He may have been known as the 'man in black', but it was a blue prison jumpsuit from his 1969 San Quentin concert that attracted the highest price in Julien's Johnny Cash auction last week.
The sale, which included signed guitars, hand-written lyrics, clothing and personal letters gave Cash fans a truly unique insight into his career and often controversial life. And collectors turned out in their numbers to compete for the 321 lots, which eventually sold for over $700,000, almost doubling the pre-sale estimate.
The embroidered jumpsuit, immortalised in the infamous photo of Cash known as 'The Finger', had an estimated price of $3,000 - $5,000 but fierce bidding saw it eventually sold for an amazing $50,000.
The other top-selling lot was a Martin D-28 acoustic guitar, stage-used and signed by Cash in 1989 with four lines from his iconic song "Walk The Line".
The guitar was also featured on the cover of the 1982 live album "The Survivors" which saw a reunion of Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, and beat its estimated price of $20,000 - $30,000 to sell for $50,000.
Also featured in the sale were several other notable guitars owned and played by the man himself. A signed Martin 0-15 acoustic guitar sold for $27,500, an inscribed Grammer S50 guitar specially designed for Cash and used extensively on his 1960s television show sold for $29,440 and a Valencia acoustic model signed by all four members of the Highwaymen (comprising Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson) made $25,600.
Other items sold included his 1968 passport ($21,875), a pair of knee-high boots ($22,400) and shirt worn by Cash during the American Bicentennial parade in 1976 which sold for $25,000.
The sale proved once again that Johnny Cash's legacy remains as strong as ever, remembered through his timeless songs and rebellious spirit. And this legendary status means that his memorabilia, as with that of many other iconic musicians, will continue to grow in value over the years.
Investing in music memorabilia may not afford you a rock-star lifestyle, but with the market booming and prices rising the results might just get you on your way...
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