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Berry Gordy Auction Puts Pieces of Motown History Up for Grabs

Image: Berry Gordy Auction Puts Pieces of Motown History Up for Grabs

The living room in the mansion formerly owned by Berry Gordy, Jr., in Boston-Edison Historic District of Detroit, shown Friday, July 16, 2010. Built in 1917 by lumber magnate Nels Michelson. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By    |   Friday, 13 Oct 2017 01:24 PM

Berry Gordy's former possessions are up for auction in Detroit, as the former owner of his Michigan mansion is selling the artifacts to make room for a new occupant.

Gordy's Motown record label changed the music industry by ushering in African-American talent into the mainstream with artists like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson in the 1960s and '70s. His mansion in Detroit's Boston-Edison neighborhood was sold by Gordy to attorney Cynthia Reaves in 2002, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The auction, which is being run by Aaron's Estate Sales, started Thursday and will run until 4 p.m. on Saturday. Items being auctioned or sold include household goods, antiques, and original Motown Record Company items acquired from Berry Gordy Jr. by the current homeowner, including original pressings of Motown singles and hundreds of 45 records from Gordy’s record storage, according to the auctioneer's website.

Reaves, who kept many of Gordy's artifacts in the home, has now sold it and is auctioning parts of music history, like the music mogul's Steinway piano, which has been used by Smokey Robinson and other noteworthy guests in the past.

There is a 19th-century painting by German artist Adolf Schreyer, estimated in value at $30,000, and copies of Billboard magazine with the "Motown Record Corp." label on it, estimated at $25 for a pair, according to the Free Press.

Some, like Louis Dumas, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, told CBS Detroit they already found little gems of their own.

"I picked up a hand-hammered copper kettle that sat at the fireplace, authenticated, it was owned by Berry Gordy," he said, according to the television station. "And then a couple of pewter beer steins as well . . . I made out. I'm happy."

The station reported that Gordy purchased the home in 1967 and visited it frequently even after moving most of Motown's operations to Los Angeles.

Rolling Stone magazine wrote that former Motown artists like Duke Fakir, of the Four Tops, Kim Weston, and the girls group the Vandellas will be at the mansion to sign autographs and items for fans.

"This home is an important part of the fabric of the City of Detroit, and the sale will allow Motown fans from Detroit to Dubai to add a permanent piece to their own collection," Reaves said, according to Rolling Stone.

"The scope of the collection includes small items as well as impressive collection pieces. I wanted to make this an event that is available to the entire community and at the same time, celebrate the history of what Berry Gordy did for Motown," she continued.

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Berry Gordy's former possessions are up for auction in Detroit, as the former owner of his Michigan mansion is selling the artifacts to make room for a new occupant.
berry gordy, auction, detroit
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2017-24-13
Friday, 13 Oct 2017 01:24 PM
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