Trumpets have an allure that is hard to describe, even when they are silent. When they are as gorgeous as the 1957 Martin Committee Model , Lot 128, that once belonged to Miles Davis, they are even more irresistible. With a blue-green finish, keys inlaid with mother-of-pearl, a separate mouthpiece, accompanied by a document concerning its provenance, the only thing missing is the genius that once played it. The lot has an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. It failed to sell.
The document states that in 1966 the trumpet was given by Miles Davis, a huge boxing fan, to Ray Robinson II, son of the boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson. Davis, a special fan of the boxing superstar, was instrumental in encouraging his retirement after his final fight with Joey Archer in 1965: "Sugar, it's time man" was all he had to say. Robinson retired the next day. This trumpet could only have complemented a man who was not only a jazz legend in his own lifetime, but also extremely handsome. Christie's catalog offers some history:
"The Martin Committee Model was originally designed in the late 1930s for the Martin Band Instrument Company by a "committee" which included brass instrument makers Renold Schilke, Vincent Bach, Elden Benge, and Foster Reynolds. Miles Davis played custom made Committees throughout his career." It is easy to see why.
Lot 125, five of 25 sketches by Miles Davis, circa 1980
As if being a musical genius was not enough, Miles Davis was also a wonderful artist, and some of his vibrant sketches including a sketchbook with 25 sketches, Lot 125, that has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $6,600.
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