NEW YORK.- On July 17, Christie's will present to collectors and fans alike The James Brown Collection. More than 320 lots from Mr. Browns South Carolina home feature everything from his iconic stage worn jumpsuits and capes, to his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction award to handwritten lyrics.
James Browns legacy has dominated the landscape of American pop culture for the past half century. From his prolific career as a singer, songwriter, performer and record producer to his activism on behalf of the African-American community and the less fortunate, his influence was both dynamic and profound.
Beginning his career in the early 1950s, Brown rose to prominence on the strength of his live performances, and string of classic R&B and Soul hits, including Papas Got a Brand New Bag, I Got You (I Feel Good), Its a Mans, Mans, Mans World, Please Please Please, Say It Loud Im Black and Im Proud, and Get Up (I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine). He laid the foundations for genres like Funk and Hip Hop while deeply influencing international music like Reggae and Afro-beat. His style, which influenced street fashion and generations of performers to come, was often imitated but never duplicated.
Sale highlights include costumes such as a blue denim GFOS (Godfather of Soul) stage-worn jumpsuit from the 1974 concert preceding the Rumble in the Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (estimate: $5,000-7,000); a red 'Sex' jumpsuit (estimate: $5,000-7,000); a black cape embroidered in metallic thread James Brown (estimate: $15,000-20,000). Other articles from Mr. Browns wardrobe include groupings of sunglasses, hats, scarves, bow ties and shoes.
Over his lifetime, Mr. Brown was honored with dozens of awards and accolades. This sale includes over fifty such awards such as the Kennedy Center Honor from 2003 (estimate: $10,000-15,000), the NAACP Image award (estimate: $3,000-5,000), and Mr. Browns 1986 Grammy for Living in America (estimate: $15,000-20,000).
Instruments reflective of his prodigious talents consist of guitars, organs, synthesizers, a tambourine, and a keytar. Especially noteworthy is Mr. Browns Yamaha baby grand piano (estimate: $15,000-20,000) and his Hammond B-3 electric organ with Leslie speakers (estimate: $15,000-20,000).
Finally, the sale offers an array of Mr. Browns personal effects including a childhood photograph (estimate: $500-700), a variety of handwritten notes and letters (estimates start at $300), Mr. Browns personal stereo (estimate: $1,000-1,500), a collection of 31 records from Mr. Browns personal archives from the 1950s-1980s (estimate: $800-1,200), and a selection of furniture including a metallic green vinyl-covered demi-lune sofa (estimate: $1,000-1,500).