STORY: A rare, deep blue colored “Moon and Stars” trumpet once owned by jazz great Miles Davis sold for $275,000 (USD) at auction on Tuesday (October 29) at Christie’s in New York. Davis, who died in 1991, is considered one of the all-time best jazz musicians. His 1959 release of “Kind of Blue” remains the best-selling jazz album off all time.
The ‘Martin Committee’ Trumpet in B Flat, model T3460, by the Martin Co. was commissioned around 1980, according to Christie’s. The trumpet is a deep blue lacquer. Its gilt crescent moon and stars were designed by Davis.
After a round of competitive bids, both in the room and on the phone, Don Hicks, the owner of the Blue Llama Jazz Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, held the winning bid of $220,000. With the addition of Christie’s commission, the final price for the trumpet was $275,000, well above the presale estimate of between $70,000 and $100,000.
“It will be on display,” Hicks told Reuters just after the sale. “And for jazz musicians who come through the place, they’ll get a chance to take a look at it, blow a few notes.” “It was meant to be played. Musical instruments are meant to be played and meant to make beautiful sounds. Miles did it and we’re trying to carry that forward,” he added.
Hicks described himself as a lifelong trumpet player and Miles Davis fan. “What (Miles Davis) did by continuing to innovate his whole life, he was always pushing the bounds. It doesn’t matter if you are a musician, a business person or both, never giving up and always pushing yourself, I mean, how is that not inspiring?”
The “Moon and Stars” trumpet was part of Christie’s “Exceptional Sale”. The once-a-year sale in New York offers bidders a highly curated selection of rare masterworks. (Production: Angela Moore, Andrew Hofstetter)