Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bill Monroe's mandolin continues to make history

By Keith Lawrence
Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer

OWENSBORO, Ky. — A 7-inch mandolin headstock veneer defaced by Bill Monroe nearly half a century ago sold at auction Dec. 3 for $37,500.
That's $5,357.15 an inch.
Christie's auction house in New York City had estimated that the piece would sell for between $5,000 and $7,000.
She wasn't the buyer, but Gabrielle Gray, executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky., was the last bidder to drop out before the piece of bluegrass history was sold.
"People at Christie's were shocked at the price," she said Thursday. "But it's folklore. It's one of a kind. It came from the most famous mandolin in the world. It's at the heart and soul of bluegrass music. It could have sold for $100,000."
Gray did come away from the auction with a 14 ½-inch statue that was presented posthumously to Monroe when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

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