SAN FRANCISCO – An attic’s worth of memories associated with the Grateful Dead or its leader, Jerry Garcia, fetched high dollar at auction Tuesday. According to Bonhams & Butterfields Auctioneers, enthusiastic Grateful Dead fans, “many of whom appeared to be in an altered state of consciousness,” spent more than $10.1 million for items ranging from Mr. Garcia’s guitars to a pair of his stained jockey shorts.
Top-grossing item in the 166-lot sale was Mr. Garcia’s 1975 cream-colored Travis Bean electric guitar, offered with an unopened pack of his Camel unfiltered cigarettes, which brought $512,000. A cracked, mildewed, leather guitar strap worn by Mr. Garcia on stage circa 1973 sold for $30,400—four times the estimated selling price. A flight case containing Mr. Garcia’s rusted used guitar strings, several roach clips, and a soiled takeout menu from the China King restaurant in Akron, Ohio, sold for $26,800. Empty speaker boxes used to smuggle hashish back from the Dead’s 1972 European tour fetched between $1900 and $3,680.
Local authorities reported that despite the heavy scent of marijuana in the air, the patrons in the crowded auction room were well behaved.
“There was only one arrest for possession with intent to distribute, two overdoses, and no live births during the auction,” said an undercover San Francisco policeman. “That’s about what we anticipated for a Dead gathering of this size.”
In the parking lot outside the auction house the smell of grilled cheese sandwiches and patchouli was everywhere. A crestfallen, middle-aged woman who said her name was Sugar Magnolia sat on a battered foldong chair–not a leopard-skin bean bag chair, as had been widely speculated–clutching a frayed rope attached to a scruffy-looking dog.
“I drove all the way ‘cross country to bid on Jerry’s jockey shorts,” Ms. Magnolia sobbed, “but I missed the auction, man, because I had a massive flashback listening to all the Dead songs here in the lot, and I couldn’t get my shit together.”
Ms. Magnolia said she was “positive Jerry was singing right at me, man, that night in Philadelphia when he came in those shorts.”
The shorts in question, 4XL (48-50), were sold online to a bidder representing the same gambling casino that had purchased one of Mr. Garcia’s toilets several years ago.
Mr. Garcia, who waged losing battles with heroin and Haagen-Dazs ice cream, died in his sleep of a heart attack in a posh rehab center twelve years ago this August. I am sure many people will send flowers to his grave site.
Today’s Joke: (Q) What did Grateful Dead fans say when they ran out of dope? (A) This band sucks.
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