Russell Crowe's collection goes under the hammer
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 3rd April, 2018
The 1986 Grammy Award for the Best Spoken Word or Non Musical Recording for Interviews from the Class of ’55 Recording Session presented at the time to several rock and roll and country legends will be auctioned on Saturday April 7 as part of the private collection of actor, film producer, director and musician Russell Crowe.
The award, with a catalogue estimate of $200,000-$300,000, was presented to music icons Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Sam Phillips, Rick Nelson and Chips Morman who, along with Elvis Presley and many other rock and roll and country greats, all commenced their careers during the 1950s at Sun Studios in Memphis.
Together, they created a momentous collaborative album called Class of ’55: Memphis Rock & Roll Homecoming, which reached number 15 on the country music charts.
Entitled Russell Crowe: The Art of Divorce, Sotheby’s Australia is holding the auction (worth an estimated $2.6 million to $3.7 million) from 6pm at Carriageworks 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh in Sydney.
Apart from the prominent Grammy Award, the sale features a selection of significant musical instruments including a concert level violin by leading Italian violinmaker of the late 19th and early 20th centuries Leandro Bisiach Snr, whose workshop was based in Milan.
Inspired by the violins of Andrea Guarneri who worked in Cremona from about 1650-1698, the instrument was purchased by Crowe for his role as Captain Jack Aubrey in the 2003 film Master and Commander.
Originally the props department handed him a much heavier and darker German violin but Crowe believed that, for all his gruffness, Aubrey would play a much finer instrument.
“My life has always been interwoven with music,” he said. “Beat, rhythm, tone, pitch, they all contribute to elevating or grounding the soul. Captain Jack Aubrey’s violin has a special place in my heart. It is a serious concert violin and should be played rather than just sit accusingly across from me in my office gathering dust.”
Another instrument of note is a rare 1870s Martin 2-42 parlour natural acoustic guitar.
Since their introduction, Martin’s ‘Style-42’ instruments have been regarded as the pinnacle of flat top guitar artistry.
This particular example was crafted in New York and is beautifully ornamented and, while small by today’s standards, was the third largest of the manufacturer’s line when made.
In addition to the Martin example, there are 18 acoustic and electric guitars dating from the 1950s to 2006 in the collection.
Crowe also is an ardent sports fan and included among his collection are many items significant items of Australian and international sporting history from baseball, boxing, cricket, rugby, swimming and tennis.
Cousins to Jeff and Martin Crowe, who both captained the New Zealand national Test cricket side, Crowe invested heavily to take his beloved rugby league team South Sydney Rabbitohs to a 2014 premiership and 2015 World Cup championship.
Highlights of the sporting memorabilia collection include Australian wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield’s framed baggy green cap (who played Test cricket from 1919-1937) and life-size bronze statue iconic Australian batsman Donald Bradman by Carl Valerius.