An auction of Grateful Dead memorabilia Tuesday brought in more than $1.1 million for items collected by the band’s longtime road manager.
The collection of Lawrence “Ram Rod” Shurtliff included a 1975 cream-colored Travis Bean electric guitar played by vocalist and lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, which fetched $312,000, according to Bonhams & Butterfields Auctioneers.
Deadheads bidding by phone and in the crowded auction room bid up prices for band photos, original album artwork, guitars and other musical gear collected by Shurtliff over decades.
A leather guitar strap worn by Garcia on stage around 1973 sold for $20,400 — four times the estimated selling price. A flight case containing Garcia’s picks, unopened guitar strings and other accessories sold for $16,800. Garcia, who struggled with drug addiction throughout his life, died of a heart attack in 1995.
Shurtliff passed away in 2006. He started as a truck driver for the band in 1967 and went on to become president of the group’s board of directors when the Dead incorporated in the 1970s.