Known as the “Auction House to the Stars,” Darren Julien and his partner Martin Nolen have been putting up one of a kind celebrity collectors items on the auction block for ten years now at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills.
One upcoming auction is expected to draw in major celebrities and musicians all bidding on extremely rare and original Les Paul guitars and collectables owned personally by the iconic guitar maker and musician.
In past auctions, the unique celebrity items have fetched high prices with collectors all over the world who want to own a piece of iconic pop culture for life. Even some controversial items Julien’s Auctions sold have received worldwide attention in the news, the latest being Elvis Presley’s original crypt at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis.
“[People] are looking at these things as contemporary art,” says Darren, who explains that Western pop culture drives the collectors market the most.
“Collectors from Russia, China and Japan – they really can’t get enough of this stuff, and with the power of the internet…it’s now made these items accessible to anyone around the world.”
With more accessibility, it means more demand for items and competitive the bidding wars between collectors. Rare pieces like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” jacket was sold for a steep $1.8 million, just as an example of what some of these items are worth.
It’s not just the items themselves that go for big bucks either, the memorabilia catalogs for each auction have become collectors items in themselves. Each book-like catalog lists pictures and descriptions of every item before being sold and are sold for $100 each.
“This catalog for Les Paul, it’s his legacy. It’s the last time you’ll see all these items in one catalog,” said Darren.
All of the vintage Les Paul guitars and memorabilia featured in the catalog are also on display in a must-see historic exhibit at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills from Monday-Saturday, 10-5 PM.
For any avid music collectors who want to own a piece of Les Paul history, the Les Paul Estate auction takes place on June 8-9 in honor of what would have been Paul’s 97th birthday on the 9th. All the proceeds raised from the auction will benefit the Les Paul Foundation founded by the guitar maker himself.
Listen to our full interview with Darren and Martin below and hear K-EARTH 101’s own Antonio play a Les Paul guitar on an 1950s practice tube amplifier from Gibson.