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Backstage Auctions' March Madness event adds up to deals for vinyl fans

Backstage Auctions first-ever March Madness auction promises to be a music collector's paradise for vinyl records, signed items and concert posters.
The Duprees 1968 album

Vinyl records are among the treasures to be had at Backstage Auctions' March Madness event starting March 27, 2011.

Collectors, rejoice. Backstage Auctions is about to make you a thousand offers that are too good to refuse.

The music memorabilia auction house, which also hosts an online store, is serving up its first-ever March Madness auction featuring more than 1,000 previously featured auction lots that have been in the online store for more than 12 months. There auction goes live March 27, 2011.

“We’re going to make a lot of people very happy,” predicted Jacques van Gool of Backstage Auctions. “If you like vinyl, we’ve got tons of vinyl. If you like concert posters, we’ve got those, too. If you’re more in the market for signed items, we’ve got plenty of signed items. If you’re more of a band-specific collector, we’ve got loads of Beatles collectibles and amazing memorabilia featuring the Stones, Yes, Grateful Dead, Journey, Frank Zappa and Genesis … just pick a band from A to Z. We’ve got it all.”

The idea for the auction came about after Backstage found itself in a position to which most collectors can relate: Too many goodies, not enough room.

Beatles BBC Award

A BBC platinum record award for The Beatles is one piece of a long list of Beatles-related memorabilia that will be featured at Backstage Auctions' March Madness event starting March 27, 2011.

“Over the holidays, we took stock of physically how much we’ve got and started to look at our auction calendar for this year and next year, and we started to realize that if we continue to put stuff on our shelves, we’d need a bigger place. Well, that’s not gonna happen,” van Gool said, laughing.

Vinyl records, primarily from the 1960s and 1970s, will comprise roughly half of the featured lots. The majority of the vinyl came from disc jockeys or record company executives and is in immaculate condition, he said. Vinyl collectors who want to upgrade their collections but need to stick to set budgets will be pleasantly surprised.

“It’s a perfect collection to pick up a lot of great stuff and keep what they want, or trade the rest or resell it,” van Gool said. “To put it simply, you can buy the large vinyl lots, break up the lots, and, if you want to, sell or trade them and perhaps make a bit of pocket money for yourself, and possibly then some. The opening bid prices that are set for each of the lots featured in the auction are really going to excite everyone.”

Posters, signed items, ephemera, record awards, promotional items, toys and photos, slides and negatives will round out the rest of the lots, he said. Make no mistake: This event is no scratch-and-dent sale.

“There’s a lot of really impressive stuff,” van Gool said. “There’s so much stuff in our store right now, it’ll take you hours and hours to browse. There’s a lot of beautiful pieces and hidden gems that people don’t realize we have in our store.”

Grateful Dead by Herb Greene

Herb Greene's 1965 photo of The Grateful Dead is a featured lot at Backstage Auctions' March Madness event.

They weren’t alone. Even van Gool had forgotten about quite a few pieces in the company’s inventory, including a variety of signed pieces, a collection of cool concert posters from the mid-1970s, gorgeous backstage passes, obscure recording reels from the original Agora in Cleveland and a handful of oversized photos of the Grateful Dead, taken in the 1960s by renowned San Francisco photographer Herb Greene.

So how do such awesome pieces get overlooked? Too many cool lots, and not quite enough limelight, it seems.

If you collect Beatles memorabilia, then get ready to be amazed, he said. The auction will feature nearly 100 Beatles lots, including rare vinyl, posters, toys and collectibles, magazines and books.

“We’ve previously featured Beatles collections where we literally had hundreds of lots, and at the end of the day, the masses will flock to the eye-catching stuff first and foremost, and that's what everybody wants," van Gool said. "You might have a really cool piece, but it gets completely overlooked in the attention for bigger pieces."

"It’ll be awfully hard for potential buyers to overlook lots featured in the March Madness auction. In order for lots to qualify for the sale, consignors must agree to drop reserve prices dramatically — in most cases, 50 to 75 percent less than the current price in the store," van Gool said.

“Our goal is to basically price every single lot such that if you don’t buy it, you’ll regret it. You are never going to find a similar item or a similar lot with this kind of provenance, in this kind of condition, at this price level. These are fantastic items at a fantastic price,” van Gool said. “Somebody who has been eyeing a particular poster for a year and hasn’t really been able to bite the bullet on it has, in my opinion, a phenomenal opportunity to buy the piece, and most likely, get it for a really great price.”

But that window of opportunity won’t stay open forever.

“The one promise that I will make is that once the auction is over, we are not going to put it back in the store. This is it, last and final encore for these items,” van Gool said. "We still have hundreds of awesome items in our online store featuring quite a selection of hard rock and heavy metal memorabilia from the private collections of Al Jourgensen of Ministry and heavy metal manager Walter O'Brien."

Any items featured in Backstage Auctions in the past 12 months now in the firm’s online store are excluded from the March Madness event. The March Madness Auction event is scheduled to go live at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, March 27, 2011, and will run for a week, coming to a close on Sunday, April 3, 2011. There will be no preview, so when the auction goes live, it will be open for immediate bidding.

To register for VIP Access to the March Madness Auction or for additional information, rock on over to the Backstage Auctions Web site: