Grateful Dead Auction is a Trip Down Memory Lane

Courtesy Photo
An item form the The Grateful Dead Family Jubilee Auction to be held April 2015.

Former employees and friends of the Grateful Dead have contributed more than 700 items for a two-day auction April 11 and 12 to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary.

Donley Auction Services in Union, Ill., about 50 miles northwest of the location of the Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” shows in July, will handle the auction of items ranging from Stanley Mouse’s original 1966 artwork for the Grateful Dead Fan Club poster to concert T-shirts.

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“When the office closed, the band said take anything you want and the stuff landed in various places,” says Dennis McNally, the band’s historian who worked as their publicist. “There’s unusual personal stuff of Jerry’s like chair he used to like sitting in, a desk, a filing cabinet. My favorite is the kitchen table Jerry used to sit at in the office.” 

Bidding for that table and chairs starts at $1,000.

Among the one-of-a-kind items are: The 1956 Chevy Bel Air Sedan used to transport band members, crew and others from 1970s on; Jerry Garcia’s black T-shirt from the final Grateful Dead show; the Grateful Dead’s approved patent document; Garcia’s Screen Actors Guild card; hand-written lyrics to “He’s Gone” and “Fire on the Mountain”; and original poster artwork.

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Organizing the auction began more than six months ago and its geographical proximity to the final shows is random, McNally says.

The auction will be held live starting at noon central on both days with online and phone bidding.

Garcia items have attracted considerable interest at previous auctions. A 2007 auction pulled in $1.1 million from items such as empty speaker boxes, guitar strings and two of his electric guitars.