by Susan Sliwicki
When Jacques van Gool began planning Backstage Auctions’ 2010 game plan, it started with items from drummer Johny Barbata, whose collection van Gool had promised to include the first auction of the year.
When van Gool realized he could accommodate additional lots, he invited more consignors to join the event. The plan was working fabulously, until Walter O’Brien’s collection came into play.
“It was so big, we really had to split it up into two collections,” van Gool said. While a portion of O’Brien’s collection will be featured in the Vintage Pop and Rock Auction in May, the remainder will headline another auction later this year.
Van Gool was at O’Brien’s home, evaluating items for auction, when O’Brien mentioned his media room, almost as an afterthought.
“He said, ‘You know, I have some vinyl in that room, too, if you’re interested’,” van Gool recalled. “We opened the door, and I ended up with probably 25 boxes full of vinyl, and it is absolutely amazing stuff.”
O’Brien’s classic rock items from the 1960s and 1970s are part of the May auction; hard-rock and heavy metal pieces will be featured in an upcoming Backstage Auctions event.
Record lovers will enjoy diving into O’Brien’s extensive vintage vinyl collection, which features everything from prog and punk to New Wave and synth pop in beautiful condition.
“The vinyl lots that we have are so impressive, because most of his vinyl is U.K. pressings, which every collector will tell you the British vinyl is hands-down the most collectible vinyl there is,” van Gool said.
While O’Brien’s vinyl collection certainly has volume, it’s an entry from consignor Stuart Wiener, who was a songwriter in the legendary Brill Building in Manhattan, that has an edge on rarity.
Bidding will start between $1,500 and $2,000 for a never-released 10-inch acetate that Wiener recorded with Paul Simon in 1958, van Gool said.
“Paul was one of the local musicians that would work for these songwriters, and they would sit and write songs and hand the song to one of the musicians and say, ‘Could you play this with me?’ “
The auction also features an incredible collection of Stiff Records albums, including a tough-to-find 7-inch record by The Damned, van Gool said.
“There’s a lot of really impressive British punk, original 1970s 7-inches and records,” van Gool said. “Whether it’s The Sex Pistols or The Damned or Generation X, or anything along those lines, it’s all there.”
What do you think your vinyl is worth?