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Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letters to Tony Bennett Being Offered at Auction

A collection of letters, photos and more from the late Tony Bennett will go up for sale via Julien’s Auctions on April 18.

The trove of items includes rarities addressed to Bennett from stars like Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Madonna, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Quincy Jones and Barbra Streisand, among others. The priciest item — an estimated $20,000 to $30,000 — is a typewritten thank you letter from Martin Luther King Jr. to Bennett dated April 5, 1965. In it, King talks about the historic Selma civil rights march to Montgomery and thanks Bennett for singing for the marchers and, mentioning his “good friend, Harry Belafonte” who told King of the difficulty Bennett had in rearranging his schedule to perform.

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Bennett built his career as a master pop vocalist spanning eight decades with his recordings – most of them made for Columbia Records, which signed him in 1950. He died last July at age 96 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, though he continued to perform and record through 2021.

“It is astonishing to have the opportunity to view all these items in a collection such as this, which represent Tony’s remarkable life, but also embody a part of our shared American history,” said Danny Bennett, Tony’s son and long-time manager. “Beyond his musical legacy, which is unparalleled and will continue to remain relevant, his lifetime of positive engagement impacted so many people and events. He did everything with such artistry, compassion and integrity which is a testament to the extraordinary person he was each and every day.”

The archives also include microphones from Benett’s live shows and paintings Bennett both collected and created himself, and even a San Francisco cable-car bell given to him after he’d supported then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein’s campaign to rebuild the city’s system in the ’80s.

“The world was blessed beyond words to have had the incomparable Tony Bennett in it. He changed the world with his artistry, humanitarianism, and one-of-a-kind voice that transcended generations,” said David Goodman, CEO of Julien’s Auctions. “Julien’s is honored to represent his Estate and celebrate Mr. Bennett’s extraordinary legacy at this once in a lifetime auction event at Jazz at Lincoln Center with exhibitions at two cities that were most dear to his heart, New York and San Francisco.”

“Tony Bennett: A Life Well Lived”

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