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A Tribute to The Man in Black and The Woman He Loved

Sotheby's Auction - September 14-16th, 2004


This September, Sotheby's is honored to offer property from The Estate of Johnny and June Carter Cash. The sale, to be held September 14-16 in New York, will be a celebration of the half-century careers of two of the most important figures in country music history. More than 650 lots will be featured, including historic awards, instruments, stage-worn clothing, gold and platinum records, handwritten lyrics, and items from the Cash's personal collection of fine art, furniture and decorations, jewelry and even Johnny Cash's 2002 Ford F-150 black pick-up truck. An exhibition of the entire Collection will be held September 7-13 at Sotheby's galleries in New York.

"Over the course of five decades, Johnny and June Carter Cash's music and lyrics touched the hearts and minds of millions, from prison inmates to presidents," commented Leila Dunbar, Director of Sotheby's Collectible's Department. "It is such a privilege to pay tribute to Johnny Cash and the love of his life, June Carter Cash.

In 2003, Country Music Television named Johnny Cash the 'Greatest Man in Country Music,' but his influence extended far beyond any specific genre with his ability to blend the lines between country, folk, gospel, rock and pop. He and June Carter are true American icons, and this sale presents countless opportunities for collectors as well as fans of The Man in Black."

The Collection
Perhaps the Cash's most prized possessions were their instruments, and the sale features more than 50 examples that were owned and played by both Johnny and June Carter Cash. Among them the piano from the Cash's Hendersonville, Tennessee home that was featured in the 2002 "Hurt" video (est. $3/5,000), a 1997 Martin black D-42JC custom guitar (number three of 200 made) designed for Johnny Cash and used in 1999 recording sessions (est. $10/15,000), as well as numerous other important guitars and banjos and a selection of harmonicas and guitar picks.

Handwritten lyrics of important musicians are highly sought after by collectors and the sale features more than 30 lots of such material, including a 1950s notebook of Cash handwritten and dated lyrics including such early Sun Record hits as "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Get Rhythm," and "I Get So Doggone Lonesome" (est. $4/6,000). Other highlights include unpublished lyrics encompassing such diverse topics as love, humor, faith and the battle with addiction.

Over the course of his life, Johnny Cash won 13 Grammy Awards, and seven are featured in the sale with estimates ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. Among them are the 1968 Best Male Vocal award for "Folsom Prison Blues" and the 1997 Best Country Album for "Unchained." Johnny Cash was also honored with many Country Music Association Awards over the years and four are included (est. $3/5,000 each). In 1996, Johnny was awarded with the Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award and offered in the sale is the award, along with a photo and invitations to the ceremony (est. $6/8,000). Also included are numerous Gold and Platinum Records for such albums as "A Boy Named Sue", "Ring of Fire" and "I Walk the Line" (est. $3/4,000 each).

Johnny Cash's inimitable style - there was a reason why he was known as the "Man in Black" - is well represented in the auction including numerous pieces of clothing, both personal attire and stage-worn costumes, many of which were custom-made by noted country music tailor Manuel. Just a few of the items include a Manuel black suede fringe coat worn in the 2002 "Hurt" video (Est. $3/5,000) and a Manuel black leather and vintage Indian blanket long coat made especially for Johnny Cash's personal use (est. $6/8,000). Also included are several pairs of boots, hats, shirts and dusters, as well as a variety of gowns, fur coats and outfits worn by June Carter Cash.

Over their 40+ years together, Johnny and June Carter Cash amassed a personal collection of fine art, furniture and decorative pieces and jewelry that reflected their lifestyle. Highlighting the selection are two bronzes by Frederic Remington: The Bronco Buster (est. $40/60,000) and The Outlaw, each estimated to sell for $40/60,000. The sale also features a lovely group of silver pieces including a pair of silver dessert stands by Tiffany & Co. (est. $15/20,000), as well as a Belgian Baroque style carved walnut buffet (est. $10/15,000), and a Jacobean style walnut bedstead (est. $4/6,000).

Also included are myriad photographs, concert posters, letters, and personal items such as binoculars, canes, cancelled checks, credit cards, passports, driver's licenses and Johnny Cash's collection of honorary sheriffs' badges.

Courtesy of Sotheby's

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