Take a trip back through Austin's history with this small slice of Eddie Wilson's vast collection. Wilson, the owner of Threadgill's and founder of the late, great Armadillo World Headquarters, is getting ready to auction off his prized collection of Austin music memorabilia.
"I think of it as a contemporary history of Austin entertainment. And my life story," Wilson says. In the collection, you'll find everything from old concert posters and neon beer signs to vintage hardware and Wilson's legendary baby grand piano.
"Eddie not only collects historical objects, he collects history and he personally embodies many different eras in Austin history," says Jesse Sublett, member of The Skunks and a close friend of Wilson.
The collection contains more than 500 pieces from over 35 years, and with a history like that, it's hard for Wilson to pick his favorite item. "My single favorite thing was the expression on people's faces when they walked in," Wilson counters. "Astonishment. Dropped jaws that turned into points and grunts of 'Look, Look, Oooweee!"
"I feel good," Wilson says about parting with the collection. "Slightly mature at last and at 71 [years old], it's about time. No melancholy, no heavy heart — lighter and free to pursue other 'imaginational' disorders." According to KVUE, that includes opening a Threadgill's in New Zealand.
Click through to preview our 9 favorite items from Wilson's memory archive. To view the entire collection, check out the online catalog from Burley Auction Gallery.
This gallery of posters is one of the items going up for auction on Saturday, January 17 at the Burley Auction Gallery.
The most coveted piece could be this baby grand piano that lived at Armadillo World Headquarters for years. Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and Count Basie are just a few of the piano greats that have tickled these ivories.
"A simple list of the names of the performers who played it speaks volumes. At Eddie's 'farewell piano party' at his home, Riley Osbourn and Floyd Domino played mini-rocking concertos as I was sitting about three feet away," says Sublett. "It was some of the best playing of any kind that I've ever heard. All that history came pouring out of that instrument. It was awesome!"
Starting bid: $12,500
Legendary photographer Bob Seidemann took this iconic nude portrait of the one-and-only Janis Joplin.
"Janis was so raw, such a mess of a person, so full of pain, and not a natural born sex symbol by any means," says Sublett. "Yet here she is naked and the photographer's lens has captured this quiet quality and inner sweetness."
Starting bid: $500
Carry around your own piece of Austin in the form of a custom leather Armadillo World Headquarters briefcase. The piece was tooled by Greg Weller (who later became the co-founder of Whole Foods Market).
Starting bid: $250
Stevie Ray Vaughan, who outside of his guitar skills is usually known for his longer hair and iconic hat, is shown in this photograph as a younger, smoking SRV.
Starting bid: $50
Maybe what you need in your own beer cave is a vintage, working neon sign touting the National Beer of Texas.
Starting bid: $200
The Red Headed Stranger played tons of gigs at Armadillo World Headquarters, which is evident in this collection of posters from just a few of Willie Nelson's performances.
Starting bid: $250
This mural by artist Jim Franklin depicts a shredding Freddie King and a small Leon Russell in the bottom right-hand corner.
Starting bid: $2,500
Cast your bid on a Harley Davidson neon Waltham clock, which lights up in a bright, vivid blue.
Starting bid: $1,000