Roy Eldridge goes under the hammer

A fascinating collection of trumpeter Roy Eldridge’s personal effects is up for auction, including instruments, records, sheet music and much more

Jazz collectors have a chance to bid on a unique collection of historic jazz memorabilia from 13 to 20 March, when a selection of trumpeter Roy Eldridge’s personal effects goes up for auction on

The collection, which chronicles the life and career of “Little Jazz”, includes letters, Christmas cards, contracts, sheet music, photos, posters, and Eldridge’s own trumpets and cornet.

Roy Eldridge (1911-1989), considered in the scheme of jazz history to have been the bridge between Louis Armstrong and the bebop of Dizzy Gillespie, played drums first before being persuaded to take up the trumpet by his brother, Joe. In his decade-spanning career he was a favourite bandmate among players such as Artie Shaw, Gene Krupa, Coleman Hawkins and Charles Mingus, as well as touring with Ella Fitzgerald from 1963 to 1965 and with Count Basie in 1966.

The collection of Eldridge’s souvenirs from a lifetime in jazz is being auctioned by RR Auction. The Boston, USA based company have been auctioning rare items since 1980, including JFK’s 1963 convertible for $318,000 and Truman Capote’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s manuscript for $300,000.

Also included in the Eldridge collection are hundreds of handwritten pieces of sheet music such as Cottontail, Let Me Off Uptown and Rockin’ Chair, recordings of rehearsals and live concerts, award plaques from Down Beat (1946) and the Blue Note (1984), Eldridge’s own black beret, and an incomplete autobiography he began writing in the 1950s.

Items are said to be in good condition except for some damage from exposure to heat and damp. Viewing is recommended as no returns are accepted. The starting bid is $5,000, and bidding is from 13 to 20 March 2014 at

Sally Evans-Darby

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