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Rare Beatles photos and a signed guitar from Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck head the list of lots being offered in Backstage Auctions’ upcoming sale, the Rock and Pop Auction.
Scheduled through April 13, the sale also includes some specialty items that may pique collectors’ interests, including promo CDs — a hot collectible in recent years — and more than a thousand pieces of what is known as “radio-broadcast” vinyl gathered over the years by the consignor, Reggie Box, a longtime Michigan radio veteran.
“If you remember in the early ’80s, there was The Beatles Hour, which was a nationally syndicated radio program,” explains Jacques van Gool of Backstage Auctions, which is holding a preview week for the sale starting March 30. “A lot of people know about it, but none of that stuff has ever been released. Well, he probably has over 100 different Beatles shows on vinyl, and even though it’s from the early ’80s, I can only imagine if you are a dedicated Beatles collector, you’ve probably never seen such an impressive Beatles radio-broadcast collection as this.”
An impassioned supporter of the Michigan music scene, Box, who died in the ’90s, was a DJ and a general manager of a Traverse City, Mich., classic-rock station. A regular at the infamous Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Box left behind a massive collection of memorabilia.
“It’s an interesting collection of items that starts in the ’60s, the Michigan or Detroit era of the ’60s, and it has great pieces,” says van Gool. “It has great stuff from the whole ‘Free John Sinclair’ (the one-time manager of the MC5 and leader of the White Panther Party, who was arrested for selling two marijuana cigarettes to an undercover officer) era.”
In addition to memorabilia from The Stooges and MC5 and other Michigan rock institutions, the collection features handbills of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
“I found some old handbills from, not only the Grande Ballroom, but some local clubs in Michigan with the Velvet Underground, for instance,” says van Gool. “Late ‘60s Velvet Underground handbills, I think, are pretty rare. [And] there’s a Janis Joplin handbill from San Antonio, Texas, that’s definitely not going to be the most expensive piece, but in terms of Janis Joplin and Big Brother and The Holding Company rarities, I guarantee you that little handbill is pretty darn rare.”
Being in the position he was for four decades, Box attended many concerts, and, over time, collected a vast number of signed items. One of the highlights of the sale is a Fender Stratocaster signed by both guitar heroes Vaughan and Beck in 1989.
“Now, the guitar alone is a beautiful piece, but the signatures on it are just absolutely phenomenal,” says van Gool.
Other signed pieces from The Doors, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan are in the sale, “ ... but what I also find interesting is that it goes through the ’80s, and in the &rsqu