Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One that got away- the rarest Groucho Marx music sheet

Aside from collecting magazines, I've been collecting sheet music, lobby cards and other memorabilia related to the Marx Brothers for many years. One of my prize possessions is a photo that Groucho autographed for me shortly before his death.

Over the years, I have obtained virtually every piece of sheet music that the brothers, both individually and collectively appeared on- sans one- a very rare sheet of a sing entitled Mary Moore, featuring the 14 year old vaudelillian Julius Marx. About twenty years ago, I learned of its existence and obtained an image from the man in Ohio who owned it.

I didn't think I'd get the opportunity to acquire one until last week when it showed up for sale on one of my eBay searches. Since it's the "last piece of the puzzle" for this collection I was prepared to go to the mat to get it (as I said, buy the best and you'll never be sorry).
All week, two bidders had been driving the price up to the point where it reached $1525, an exorbitant but manageable amount. I figured I could snipe it at the last second for a little more and entered a bid on for a little over $2800, which I thought would do the job.

Well, the auction ended tonight. The previous high bidder had entered a top bid of $5800 but, to his surprise and mine, even that wasn't enough! The item sold for $5900, what must be a record for a piece of 20th Century sheet music.

Hopefully when the word spreads in the Marx community, another one or two might surface. Until then, I'll have to be content with a high-quality reproduction. Thank goodness it wasn't one one my magazine holy grails that I lost- now that would have really hurt!
Since this is a magazine blog, here's a couple of my favorite Marx covers.


Robert Ray said...

Item of potential interest:

A small Gerome Brush (1888-1954) painting of Harpo Marx, dated 1931. The frame measures 14 by 17 inches.

Unknown said...

I have a Radio-Television Life Magazine with Groucho on the cover. Dated September 29, 1950 vol. 22 No.5,I am trying to find out more about it. I actually have issues of tv and radio life magazines. I am looking to sell them. They have Abbot and Costello, Dennis Day, Horrace Heidt, Tennesee Ernie,and the 76 page Anniversary issue with Ozzie and Harriet, Jack Benny, Dinah Shore, etc. I wondered if someone could direct me on where to take these that they would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

cariacatures I've identified on 1925 cover:
row 1: Ina Claire, George M. Cohan
row 2: Ann Pennington, Richard Bennett, Marilyn Miller
row 3: W.C. Fields, Fanny Brice
row 4: Billie Burke, Florenz Ziegfeld, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx
row 5: Ed Wynn, Eddie Cantor, Al Jolson