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Rock Fans Go Rolling With Cyber Auction

By Neil Graves from New York Post, June 04, 2000 | Other
Park those fancy bidding paddles - if you want a piece of Elvis Presley or Eric Clapton memorabilia at Sotheby's nowadays, all you have to do is point and click. "This is our first major collectibles [auction] online," said Giles Moon, the East Side emporium's rock specialist.

He said a psychedelic guitar played by Clapton in the mid to late '60s, when the rock legend was with the band Cream, has already broken an Internet record - and there are still four more days to go . "The bid is already for $120,000," said Moon, adding that it's estimated the 1961 Gibson SG model will reach $200,000.

Music buffs and investors have until Tuesday evening to sign on at www.sothebys.amazon.com - then mortgage the house. The previous high bid for a collectible at Sotheby's, which opened its e-bidding arm last November, was $88,000 for a rare edition of "The Boke of Hawkynge and Huntynge and Fsshynge" - the 1518 version of a publication like "Field & Stream."

Bidding for Elvis' duds - corduroy pants worn in the King's debut film, "Love Me Tender," and a leather jacket from the 1964 film "Roustabout" - may reach $10,000 for the jacket and $15,000 for the pants. But the piece de resistance - Presley's handwritten list of the songs he sang at his last performance, on June 26, 1977, two months before he died - won't go cheap.

The single sheet from a yellow legal pad - complete with a coffee stain - is estimated to go for $10,000 to $15,000. "Between songs, Elvis would go backstage and refer to his list he wrote out," said Moon. "In the past, his set-lists have sold for $7,500, but they were nothing of this significance."

Not that Elvis' chicken-scratching will be the most expensive sheet of paper in cyber-land. That will go to the Doors' Jim Morrison, whose handwritten lyrics to "Love Me Two Times" is expected to fetch between $25,000 to $35,000.

The collectibles will be on display at the York Avenue auction house today through Tuesday. Assistant rock specialist Laura Woolley said people who still think a mouse is a four-legged cretin can sign on at Sotheby's fifth-floor cyber-gallery, which has about a dozen computers.

"Live bidders are very open to bidding online," Woolley said. Late Tuesday night will be no time for the faint of heart, the auctioneers said. "Forty percent of the bids are on the last day," said Robbins, "most within the last two hours."