Besides the second coming of Jerry Garcia, a charity auction underway via eBay comprises what may be the ultimate dream come true for a Grateful Dead fan. The prize up for grabs is a private tour of t

Besides the second coming of Jerry Garcia, a charity auction underway via eBay comprises what may be the ultimate dream come true for a Grateful Dead fan. The prize up for grabs is a private tour of the band's San Francisco production facility conducted by archivist David Lemieux, and the chance to meet Dead guitarist/singer Bob Weir, along with a host of other Dead goodies.

The Rhino Records auction comes in conjunction with the upcoming release of "The Golden Road (1965-1973)," the label's 12-disc box set chronicling the Dead's Warner Bros. years. As previously reported, along with remastered and bolstered editions of the group's 10 Warner Bros. albums, a pair of compilations -- one of live and one of studio recordings -- dubbed "The Birth of the Dead" will round out the collection.

The tour is more or less a visit to the tangible legacy of the Grateful Dead, as the facility houses memorabilia rooms, a recording studio, and the band's coveted vault. The source of recent years' "Dick's Picks" (named for late Dead archivist Dick Lavata) and other live Dead releases, the state of the art vault holds more than 10,000 hours of live audio tapes and more than 3,000 hours of video.

In addition to the tour, Weir will autograph several items for the winning bidder, who will also receive roundtrip airfare and a hotel stay, a videotape of the visit, and a host of Dead souvenirs, including a copy of "The Golden Road (1965-1973)."

The auction is one of many that Rhino has ongoing through a new association with eBay, including for items relating to the Ramones, INXS, Echo & the Bunnymen, the Doobie Brothers, and George Benson. Bidding on the Dead package, which began yesterday (July 12) and will be open through July 22, had reached more than $8,000 at deadline.

Proceeds will benefit the Rex Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization established in 1983 by the band to encourage creative endeavors in the arts, sciences, and education through community support.