The rare Keith Richards guitar strap pictured here I shouldn’t own.
But I do.
The story of how I came upon the holy grail of Keith items might be better than the piece itself.
Not really, but pretty interesting nonetheless.
It’s a story of how doing your homework, saving information, and going with your gut will sometimes, not always, reward you with some amazing finds.
This guitar strap was listed on ebay with a pile of other paper items, some photos and some other odds and ends back in September of 2005.
I watched for days as the collection got little to no interest. I had sent the seller an email asking for more detail, pictures etc. but never received any response.
The seller had a 2 feedback rating. Not very comforting. It was listed as a complete collection not to be broken up.
There were several interested bidders whose questions to the sellers were posted, but no one willing to pony up any serious cash for items they could hardly see in these tiny photos. In the final minutes of the auction I found myself being the high bidder at $865.00. The reserve wasn’t met. The auction ended. I never followed up, but saved the listing and information.
Fast forward to January of 2007.
I come across the printouts from the auction and decide to send the seller an email asking if the collection had been sold.
I was shocked. I thought for sure someone, anyone smarter than me would have scoffed up what I believe in my gut was a very, very rare collection of Rolling Stones items.
It was still available. It hadn’t been broken up and the sellers wanted to sell.
This time I asked for photos, condition descriptions, and ANY information, dates, times, they could give me about the collection and how they acquired it.
Their story was unbelievable.
This couple worked at Longview Farms where the Stones practiced before their 1981 “Tattoo You” tour. The husband was a carpenter who actually built the stage they practiced on. His wife worked as a secretary.
After his work was done, he was asked by the owner to stay on to become part of the Stones entourage as they felt like they needed more people to help out.
So he did. And he worked the night shift. The shift which they practiced.
As the photos came in, I began to do my homework. The fun part as I see it. Looking for articles, photos, information detailing the time and dates of the Stones stay at Longview.
I enlarged pictures he sent of the guitar strap to match up the pattern on both the front and back to make sure it was the one pictured with Keith in what was eventually hundreds of photos from 1975-1978. It was in fact one of his most loved and most used guitar straps of his entire career. Duct tape, electrical tape and all. Pictured in every major book published or featuring stories on the “1975 Tour of the Americas.”
This was clearly a collection with rock solid provenance.
I made the deal for the entire collection.
The crown jewel of the collection wasn’t even pictured in the listing on ebay.
A handwritten set list from the surprise gig at Sir Morgan’s Cove in Worcester, MA written by Jagger himself.
Taken off the stage by Ian McLargen, the keyboard player touring with the Stones and given to the owner of this collection right after the gig.
He also grabbed a few Keith and Ronnie guitar picks.
Goes to show you, save everything.
Do your homework.
Never make any assumptions.
And with a little luck you’ll score some pretty cool shit.