[UPDATE 10/18/21]: The From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends auction took place on October 14th at Sotheby’s, where items belonging to and used by the Grateful Dead fetched face-stealing sums of money.
While the auction, which featured over 200 lots, hosted nearly 40 of Bob Weir‘s guitars—many of which he used onstage—it was Jerry Garcia‘s iconic “Budman” McIntosh 2300 amplifier that brought in the most money, selling for $378,000. The power amp, affixed with a sticker of the Budweiser “Budman” by Dead roadie Lawrence “Ram Rod” Shurtliff, was an iconic piece of equipment the guitarist used throughout his career.
“Jerry played through Fender Twins and they were loud, but everyone always wanted to be louder for the big gig, especially outdoors,” Steve Parish told Sotheby’s. “Dan Healy figured out how to take a line out from Jerry’s guitar amp, first into a McIntosh 350 tube amp during the early Wall of Sound set up. When the 2300 power amp came out we bought 70 of them, and put them throughout the system, but this is the one that Jerry liked the best and he played through it for years. It really made that Twin sound huge and became part of his signature tone at the time. At some point, Ram Rod stuck that Budweiser Budman sticker on it one day and it’s instantly recognizable as Jerry’s.”
The From the Vault auction also featured keyboards from every permanent Grateful Dead piano player from Ron “Pigpen” McKernan to Keith Godchaux to Brent Mydland to Vince Welnick. Even a couple of Jerry Garcia’s keyboards went to auction. A 1960s Wurlitzer Pigpen played onstage fetched $52,920, with Parish claiming it was the last remaining keyboard from the Dead’s original frontman.
The auction hosted a wide range of equipment used in the creation of the band’s infamous Wall of Sound PA system. With a large number of items coming from the collections of Parish and the late Ram Rod, many of the lots dealt with the technical side of the Dead, from Jerry Garcia’s final speaker cabinet (sold for $226,800) to pieces of the onstage installations designed by Jan Sawka used as the backdrop on the Dead’s 25th-anniversary tour. Various other odds and ends were sold, including an alchemy set used by audio engineer/prolific LSD chemist Owsley “Bear” Stanley III ($69,300) to Ram Rod’s Merry Pranksters-style jumpsuit (N/A).
Click here to see the details and sale numbers from the Sotheby’s From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends auction.
[8/26/21]: Items belonging to members of the Grateful Dead and members of their extended production family will go up for auction this fall at Sotheby’s. Among the items headed to the auction block are a guitar owned by Jerry Garcia, pieces of the infamous Wall of Sound, and more.
Set to go on exhibition October 9th–13th at Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries, From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends will feature memorabilia from throughout the band’s 30-year history. Jerry’s 12-string Guild Starfire guitar, used onstage, is the highest-profile item, estimated to sell for $50,000–$70,000.
1990s-era stage racks used by Garcia and Bob Weir (estimated $10,000-$15,000 each) and Garcia’s McIntosh 2300 amplifier with “Budman” sticker ($5,000-$7,000) will also be going up for sale.
The From the Vault auction also features items from the Dead’s legendary road crew, including personal effects from “Big” Steve Parish and Lawrence “Ram Rod” Shurtliff—like the latter’s psychedelic jumpsuit (estimated $20,000-$30,000). Fans can also go home with a piece of the Grateful Dead’s groundbreaking Wall of Sound PA system by bidding on McIntosh amps and hand-built stage cabinets used by Weir, Garcia, and Mickey Hart (estimated from $2,000).
Related: Grateful Dead, Rhino Announce Partnership With The Coda Collection For Archival Concerts [Watch]
A chemistry set once owned by the Dead’s former soundman and “Alice D. Millionaire” Owsley “Bear” Stanley III is also available for bidding ($10,000-$15,000), as well as Garcia’s skull-embroidered custom Nudie pants; worn during a few shows in Texas ($20,000-$30,000), and t-shirts from the band’s longest-serving sound engineer Dan Healy. The Dan Healy t-shirts will be available for immediate purchase on Sotheby’s Buy Now marketplace in October when the auction goes live.
“From the Ken Kesey era “Acid Test” days through to the final years – a long, strange trip from counterculture icons to the definitive American band – this auction is a unique opportunity for Deadheads to celebrate the band’s enduring ethos right from the soundboard,” Sotheby’s said of the auction.
For more information on the From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends auction at Sotheby’s head here. The items will be on preview at the Sotheby’s New York gallery through August 30th before going to York.