Recently, a dude in Providence, Rhode Island, put up several photos he had from the collection of the late jazz-session photographer and album-cover designer, Burt Goldblatt. I found them all very interesting but especially since I collect anything having to do with the Prez there were three I really wanted badly, two proof sheets of Prez blowing and one a photo of Prez with Buck Clayton and Jack Teagarden blowing at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. Several others, including two of Billy Strayhorn and two headshots of Duke, I was ready to go after in case I didn't get the Prezes.
Luckily I stood steadfast with my bidding and won the first Prez proof sheet, a contact sheet showing Prez blowing though in two shots he's standing with Jimmy Rushing.
The second Prez proof sheet evidently found by a new audience, and was immediately swept up out of my price range, ending going for $202.00. Disappointed, I decided, dammit, I was going to get the Prez at Newport no matter what it cost me and I threw a substantially high maximum bid on it and in the meantime noticed that the Duke headshots weren't attracting much attention at all and one was closing at $20 and the other one, the one I decided I really wanted, was closing at a measly $12. Obviously, shots of Duke aren't very well appreciated. I ended up getting a head shot of Duke, an unusual one to boot, for $14.00.
In the meantime, the Prez at Newport was closing and I still had it, even though it was rising in bids up close to my maximum. Finally it closed and I won it.
Others this guy had for sale included a great shot of Ray Nance practicing his violin backstage somewhere that I let get away for a lousy $9.00. There was a great old shot of Paul Chambers (Mr. P.C.) that I was going to bid on but just as I did, the bidding shot it up to over $100 so I bailed out.
All in all, this dude from Providence cleaned up pretty damn good. A couple of Miles Davis proof sheets sold for around $250 each. Those shots of Billy Strayhorn eventually sold for $150 and $180. Two great photos of John Coltrane topped $300 each (I had dropped out on these at $100). A shot of James P. Johnson with Mezz Mezzrow sold for way over $100. A shot of 52nd Street sold for a reasonable $50. A couple of Dizzy Gillespie shots went reasonably, too, one for a mere $16.00. But the surprise of the show turned out to be a photo of the blues pianist and singer, Peter Chatmon, better known as Memphis Slim. This photo, who I as a blues aficianado figured wouldn't sell for much at all ended up selling for over $1,000.
(not his real name)