2,000 Waylon Jennings Items / Famous Motorcycle to be Auctioned
Guernsey’s Auctions out of New York City is getting ready to liquidate a massive 2,000-piece collection of items owned by Waylon Jennings from his Arizona estate, with the proceeds from the auction going to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The items are being offered for sale by Waylon’s widow, Jessi Colter, who was married to Waylon for over 30 years. The auction is set to transpire on October 5th at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.
What can collectors expect from this rare chance to own a piece of authentic Waylon Jennings memorabilia? Well for starters, there’s a pair of ornate leather boots once worn by Hank Williams that are adorned appropriately with a Phoenix on the front, and an ‘H’ in the middle for “Hank”. There’s also an authentic set of Willie Nelson’s famous Indian braids given to Waylon in 1983 by his long-time Outlaw friend to celebrate Waylon’s newly-found sobriety. There’s also the original contract signed by Waylon that officially formed The Highwaymen supergroup with Willie, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash, and a letter to Waylon from John Lennon. There’s also a leather-clad Telecaster being sold (though not the main one Waylon played). But the crown jewel of the collection will be the Ariel Cyclone motorcycle previously owned by Buddy Holly, and given to Waylon Jennings as a birthday present in 1979.
Waylon Jennings played bass for Buddy Holly right before he died in the plane crash in 1959 that was later memorialized in the Don McLean song “American Pie”. Waylon was supposed to be on that flight, but gave his seat up to The Big Bopper. 1 1/2 years before in May of 1958, Buddy Holly and his original Crickets flew in to Dallas’s Love Field airport on a connecting flight back to Lubbock after a big tour. But instead of flying, the three decided to purchase motorcycles and drive back.
“Then they went over to Miller’s Motorcycles, which specialized in English bikes,” Waylon recalled in his biography with Lenny Kaye. “There, Joe B, and J.I. (Allison) bought a Triumph each, a TR6 and Thunderbird, respectively, while Buddy picked out a maroon and black Ariel Cyclone, with a high compression 650cc Huntsmaster engine. They paid cash, bought matching Levi jackets and peaked caps with wings on them, and rode home through a thunderstorm.”
Then in 1979 for Waylon’s 42nd birthday, the two remaining Crickets Joe B. and J.I. tracked down the 1959 Ariel Cyclone, bought it back, and had it hand delivered to north Texas where Waylon found it sitting there in the middle of his hotel room after walking off stage that night.
“What else could I do? I swung my leg over it, stomped on the kickstarter, and it burst into roaring life. First kick. It was midnight, and it sounded twice as loud bouncing off the walls of that hotel room. I knew Buddy wouldn’t mind.”
The motorcycle was eventually put on display at Waylon’s home in Arizona.
FULL STORY: Waylon Jennings’ Birthday Present from Buddy Holly
Though Waylon was originally from Littlefield, TX, his Phoenix history runs deep. Waylon got his start as a solo performer at JD’s in Phoenix. Owner Jimmy D. Musiel pattered his club around Waylon and his Waylors as the house band. Waylon’s Arizona estate in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler is where he spent much of his time, and where he passed away on February 13th, 2002.
An auction catalog with detailed descriptions and pictures of each item is expected to be made available to the public for $32 from Guernesy’s later in August, and the items in the auction will be available for preview in Phoenix at the Musical Instrument Museum starting on October 3rd. Out of the 2,000 items, there will also be 500 lots, or groups of items that will be auctioned together. Telephone and online bidding will also be available.
Along with making the Phoenix Children’s Hospital lots of money, let’s hope some of the more important items end up where they can enjoyed not just by the high bidder, but by all of Waylon’s fans.
See Additional Pictures of Auction Items from The New York Times
August 6, 2014 @ 5:27 pm
Forget the motorcycle, I want Hank’s boots.
August 6, 2014 @ 6:23 pm
I’d worship those boots if I were able to acquire them. Seriously though, it’d be a terrific gesture by whoever buys them to give them to Hank 3 seeing as he doesn’t have much of his Granddaddy’s stuff. I can’t speak for but I think that would mean the world to him.
August 7, 2014 @ 7:16 am
I’m a little confused about the boots. The phoenix symbol is generally associated with Hank Williams, Jr., not Hank Sr., so I’m wondering to whom these boots originally belonged.
Cool stuff, either way.
August 7, 2014 @ 9:13 am
Yeah, the Bocephus logo is a play on the Ruger symbol. The origin of the Ruger symbol itself is debated among gun enthusiasts as some kind of phoenix, eagle, griffin creation. Still it is often referred to as the “Red Eagle” (pre-1950) or “Black Eagle” (post-1950) logo in practice.
The boots have a pretty distinctly different design. The figure is a different shape and the head is facing in the opposite direction. You can see a picture of the boots on the original NYT article:
If I’m right, it’s even more cool that Hiram Hank had phoenix boots – similar to a logo his son ended up using much later after his death.
August 7, 2014 @ 10:50 am
When Bocephus was in Knoxville, many, many years ago, I drove to the downtown airport (not the main one) to look at planes and saw a Cessna Citation with the Ruger eagle on the tail.
It looked really sharp.
I should have been at the concert, though.
August 7, 2014 @ 2:06 pm
I’m 99.9% sure those are Hank Sr’s boots. But that .1% of unknown is big…since I have no documentation, but the design sure looks like boots I’ve seen Sr. wear in photos. If so, those are going to be some pricey boots at this auction.
The cycle is off the charts hot collectible.
I’m guessing the Highwaymen contract is just Waylon’s signature, not all four of them.
With 2000 items up for auction, there could be some pretty neat, affordable pieces for the average fan.
One of Waylon’s cadillacs was on ebay not long ago and I believe Jamey Johnson owns another.
August 8, 2014 @ 7:34 am
Okay, definitely different design on those boots than the phoenix/eagle/birdie associated with Bocephus. One way or another, awesome.
Guessing Marty Stuart will probably be a bidder in this auction. Some Waylon mementos would be great additions to the Congress of Country Music Hall, he’s opening in Philadelphia, MS.
August 9, 2014 @ 8:23 am
Actually, I’m pretty sure those are the boots that Hank Williams, Jr. personally gave Waylon Jennings. You can find the story on it somewhere. In the story, it says that Waylon told Hank how he was at a party at the Williams’ estate and went to lay in the back of the Cadillac that Sr. died in. The boots did in fact belong to Hank Williams, Sr. though. Like I said, I’m sure you can find the story somewhere or another.
August 6, 2014 @ 5:34 pm
I’d sell everything I own to get that guitar.
August 6, 2014 @ 6:43 pm
I think in Waylon’s autobiography he mentioned a pair of Hank William’s boots that he owned, and apparently lighting struck the studio or something to that effect when he put them on. Is that the same pair that is for sale now?
August 6, 2014 @ 6:50 pm
I’m not sure, but I know the John Lennon note is the same one that can be seen in the autobiography, and obviously the motorcycle is the same one he talks about in the autobiography, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were.
August 6, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Trigger, i’m so sorry for being so pushy. But would you do some kind of dossier regarding Kellie Pickler’s career. If don’t, that’s okay. You’ve been so supportive of her 😀
August 6, 2014 @ 8:37 pm
I take it you’re planning on making most of these items a part of your collection, Trigger? I know what a high roller you are.
August 6, 2014 @ 9:26 pm
Who wants to guess what the highway men contract goes for?
August 7, 2014 @ 9:03 am
Does anyone else remember the Dukes of Hazzard Episode that has Waylon in it with his traveling museum? They showed Willie’s braids and Buddy’s motorcycle and the Duke boys were in awe by those items. They may have even showed the boots. I can’t remember though. Very cool episode. I believe the plot was him raising money for an orphanage or childrens hospital too. That was one of my favorite episodes. Haven’t seen it in years though.
August 8, 2014 @ 10:13 am
That sounded really familiar to me after reading your post. Turns out it was the only episode Waylon ever acted in. You can see some of it here:
Unfortunately, it looks like the part that shows the inside of the museum is missing.
August 8, 2014 @ 10:09 am
So is there a website that has all the items listed?
August 12, 2014 @ 3:04 am
The items will come up at:
And for online bidding at:
June 18, 2015 @ 8:52 am
Well I personally think the selling off of the great mr Jennings personal belongings to be in poor taste. Wouldn’t his grandchildren like a chance to have some of their grandfathers belongings to pass on down the family tree. And how come its only Waylon’s gear? I don’t see stuff belonging to anyone else up there. Just saying is all!!!!!!