Nearly 17 years after the passing of Grateful Dead lead guitarist, singer and songwriter Jerry Garcia, worldwide auction house Bonhams will present its Visions of Garcia auction, May 8 (the 35th anniversary of the famous 5-8-77 Cornell show) in San Francisco, the band’s home town. The highly anticipated auction, also simulcast in New York, will offer one-of-a-kind memorabilia, including original and rare works by Garcia and guitars designed specially for him.
Gracing the auction will be items including Mood River, one of only five known original oil paintings by Garcia, circa 1959. Given to his brother as a gift many years ago, the painting depicts a blue-yellow sky, pink hills and multi-colored terrain (est. $100,000-$150,000).
Other highlighted works of art will include a set of airbrush originals, circa 1985, of Alien Craft & Brain by Garcia (est. $120,000-$180,000); two Garcia sketchbooks, circa 1991, with 30 unseen original images (est. $65,000-$75,000); Rainbow Foot by Mouse and Alton Kelley (one of their earliest first collaborations), the original preliminary cover art of the well-known Europe 72 double live album, featuring a foot stepping out from under a rainbow over the Earth (est. $100,000-$150,000).
Also of note will be Garcia’s well-known original airbrush artwork Wetlands II, which features a wetland habitat of plants and water before a multi-colored sky (est. $150,000-$180,000) and his original watercolor Purple Dog, a masterwork of color (est. $25,000-$30,000).
Instruments on offer will include a well-known Garcia acoustic Takamine guitar, as seen on the album covers for Pure Jerry Vol. 8 and Ragged But Right, played from 1985-1988 for acoustic shows (est. $100,000-$150,000); an Ibanez guitar, designed for Jerry Garcia by Ibanez and Bob Weir in 1977 (est. $50,000-$60,000); and a Billy Kreutzmann drum set (est. $10,000-$15,000).
In addition, there will be a 1983 Jerry Garcia-owned Harley Davidson, featured on the cover of the book Playing in the Band by David Gans (est. $40,000-$60,000). The auction also includes handwritten set lists, Garcia’s sunglasses, the famous Skull and Roses banner from The Grateful Dead Movie and rare items from the Wall of Sound!
Also on offer is a .9999 pure gold and enamel Owsley Stanley un-numbered Steal Your Face pendant, circa 1979 (est. $7,500-$10,000). Additional items offered will include drums; speakers; amplifiers; original Rick Griffin artwork for the Dylan and the Dead album cover, gifted by Griffin to Garcia and signed by both; photos from well-known photographer Herb Greene, and more.
An illustrated catalogue for the sale will be available online in the preceding weeks, for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com.
Auction preview: May 4-7 in San Francisco and April 11-16 in New York
Auction: May 8, San Francisco, simulcast in New York