Caribou Ranch and Recording Studio Auction Makes Music History at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and Draws Competitive Bidders from Around the World
Music fans packed the Denver Design Center on January 24, vying for the chance to own a piece of music history at The Caribou Ranch and Studio Memorabilia Auction conducted by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. The evening drew over 1,500 bidders, including locals from Nederland, Boulder and Denver who attended the live auction after eagerly anticipating the event.
“It’s obvious that nostalgia played a role in the outcome of this sale,” said Auctioneer Maron Hindman. “The music created at Caribou Ranch resonates across generations. Music fans wanting to own a piece of its history are the ones that ultimately made the sale a huge success.”
The bronze bell used outside the Mess Hall to call guests to dinner sold for $13,750 (against a pre-sale estimate of $200-400). Results like these are telling of the sentiment bidders felt towards the unique and iconic Caribou accommodations and their influence on music history.
The stoic bedroom set made of burl walnut, mahogany and oak from the Ouray presidential suite sold for $17,500 (against a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-9,000). The bed and chest with mirror were originally built for President Grover Cleveland and used by numerous artists including Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis and Michael Jackson.
Fans were competitively bidding on the large collection of Chicago memorabilia, which included promotional LPs, platinum record awards and album art and together brought over $34,000. The original album artwork designed by John Berg for the Chicago III album, depicting the Chicago logo on a worn American flag, sold for $5,000 (against a pre-sale estimate of $800-1,200). The Gibson Thunderbird bass often used by Chicago bassist Terry Kath sold for $6,250 (against a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-2,000).
Other recording studio instruments performed well, especially the two most used pianos for writing and recording at Caribou Ranch. The mahogany Steinway & Sons grand piano used while recording almost all of Elton John’s Caribou album, including “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” sold for $112,500 (against a pre-sale estimate of $10,000-15,000).
The Wm. Knabe & Co. baby grand piano used by nearly every guest staying in the Ouray cabin sold for $52,500 (against a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-2,000). Artists who worked on this piano include Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa, Stephen Stills, Peter Cetera, Elton John and Dan Fogelberg.
The Hammond B3 Organ located in the recording studio and used by artists such as Chicago, Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, Joe Walsh and Earth, Wind & Fire sold for $11,250 (against a pre-sale estimate of $7,000-9,000).
Distinctly western art and furniture such as bronze figures, impressive taxidermy, western prints and leather saddles all found enthusiastic bidders. One example is a full body taxidermy mountain lion, which sold for $11,875 (against a pre-sale estimate of $600-800).
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers began festivities with a preview party on January 17 that drew over 300 attendees. Guests included artists that recorded at Caribou Ranch, its famed founder James Guercio and the Guercio family. The exhibition remained open to the public all week and had hundreds of visitors before Saturday’s sale.
Many came away with one-of-a-kind items from a recording studio that hosted over 178 musicians during its tenure and produced 45 top ten albums, 18 Grammys and 20 number-one Billboard Hits. Caribou Ranch was enjoyed by the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel, Jeff Beck, the Beach Boys, Frank Zappa, Stephen Stills, Willie Nelson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago and many others. With Caribou’s doors closed, winning bidders are now the keepers of its iconic music memorabilia.
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and the Guercio family are pleased to donate a portion of proceeds from the sale to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
Additional results can be found here