on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Hundreds of pieces of iconic rock n’ roll memorabilia will go under the hammer representing the biggest musical icons of our time. The historical event will include extraordinary items from those artists who have played important roles in shaping our pop culture.

The preeminent bluesman and award winning singer and guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan was at the forefront of the blues resurgence in the 1980s attracting rock fans with a style of play that was compared to guitar icons like Hendrix and Albert King. He is legendary and remembered as one of the best electric guitarists in music history. In 1966, his brother Jimmie Vaughan gave him his first professional electric guitar, named “Jimbo.” It was with “Jimbo” that Vaughan made his first studio recording and first live recording (Estimate: $400,000-$600,000). In 1971, Vaughan traded the guitar but later regretted it stating in 1989, “Jimmie gave me a ’51 Tele, a cross between a Broadcaster and a Tele that I rebuilt and ended up letting someone talk me into selling it. I’m still kicking myself. Still looking for it by the way. If someone finds a guitar that says “Jimbo” on the back and it’s the right one, it’s a real deal — you can come rape me for it, or my pocketbook anyway.” This rare guitar will be offered at the Julien’s Auctions Music Icons auction.

Lady Gaga’s first piano

Lady Gaga’s first piano with which she wrote her first song when she was five years old is an extraordinary highlight from the pop icon’s incredible life and career. The piano was previously on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum as part of the Women Who Rock exhibition and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Born This Way Foundation (Estimate: $100,000-$200,000).

Queen’s Freddie Mercury jacket

In 1967, David Bowie received his first American fan letter and immediately typed a response and sent it with images and a British newspaper that had him on the cover. The letter is sweet, appreciative and optimistic. It is signed by Bowie with the Starman’s star over the “i” in Bowie, in place of a dot. This rare letter will also be offered during the auction (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000).

Kurt Cobain letter to David Geffen

Other extraordinary highlights will include a letter handwritten by Kurt Cobain to David Geffen about the possibility of ending Nirvana due to the terrible treatment he and his wife, Courtney Love, received in a 1992 Vanity Fair article accusing the pair of using drugs while Love was pregnant with their daughter. The handwritten two-page letter reads in part, “I’m so extremely pissed off about this piece of trash journalism that I’ll lay anything on the line for the love of my wife and daughter.” (Estimate: $20,000-$30,000); Freddie Mercury’s (Queen) “Rock Soldier” jacket worn during Queen’s 1986 Magic Tour and designed by Diana Moseley with input from Mercury. The jacket was inspired by Spanish opera military costumes (Estimate: $60,000-$80,000); and Ringo Starr’s drum kit that he used in a 2000 Super Bowl commercial for Charles Schwab. The Ludwig drum kit was later given by Starr to a business associate and is accompanied by a signed drum head and a pair of Ringo Starr branded Pro-Market drum sticks, one of which is signed “Ringo” (Estimate: $20,000-$30,000).

Ringo Starr Ludwig drum kit

The Music Icons auction will also include over 85 items from the life and career of Elvis Presley. This collection includes a custom guitar made for him by his father that Presley gave to an audience member in 1975. This rare 1969 Gibson Dove guitar was custom finished in black with a Kenpo Karate decal affixed to the body showing that this was in honor of Presley achieving a black belt in karate. The guitar was personalized with “Elvis Presley” inlaid across the fingerboard and is one of Presley’s most recognizable instruments. This prized guitar has remained in the hands of the lucky concert goer since 1975 (Estimate: $200,000-$300,000). Other featured Presley memorabilia include the suit he wore to the hospital after the birth of his daughter Lisa Marie (Estimate: $15,000-$20,000), a Kenpo Karate ring slipped into the hand of a young woman who rushed up to Presley shortly before his death (Estimate: $20,000-$40,000) and his first piano, a 1911 Stroud upright that Presley acquired in 1955. The piano was later given to his cook Christine Strickland and it was at the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum from 1992 until 1999 (Estimate: $200,000-$300,000).

Hundreds of other items will be offered at Julien’s Auctions Music Icons event including memorabilia from The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra and many more. The Music Icons event has become one of the most highly anticipated auctions offered by Julien’s Auctions annually bringing together bidders, collectors and fans from every point in the world while making musical history.

Hard Rock Cafe

Monday, May 16, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST

Monday, May 16th – Friday, May 20th, 2016
Daily 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST
Free to the Public

Saturday, May 21st, 2016
Session I: 10:00 a.m. EST 
Session II: 2:00 p.m. EST

Hard Rock Café New York
1501 Broadway
New York, NY

For inquiries, please email or call 310-836-1818.