Elton Piano Sells Below Estimate at Texas Auction

By | April 19, 2004 at 12:00 AM

An antique piano formerly used by Elton John and pictured on an album cover, was auctioned off over the weekend for $164,500, well below the minimum estimate of $300,000, organizers said on Sunday.

The other big seller at Heritage Galleries’ auction in Dallas on Saturday was a guitar used by late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain. It sold for $117,500, down from a minimum estimate of $250,000. (All sale prices include a 17.5 percent buyer’s fee.)

The instrument with the highest estimate, the upright bass used by late Motown session musician James Jamerson on such early ’60s tunes as “My Guy” and “Heatwave,” failed to sell.

Featured on the recent documentary “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” it carried a minimum estimate of $400,000, and was subsequently being offered on Heritage’s Web site (http://www.heritagegalleries.com) for $235,000.

The Elton John piano, currently on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, was sold on behalf of an Indianapolis collector to an anonymous foreign buyer who plans to ship it to an undisclosed location overseas, a Heritage spokesman said.

The white, 1910-era A-Day Birdcage upright is pictured on the American version of John’s “Empty Sky” album.

The Cobain guitar, a right-handed 1960’s Mosrite Gospel that was modified for the left-handed musician, was sold by him in 1992 before Nirvana gained worldwide fame. Cobain committed suicide in 1994. The name of the buyer was not disclosed.