Collectors from all over the country are hoping to snap up a piece of rock history as instruments, furniture, gold records, recording equipment, and even coat racks from recording studio Caribou Ranch go up for auction.
The ranch in the foothills west of Boulder was an influential recording studio in rock and pop music for over 20 years. A fire largely destroyed the recording facility's control room in 1985 and the owners sold the property last year. A portion of the auction proceeds will go to The Colorado Music Hall of Fame.
One coveted item is likely to be the Steinway piano from the recording studio.
“That piano is synonymous with recording at Caribou Ranch. Everyone recorded on that piano,” says auctioneer Maron Hindman, managing director of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. “Everyone” included Elton John, who recorded hits like “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and Beatles cover “Lucy in Sky with Diamonds” on it. It’s estimated to sell for $10,000 to $15,000, but could go for much more than that.
“You never know what’s going to happen. Someone may pay 10 times the estimate if they really want it,” says Hindman.
The auction is located in Denver to take advantage of Caribou Ranch’s affiliation with the Rocky Mountain West, but will also be broadcast online.
“There are so many different collectors,” says Hindman. “People who collect rock-n-roll memorabilia for their homes and offices, former musicians, people who have said, ‘Oh I went to CU and we tried to break into Caribou Ranch when Chicago was playing there.’”
In addition to Chicago, items in the auction catalog associated with Joe Walsh, Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, John Lennon, Sheena Easton, Earth, Wind and Fire and Willie Nelson are on the block. This includes the beds where they slept, dressers where they stored their clothes, and coat racks where they hung their jackets.
Michael Jackson visited the ranch in 1984 at the height of his popularity. A coat he wore is estimated at $300-500. There is also a fair amount of western-style decor for sale, including innumerable saddles.
“What I really like is the Chicago III album cover artwork,” says Hindman. “I’d love to own that.”