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You Can Purchase Duke Ellington’s Grand Piano and Other Rare Artifacts in an Upcoming Auction

You Can Purchase Duke Ellington’s Grand Piano and Other Rare Artifacts in an Upcoming Auction
Photo courtesy of Flickr user U.S. Embassy New Delhi.

A chance to see rare Duke Ellington artifacts is enough of a reason to hop a bus or train up to New York. But, for jazz aficionados, May 18 at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem offers an even rarer opportunity: getting to own some of the Washington-born artist’s personal belongings. The museum is auctioning off over 250 items, which range from dinner jackets and original paintings of his to the White Baby Grand Piano he was known to play.

The auction is also a chance to bring some of the pianist’s artifacts back to DC, the city where he grew up and started his jazz career; the National Museum of American History currently houses some Ellington artifacts in its archives, such as a manuscript from his enduring 1941 standard “Take the ‘A’ Train,” but it’s missing a lot. Here are some of the items fans can purchase in the auction, in addition to the grand piano, which’ll inevitably end up looking great in your record-listening room if you can score it.

duke jacket
A dinner jacket that Ellington wore during performances in the ’60s. All auction photos courtesy of 5WPR.
duke painting
A painting by Ellington titled “Satin Doll.”
duke mood indigo
Sheet music from the 1930 Ellington composition “Mood Indigo.”
duke pulitzer
Ellington’s posthumous Pulitzer.
duke medal
Ellington’s 1959 Spingarn Medal from NAACP for his works that honored and celebrate the black American experience.

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