Cash Auction Yields Nearly $4 Million

A three-day auction of items owned by the late Johnny and June Carter Cash raised nearly $4 million, more than twice the amount expected, as over 1,000 bidders snapped up property from the country mus

A three-day auction of items owned by the late Johnny and June Carter Cash raised nearly $4 million, more than twice the amount expected, as over 1,000 bidders snapped up property from the country music icons.

A 1986 Grammy that went for $187,200 was the most expensive item sold, New York auction house Sotheby's said. The winning bid was nearly 27 times the $7,000 expected price.

"We're thrilled with the results," said Leila Dunbar, head of Sotheby's collectibles department. "It's been an extremely intense group of people showing their admiration for Johnny and June, which is not surprising, given the lengths of their careers and the accomplishments of their careers."

The total for the auction was $3.98 million, Sotheby's said. The sale was expected to bring in about $1.5 million.

The Grammy that pulled in the top bid was awarded for best spoken word or nonmusical recording. Johnny Cash shared it with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Rick Nelson and record producers Sam Phillips and Chips Moman for interviews taped during a 1985 reunion of the music legends.

Dubbed the "Man in Black" because of his trademark black stage garb, Cash recorded hundreds of songs in a career spanning almost 50 years. June joined his touring show in 1960 and performed with him for three decades.

Other top bids included $131,200 for a custom-made Grammer model guitar used by Cash on his tours; the guitar was expected to bring in $10,000 to $20,000. A handcrafted black Martin guitar, often used in Cash's publicity photos, also went for $131,200; it had been expected to sell for $8,000 to $12,000.

Items closely linked with a music star's career are often most prized by collectors, Dunbar said.

The auction also included numerous pieces of furniture, fine art and jewelry collected by the couple and represented about one-third of their estate, Sotheby's said.

June Carter Cash died in May 2003 following surgery. Johnny Cash, who suffered a variety of health problems, succumbed to complications from diabetes in September 2003.

The idea of the auction came from the Cashes, who talked to Sotheby's in 2000 about disposing of some of their things, Dunbar said. After their deaths, their family finalized plans for the auction. Proceeds will go to the Cash estate.

COPYRIGHT: (c) Reuters 2004. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.