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The Authentic Experience

Billie Holiday Personal Owned Arrangements From Her Very Last Recording Session

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Interesting, Chris. How did you authenticate them? I bid on a letter Billie wrote from jail to her boyfriend, also in jail, in 1999. I dropped out at a little over $4,000 and kick myself to this day.

On the second page she wrote, "Thank God Momma is dead, because if she knew where I was it would kill her."

That's the power of an autograph.

I remember you telling that story and eating my heart out for you...and me. I love this stuff.

On this particular type of item, I'm probably my own best authenticator. I've spent a good amount of time hunting these kinds of things down. I followed the path of as many of those 'trunk in the garage' items as I could when the items were making the rounds. In fact, I had bids and emails out on a good number of the secondary 'knick knacks'. Unfortunately, hard drives are definitely not forever and I lost a little data base I was keeping up until about 2002 or 03, but my mental database clearly remembers many of the items I wanted, for what that's worth. 

Unlike the jail letter, which is a huge & priceless piece of the crazy, hazy life of BH and would undoubtedly fetch serious numbers beyond your standard (and overpriced) BH autograph, doctoring ephemeral items like these would require lots of time, info, material, etc, and that path just didn't come into play on these charts as they'd never be MONEY items. Not that such an extensive fakery wouldn't serve a larger purpose, but it's highly unlikely. They were a no brainer. The stock, the Hal Miles stamp, the hand. They're just standard NY charts like a hundred I've seen & owned before. As provenance goes, these were part of a few documented lots that went through Leland's very early in the last decade. I have that documentation for them. 

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