Country Star Waylon Jennings' Personal Items To Be Sold At Phoenix Auction

By Steve Shadley
Published: Friday, October 3, 2014 - 7:32am
Updated: Saturday, October 4, 2014 - 5:59pm
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(Photo by Steve Shadley)
Hank Williams Senior's custom cowboy boots. They were given to Waylon as a gift by Hank Williams Junior.
(Photo by Steve Shadley)
A pair of vintage boxing gloves given to Waylon Jennings by his old friend Muhammad Ali.
(Photo by Steve Shadley)
Waylon Jennings' felt cowboy hat. He usually wore a black hat so this one is considered unique.
(Photo by Steve Shadley)
Willie Nelson's pigtails. Waylon bet Willie he could quit drugs before Willie could quit alcohol. Willie lost the bet and he turned his braids over to Waylon.
(Photo by Steve Shadley)
Buddy Holly's Ariel Cyclone motorcycle that was given to Waylon Jennings after Holly died in a plane crash in the 1950s.

Waylon Jennings was one of the original outlaws of country music and he spent a lot of time in Arizona. In fact, he’s buried at a cemetery in Mesa. His wife Jessi Colter, a country star in her own right, still lives in the Phoenix area and she’s putting some of Jennings' belongings up for bid this weekend in the “Remembering Waylon” auction.

It’s a busy time at the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix. Workers are putting up glass shelving that will display items from Waylon Jennings’ estate to be auctioned off on Sunday. Arlan Ettinger is the president of Guernsey Auctions of New York, which will oversee the sale. 

“There are approximately 500 lots," Ettinger said. "But probably 2,000 items total in the event.”

There are 20 guitars up for bid, record albums autographed by Waylon Jennings, a desk given to Jennings by his old friend Johnny Cash and even Buddy Holly’s motorcycle. Jennings played bass for Holly back in the 1950s, but he wasn’t involved in the plane crash that killed Holly and his bandmates in an Iowa cornfield. Holly’s family gave the motorcycle to Jennings.

“Which is a British motorcycle known as an Ariel Cyclone," Ettinger said. "So you have a beautiful item that has fewer than 5,000 miles on the odometer, looks like a new bike, never altered never repainted. It’s a treasure.”

The proceeds from the auction go to local charities. And, if you’re looking for something especially weird to bid on, check this out:

“One item or pair of items, I should say, are braids," Ettinger said. "Hair braids that were Willie Nelson’s. Certainly in a long career of auctions, that has to be one of the most unusual things we ever had.”

The story goes like this: Waylon Jennings once bet Willie Nelson that he could quit drugs before Willie quit drinking. Waylon won the bet and Willie cut off his trademark pig tails and handed them over. If you’re not into human hair, there might be something else for you at the Waylon Jennings auction.

“Hats, boots. I’m looking at a pair of Waylon’s boots in that showcase over there," Ettinger said. "And right next to those, the fancier boots belonged to Hank Williams.”  

That’s Hank Williams Senior. The boots were given to Jennings by Hank Williams Junior as a gift. Ettinger said originally he wanted to hold the auction in New York or Nashville, but Jennings’ widow Jessi Colter insisted on keeping it in Arizona.

“This is where he felt most at home, whether it was in front of a big crowd in a big stadium, or if it were coming into a honky-tonk bar, he was very very comfortable here,” Ettinger said.

The “Remembering Waylon” auction happens at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix this Sunday, but you can see the stuff that's up for sale at the MIM Friday and Saturday.   

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