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Treasure Trove Dick Buckley Jazz Collection goes on the Block

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There's a precious song for every collector of jazz records. Even the motley Seymour (Steve Buscemi) and his vintage vinyl stash were championed in the hit 2001 film “Ghost World." Now its Dick Buckley's turn at the collector's turntable.

Buckley died June 22 at the age of 85. A Chicago radio DJ for more than 50 years, he was best known as the host of a weekend radio show on WBEZ-FM (91.5). His final show aired on July 27, 2008.

His collection of more than 8,000 jazz LPs, 45s, 78s, CDs, EPs and homemade mix tapes will be auctioned off Thursday at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, 1338 W. Lake. A party with background music is open to the public at 5 p.m. Wednesday. (RSVP by calling 312-280-1212.) Beer and cognac, Buckley's favorite drinks, will be served.

The collection will be offered in 92 box lots of approximately 100 items each, grouped by style (Dixieland, Kansas City, etc.), artist ("Women of Jazz," lots of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald), instrument (trombones, trumpet, guitar heavy on Wes Montgomery) and format.

What can you learn about a person through his collection?

“Even the family didn't realize how much music he had," Mary Williams, Hindman's director of books and manuscripts, said during a walk through the collection. “He had them at an apartment and a former house as well. They've all been listened to—that's the thing. None of them are mint. He really loved jazz. He had a lot of Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong. Definitely Duke Ellington."

He also owned the Martin Mull LP “The Days of Wine and Neuroses" with the ballad “Noses Run in My Family."

Music ran deep in Buckley's soul. He was born in WIlshire, Ohio, and reared in Decatur, Ind., where his father worked in a General Electric factory.

Buckley's son Jeff contacted Hindman. He didn't know what to do with the collection, and Williams said it was Dick Buckley's wish to sell the music. “They're really not looking for money," Williams said. “This is more of an event for Chicago jazz lovers.

“We don't typically deal with records. There's some early pressings like Elvis Presley's 'That's All Right' that we'll handle, but for the most part we don't do records. People really have to come to the preview to look at all the records. You can't look at them online. There's no inventory catalog.

“We're not listing conditions. Conditions vary. We didn't do any appraisals. The public determines the value. Bidding can start at $50, $100 and go from there. It's supposed to be a fun, casual sale. People will look at them in the boxes."

Williams and her assistant Kathryn Coldiron didn't reject a thing.

There are reel-to-reels of Buckley interviews and bootleg Duke Ellington recordings that are hand-scrawled; “Jan. 20, 1946—Civic Opera House, Program No. 33; 'Caravan,' etc." A box of DVDs includes “The Best of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In." Even 50 to 100 books from Buckley's collection are up for auction.


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