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Ready, Set, Auction – How Niche Auctions Are Sweeping Up This Summer

While Christie’s and Sotheby’s are known for their massive art auctions throughout the year, a different kind of auction experience is taking center stage this summer.

Niche auctions have been sprouting up all over the country to bring unique and culturally significant items to the block. Everything is up for grabs! From the shoes Michael Jackson wore the first time he moonwalked to Prince’s bible and the clothes he wore on stage, or a variety of historically important African American treasures from Guernsey’s auction house in New York City, which we have the privilege of working with this year.

Up first is the Heritage Auctions, who will place 27 personal items from the late singer Prince on the block on July 21st in Dallas, Texas. Featured items include Prince’s silk suit, his Roberto Cavalli sunglasses, his travel bible and his black suede wedge shoes. The auction will also feature The Who’s Pete Townsend Stratocaster guitar, Tom Petty’s Gibson SG Cherry Electric guitar, and Glen Campbell’s Dobro Californian Resonator guitar.

 Guernsey’s auction house is known for their more unusual treasures, having sold everything from the doors of the Chelsea Hotel where Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Andy Warhol had stayed, to Jerry Garcia’s famed guitar, Wolf, and a large collection of John F. Kennedy memorabilia. This time around, Guernsey’s has turned its focus to the Civil Rights Movement and African American culture. The auction, which will feature over 700 items, includes everything from the famous house where Rosa Parks stayed after fleeing to Detroit, her handwritten thoughts on the day she first met Dr. Martin Luther King and Alex Haley’s manuscript for the Malcolm X biography with the lost pages.

Music also plays an important role with items including The Jackson 5’s first record professional recording contract, signed between their father, Joe Jackson, and Steeltown Records and a large collection of the Temptations’ original sheet music, as well as sheets for the Isley Brothers and Marvin Gaye. Complete with handwritten edits and notes, these are the scores for such songs as the Temptations’ ‘Ball of Confusion,’ and ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone,’ the Isley Brothers’ ‘It’s Your Thing,’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘Mercy Mercy Me. Jazz’s greatest piano players, Art Tatum’s stunning Steinway Grand piano, and a vintage Bulova wrist watch inscribed to the pianist and given to him by none other than Frank Sinatra will also be available. The auction will take place on July 25th and 26th at the historic George F. Baker Mansion on the corner of Park Avenue and 93rd Street.

The auctions are primed to bring in big numbers and we can’t wait to see the results!