Julien’s auction house will soon offer up memorabilia owned by late music star Kenny Rogers.
During his seven decades in music, Rogers earned three Grammy Awards and six Country Music Association Awards (including the Willie Nelson lifetime achievement award and male vocalist of the year honors). In 2013, he received country music’s highest honor: induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Rogers became a music icon, known for hits such as “Lady,” “Lucille,” “The Gambler,” “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” (from Kenny Rogers and the First Edition), as well as Dolly Parton collaborations including “Islands in the Stream” (1983) and “Real Love” (1985). Rogers also forged a career as an actor, with roles in The Gambler series, Rio Diablo and more. Rogers died on March 20, 2020, at the age of 81.
The three-day auction, set for Oct. 21-23 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills and online at julienslive.com, will include numerous items from Rogers’ home in Sandy Springs, Ga. A public exhibition of the Rogers memorabilia will be held at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills on Oct. 17-21.
The items up for auction include a framed group of signed soloist lead sheets from the charity single “We Are the World,” with signatures from artists Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and more.
Other items include signed portraits of Jackson as well as actress/comedian Lucille Ball. Additionally, there is a collection of celebrity letters and documents that includes messages from U.S. presidents, including George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Other celebrity letters include those from Gene Autry, Engelbert Humperdinck, Barry Manilow and Chris Stapleton.
Notably, there are also two letters from Rogers’ famed collaborator Parton. There is a typed letter from Parton to Rogers from 2016, where Parton thanks Rogers for his help in developing Parton’s Imagination Library at Dollywood. Parton writes in the letter, “I do truly mean it when I say I will always love you. We will always stay in touch. I’ll always send you a message by pony express… you know how high tech I am! But we’ll always find each other.” She also signs her name along with the words, “I will always love you.” A second letter from Parton references Rogers’s final performance, writing, “And speaking of brightening up the room, we sure brightened up the room the other night! It was so good to be on stage with you again for one last time. Can’t wait for the special to air.”
There are also wardrobe items from Rogers’ career, including a raw silk shirt, neckerchief and trousers from the 1983 production of The Gambler: The Adventure Continues. There are also stage jackets and suits, a collection of Rogers’ personal photography equipment, and a gold digital sales commemoration of Rogers’ Parton duet “Islands in the Stream.”
The collection also includes pieces of Rogers’s performance equipment, including the stool he used during most of his live appearances during the later years of his life, as well as road cases from his years of performing, a sleigh that was stage-used for his holiday performances, and All-Access passes, including ones used during The Gambler’s Last Deal tour.
“Kenny Rogers connected millions of people around the world with his distinctive voice, boundary transcending chart toppers, indelible performances and universally loved personality,” said Martin Nolan, executive director/CFO of Julien’s Auctions, via a statement. “His classic hits ‘Lucille,’ ‘Islands in the Stream,’ and ‘The Gambler’ are part of the great American music canon and serve as cornerstones of his distinguished legacy as a global superstar, pop culture icon and one of the most successful cross-over artists of all time who helped propel country music to the mainstream. We are honored to work with the Kenny Rogers Estate in offering this exclusive collection featuring hundreds of his most cherished artifacts and personal mementos amassed throughout his groundbreaking six-decade career.”
A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit Music Health Alliance, an organization dedicated to advocacy and providing access to healthcare resources that impact music professionals.
“For years Julien’s Auctions has been a strong partner for Music Health Alliance, and we cannot thank them and the Rogers family enough for their generosity in supporting our critical work to heal the music. This is another shining example of the people in the music industry working together to help those in the industry who are vulnerable and need help,” Tatum Allsep, Music Health Alliance founder/CEO, told Billboard via a statement.