STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN MEMORABILIA
On this page:
Framing and Preserving You Collection
page: illegal merchandise to avoid CLICK
It has become "buyer
beware" in the SRV collectible market. The value of memorabilia,
and the ease of moving merchandise in internet auctions has turned fans into
victims of criminal forgers and mass merchandizers of shoddy and illegal material. You
should be careful with autographs in particular (see below) and concert posters,
many of which have been reproduced in large quantities. Use some common sense -
if something should be rare, and there are a lot of them on the market, you may
be looking at a reproduction rather than an original. As for other memorabilia,
if it isn't a licensed (authorized) product, don't count on quality. I'm not
even going to get into the morass which is the bootleg market. If you shell out
money for bootlegs, be prepared to be disappointed or flat ripped off. I do not offer bootleg audio or video for sale, nor do I tell people where
to get them, so please don't ask.
I guarantee everything I sell or trade to be
as described or your money back. Collectibles in the SRV Store are originals
unless stated otherwise.
For a few pointers on caring for and
preserving your collectibles, scroll to the bottom of this page.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan
a chapter of my tips on collecting memorabilia, information on known counterfeits and
forgeries, and hundreds of color photos of SRV collectibles.
"FAKE" GUITAR PICK
"fake" I mean picks which were not made specifically for
Stevie between 1983-1990. Internet sellers may simply describe their
merchandise as a "Stevie Ray Vaughan pick," but that could
mean any number of things. In mid-2000, fake SRV picks began
flooding the market. It is
not my intention to accuse, but merely to report my experience in researching SRV picks
for over 12 years. Beware of the following recently
manufactured picks which may be deceptively advertised, leading you to
believe they were Stevie's picks:
1. Solid white, blue, red, black or green picks with his full name in gold
print. These fake picks are common in internet auctions. Stevie had solid white,
blue and red picks, so this area of SRV collecting is now very treacherous.
Stevie did not have black or green picks.
2. White picks with black letters
reading "STEVIE RAY" (no last name) are fake, to my knowledge.
3. Picks with a picture or graphic printed on them
are definitely recent "novelty" picks. These include any picks with a
photo, silhouette, dates,
"tribute" picks with various caracitures of Stevie and slogans
such as "soul to soul" etc. I think some of them are
supposedly printed in 24k gold lettering.
4. Picks where the "i" in "STEViE"
is a lowercase or dotted "i" while all the other letters are uppercase. The
picks I have seen are solid blue and solid red, but there may be other colors.
5. Any picks bearing only "SRV"
initials. A tribute band in Florida in the early 1990's had
some "SRV" picks made. Stevie did not have picks with his initials.
6. Yellow picks with gold lettering
and red picks with silver lettering are apparently being made now. The
yellows are bogus. How the new red picks differ from genuine red picks,
I don't know because I've haven't seen them up close.
7. If you have a Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar pick, tortoise shell color with full name in gold lettering on two lines, please contact me
with details on where the pick came from. I am trying to determine whether these
picks were made before or after Stevie died. Contact with an employee of Stevie's suggests these picks are fake.
8. In late 2002, fake multi-color SRV picks started
appearing on internet auctions. The gold lettering is thicker than on
the originals. For many years the multi's were among the safest bets for
genuine picks, but now virtually all the styles have been bootlegged.
9. In 2003 I started seeing purple picks with
white lettering that are fake. There are genuine purple and white picks,
but they are easily distinguished.
10. In the Fall of 2003 yellow picks with
"Stevie Ray Vaughan" appeared. They are fake.
11. In early 2004 dark purple picks with gold
lettering started appearing, originally in England I think. They are
12. In August 2006 another fake
pick began circulating on internet auctions. The one I saw was white
with gold lettering, and the lettering is not straight. It looks like it
was hand-stamped or otherwise home-made. I am not aware of any of
Stevie's picks having lettering that was so severly crooked.
13. December 2006 -
red picks with huge silver, offcenter letters. "Vaughan" barely fits
on the pick the letters are so big.
How many different styles of genuine
Stevie picks are there? Seventeen have been confirmed.
autographs are so prevalent that I have had to create a separate page for the
discussion and examples. CLICK HERE.
Other known fakes which have been on the market:
- at least two black hats, one signed in gold paint pen, each sold for $5,000 through major auction houses; each proved fake and money refunded.
- the pickguard from Number One, allegedly signed by Stevie and Jimmie on
the back - fake. The last I heard, a dealer in England was trying to sell this
even after I informed them that it was fake and where the real one is.
- two-page setlist from Stevie's last show at Alpine Valley, each page
sold separately in major auctions - fake.
- guitars allegedly in photos of Stevie - at least one instance of a
guitar being digitally inserted into a photo of Stevie and then the guitar being
passed off as one of Stevie's guitars. Fake. Analyze even photographic proof
- and of course fake guitar picks which now litter the internet.
- illegal and unathorized merchandise also litters the internet: ash
trays, mugs, flasks, photographs, bootlegs, etc.
- posters, particularly Syria Mosque, Fitzgeralds, Tipitina's, w/ Stray
Cats, basically 99% of the concert (distinguish promotional) posters on eBay are all copies or fictional.
- almost all the backstage passes in internet auctions are fake, and many
are not even copies of real passes but are just "fictional" artwork
made in the shape of a backstage pass.
Every few months
another guitar shows up on the internet with someone claiming it was
Stevie's. While it is true Stevie had a lot of guitars, evidence of him
giving away guitars is exceptionally rare. Here is just one story of the
lengths to which one criminal went. BEWARE because this guitar is still
On April 1, 2003, someone listed a Fender Strat for auction
on eBay, alleging that it was owned and used by Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was
signed in gold paint pen, and had "COBRAS" in small mailbox letters on
the pickguard. The starting
price was $125,000.
I purchased this same guitar from a major auction house in
New York in 1995 (which later refunded my money). The guitar came with two pieces of documentation which
purported to authenticate it: (1) a full page handwritten letter,
supposedly in Stevie's hand, describing the history of the guitar and the
circumstances of it passing to a man in Vermont. The letter stated that
Stevie obtained the guitar from a member of the Cobras in the 1970's, and that
it had been used on stage the night the man got it in 1990, among other things.
(2) A short handwritten note from Rene Martinez about the guitar, dated 1994.
I personally contacted that Cobras band member who stated
that he never owned this guitar, and never transfered it to Stevie by sale or
gift. He also stated that he and Jimmie Vaughan do not believe the handwriting
is Stevie's. Rene Martinez stated he did not believe this was Stevie's guitar,
he did not recall any transfer of a guitar from Stevie to anyone while on tour
that night, and that he never marked guitars he worked on in the fashion this
guitar was marked inside the neck cavity. I personally compared the note
purported to be in Rene's hand with a known genuine example of his handwriting,
and it did not match, in my opinion.
On January 26, 1997, the man finally admitted to me on
the phone that the guitar was not played on stage the night he got it "from
Stevie" in 1990, despite "Stevie's" handwriting saying he did.
On January 29, 1997, the auction house stated, "As a
result of the substantial issues which have been raised with regard to the
authenticity of this guitar, [we] will rescind the sale." My money was
refunded in full.
I met the man and spoke with him on the phone on several
occasions. It is my opinion that on at least one occasion between 1987 and 1990
he met Stevie and probably obtained at least one autograph from him. I have seen
a photo of the man and Stevie together. It is possible that the autograph on this
guitar is genuine, but due to other circumstances which I will not go into here,
it is my opinion that it is not.
I spoke with the current owner. He says he has
no connection to the previous owners. After listening to what
I had to say, he closed the auction. Based on our conversation, I have no reason to
believe the current owner had any intention to defraud anyone or pass along bad
just one more reason why you need to be very careful buying collectibles.
Apparently, I was not the only one who was ripped off (almost) regarding this guitar. The
same forger is suspected of creating other handwritten letters supposedly in
Stevie's hand, a signed black hat from Texas Hatters, a pickguard alleged to be
off Number One, another guitar purported to be Stevie's, a two-page set list
alleged to have been from Alpine Valley, and other items.
I am often asked whether a certain
item should be "insured." Many times the question is
actually about value, not insurance. As stated elsewhere on this
website, I do not make free appraisals unless the item was purchased
from me. This section assumes you have some kind of insurance, because
if you don't, then obviously you "need" insurance.
I am not an expert on insurance. My advice is talk to
your agent, whether you have homeowner's or renter's insurance. If
you don't understand your policy, make them explain it until you do -
it's their job and responsibility to you.
My understanding, not to be substituted for professional
advice from your agent, is that you need to make sure your collectibles
are covered for market value, as opposed to replacement cost.
Replacement cost coverage is for things like your clothes or TV or
furniture. If you have a suit that is stolen, the replacement cost may
be $300 for a new suit. If the suit you lost formerly belonged to Stevie
Ray Vaughan or some other celebrity, getting a new $300 suit is not
likely to make you feel adequately reimbursed for your loss.
Critical to your success in proving any claim in you suffer
a loss of your property is proving what you had. You need clear
photographs or scans of your collectibles which show condition and any
other important factor affecting value. For example, if you have a book
that is autographed on the title page, you better have a photo of the
autograph, not just the book. It is important to keep your proof
someplace other than where the insured items are. If you lose your
collection in a fire, it won't do you any good to have had great proof
that burned, too. I suggest not keeping your proof in your computer
either, as that is a prime target for thieves. Put your proof on a disc
or other media, and keep it in a safe deposit box. Or, keep one copy at
your office or relative's house, and another copy someplace else safe.
The next thing you need to ascertain about your insurance
is whether there are limitations or exclusions based on the type
of collectible or its market value. For example, jewelry, coins and some
other things are special cases. Make sure you understand the insurance
company's definition of "jewelry." I have been told that
"jewelry" only includes items which have gold or precious
stones, and consequently, a necklace made of silver and turquoise is not
"jewelry" for insurance exclusions. Your policy may differ.
Also, some policies may limit coverage to a certain dollar amount either
per item, per collection or per loss. If an item is over a certain
value, you may have to "schedule" it, meaning you have to
declare it specifically and separately and pay an additional preumium
The final insurance topic I will attempt to sketch is specialized
vs homeowner's insurance. After talking at length with a
collectibles insurance company and a homeowner's insurance agent, I
finally got them both to say the same thing: collectibles may be covered
under a homeowner's policy for market value, meaning I do not
"need" another company to insure memorabilia. HOWEVER, in the
event of a loss, a company which specializes in collectibles insurance
will probably process the claim more quickly and easily than a standard
homeowner's insurance company because the specialists are used to
dealing with market value of collectibles. Your standard insurance
company is more likely to be more difficult to satisfy regarding market
value of items they are not used to dealing with. In either case, it is
a good idea to have a third-party expert prepare an appraisal for
you if you have a significant collection. Who is an expert? Someone
whose experience and knowledge quailfies him/her to provide convincing
testimony about the market value of your collection - someone you would
want to speak on your behalf to a claims adjuster or jury.
FRAMING & PRESERVING YOUR
A professional framer, art conservator or
restoration expert should be consulted. I am not an expert, though I
have some framing experience. The most important advice I can give you
is to seek out a framer or other art professional who has some professional
training in conservation. Unfortunately, your average framer down
the street probably knows little more than mechanical basics, and
virtually nothing about conservation or museum quality work. I've had
mechanically excellent, creative framers destroy the value of some of my
rare collectibles by using improper mounting techniques which are hidden
inside the frame. In one case, I instructed a framer not to use any type
of adhesive or glue to mount a rare album cover in a museum quality frame (not a difficult project for
a quality framer). Years later, when I started doing my own framing, I
took the frame apart and discovered that he had used glue on the back
of the cover. Instead of being worth $10,000 - $15,000, it's proably
worth $2500. The framer is long gone now, of course.
The bare minimum to conserve valuable
paper items is to insist on the use of acid free materials
whether you are putting things in a scrapbook, a frame or a storage box
or tube. This includes acid free, removable tape, mats, backing
materials and other mounting devices. If you are putting small items in
a scrapbook, you can buy acid free paper and a box of acid free mounting
corners so that there is no adhesive or glue applied to the item.
If you are going to hang something on the wall,
you need to use UV glass which filters up to 98% of harmful
ultraviolet light ("ultraviolent" light). These materials will
cost you a little more, but if you want to preserve an item and its
value, it's the only way to go. You need to keep valuable items out of direct sunlight at all costs, and
even the light from ordinary lightbulbs will fade colors. (Those little
art spotlights you see all the time are not good for your artwork.) The
Dallas Hard Rock Cafe had Stevie's handwritten lyrics to "Couldn't
Stand the Weather" in a frame, but over the years, we watched as
the ink faded completely off the paper. By the time they finally
took it off the wall (I don't know where it is now) you couldn't really
tell what the words were anymore. The manager said "We don't have
the money to do conservation framing on the thousands of items we
buy." Think about the Hard Rock destroying historic artifacts
next time you consider buying their food or souvenirs.
Another easy and inexpensive way to prevent
some of the damage from sunlight is to put UV film on your
windows. You can
get UV film at places like Home Depot or on the internet if you
can't find them in your local stores. Note: a fan commented that UV film
on your windows can have an adverse effect on house plants. UV rays are
good for plants, bad for collectibles.
NEVER dry mount or laminate anything which is or may
be of value in the future. Not only do these processes destroy at least
75% of the value of an item, but many dry mounters trim the
edges of the item in the process, even further destroying the value. I
once purchased a rare SRV poster which was framed; the seller assured me
the poster was not mounted, but was loose in the frame. When I took the
frame apart, sure enough it was mounted to cheap cardboard, reducing the
value from $300-400 down to about $50.
Never alter the original aspect of a
piece. Qualified appraisers will tell you that even an autograph on a
piece which was not originally autographed will actually decrease the
value. For example, I have a copy of B.B. King's first 78rpm record from
1949. When I got him to autograph the label, it actually reduced the
value to a segment of the market. Some would think the autograph
increased the value, but not the most serious collectors.
Placing photos and paper items in plastic
sheet protectors may cause damage, particularly to the old thermal
fax paper. I'm told the plastic will accelerate the disappearance of the
ink on that type of paper. Of course, anytime you seal something in
plastic you risk damage from condensation. Some sheet protectors are
better than others - at a minimum make sure it says acid free, and that
it will not lift the ink off paper.
Textiles (clothing) should be stored folded and
in acid-free boxes or other containers as opposed to on hangers. Over
time, hanging the item or having it on a mannequin will stretch or
deform the item because of its own weight.
Remember that light, adhesives and materials
containing acid (ordinary cardboard and papers) are your artwork's