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Auction Description for Guernsey's: Forever Ellington - May 18
Auction Description:
Few individuals have had a greater influence on the twentieth century popular culture than Duke Ellington. His remarkable musical legacy combined with an unfailing sense of style have accorded him iconic status. And although such evergreen hits as Take the A Train, It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) and Satin Doll resonate from coast to coast, that he was our nation's Jazz Ambassador endeared the Duke to a global audience.
Viewing Notes:
May 17, Noon to 8PM May 18, Noon to 6PM
Sale Notes:
May 17, Noon to 8PM May 18, Noon to 6PM

Forever Ellington - May 18 (249 Lots)

by Guernsey's


249 lots with images

May 18, 2016

Live Auction

New York, NY, USA

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Red Silk Jacket

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Description: This red dinner jacket made of imported Japanese silk was a staple of Duke Ellington's performance wear. The jacket features a floral lining and a label that reads: "Duke Ellington, December 27 1965."

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Tiffany Cufflinks

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Description: Blue was Duke's signature color and these gold and sapphire Tiffany cufflinks were among his favorite cufflinks. A gift from his sister Ruth, Duke cherished these cufflinks and wore them regularly to formal occasions and performances.

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Promotional Postcard of Duke

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Description: This cardstock photograph of Duke Ellington at the piano in heart-shaped cufflinks is signed "Good Luck, Duke Ellington" on the backside.

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Photograph of Duke Signed to Cousin Bernice

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Description: This photograph of Duke is signed, "To Cousin Bernice. Good luck, Edward."

Condition Report: There is a tear along the top-right corner that measures 1.875" in length, and some paper loss. There is tape residue and staining along the edges of the photo.

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Photograph of Duke, Signed to his Niece Juanita

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Description: This headshot of Duke was personally signed to his niece Juanita. The handwritten text reads: "To Juanita, The Best to You Always, Duke (Your Uncle Edward)"

Condition Report: There are three small tears (less than 0.75") along the bottom edge. There are some creases (approximately 2" in length) on the bottom-left corner and right side of the image.

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Portrait of Young Duke

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Description: This is photograph is a waist-up portrait of a young Duke Ellington. It measures 10" x 8".

Condition Report: Some light crease marks. Minor tears (less than 0.5") along the edges of the photograph.

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Description: This copyright contract, dated February 2nd 1954, is for the composition "Blossom," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. This contract bears not only the signatures of Strayhorn and Ellington, but also of Duke's sister, Ruth (then Ruth James), who was President of Tempo Music, and that of Mildred Dixon, a long-time mistress of Duke's, bearing witness.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated October 23rd 1957, is for the composition "E and D Blues (Ella and Duke Blues)", co-composed by Duke Ellington and John Sanders. John Sanders was a trombonist in the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The title of the song is likely in reference to Ella Fitzgerald, sometimes referred to as "the Queen of Jazz," who often collaborated and performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. This contract bears both Ellington's and Sanders' signatures, in addition to that of Ruth James, Duke's sister, then-President of Tempo Music.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated May 5th 1959, is for the composition "Walkin' and Singin' the Blues," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Lil Greenwood. Lil Greenwood was a vocalist who worked with the Duke Ellington Orchestra beginning in 1956. Notable about this contract is that Duke is referred to by his full name, Edward Kennedy Ellington. This contract i bears the signatures of Lil Greenwood, Duke Ellington, and Duke's sister, Ruth.

Condition Report: Good.

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Description: 13" x 8.5". This contract, dated August 9th 1956, is for the composition "Coolin'," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Clark Terry. Clark Terry played trumpet in the Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1951 to 1959. This contract is in excellent condition and features the signatures of both Duke Ellington and Clark Terry.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated November 23rd 1959, is for the compositions "Dual Fuel" and "Launching Pad," both co-composed by Duke Ellington and Clark Terry. Clark Terry played trumpet in the Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1951 to 1959. This contract features the signatures of both Duke Ellington and Clark Terry.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated June 4th 1956, is for the composition "Clusterphobia," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Clark Terry. Clark Terry played trumpet in the Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1951 to 1959. This contract features the signatures of both Duke Ellington and Clark Terry.

Condition Report: Tiny vertical tears at top of document. Slight paper loss in upper right corner of first two pages. Small upper right corner crease on last two pages. Tiny horizontal tear on left side of verso.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated May 16th 1946, is for the composition "Tip Toe Topic," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Oscar Pettiford. The contract features the signatures of both Duke Ellington and Oscar Pettiford.

Condition Report: Two 1 1/2" vertical tears along the top of the document. Tiny tears and paper loss along right side of document. Significant paper loss along top of verso, with slight paper loss along left side. Last page is detached from the rest of the document.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated April 9th 1965, is for the composition "Springtime in Africa," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Aaron Bell. Aaron Bell performed as a bassist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra on and off throughout the 1960s. Worth of note is that this contract refers to Duke by his full name, Edward Kennedy Ellington. The contract bears the signatures of both composers.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated September 18th 1950, is for the composition "Hello Little Boy," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Chubby Kemp. This contract is in excellent condition and bears the signatures of both composers.

Condition Report: Tiny paper loss in upper right corner of front of document.

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Description: "Freedom is Sweet (Freedom- Sweet, Fat, and That)," Contract. 13" x 8.5". This contract, dated February 14th 1968, is for the composition "Freedom is Sweet (Freedom- Sweet, Fat, and That)" co-composed by Duke Ellington and Willie "the Lion" Smith. Smith was an early influence on Ellington, and Ellington held a deep respect for him throughout his life. This single-page contract bears the signatures of both composers.

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Description: This copyright contract, dated February 2nd 1954, is for the composition "Blossom," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. This contract is in excellent condition, and bears not only the signatures of Strayhorn and Ellington, but also of Duke's sister, Ruth (then Ruth James), who was President of Tempo Music.

Condition Report: 2" crease in upper right corner of front of document. Tiny crease in upper right corner of second page. Tiny perforations from removed staple.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated June 25th 1945, is for the composition "Morocco." In delicate parentheses beside the title, someone has added in, "(now known as Zanzibar.)" The contract bears Juan Tizol's signature.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated April 5th 1962, is for the composition "The Feeling of Jazz," co-composed by Duke Ellington, Bobby Troup, and George T. Simon. Troup was an actor and jazz pianist, and Simon is most well-known for the time he spent in the Glenn Miller Orchestra. This contract does not bear Ellington's signature, but does have the signatures of both Simon and Troup.

Condition Report: 1" horizontal tear along right side of document. Two 2" horizontal tears along right side of document, as well as several tiny tears.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated January 14th 1944, is for the composition "You Know, Baby," co-composed by Frank Lewis and Mary Lou Williams. Mary Lou Williams was a jazz pianist who often arranged and composed for the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and was a mentor to such figures as Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. Williams had such admiration for Ellington that she even performed at his funeral service in 1974. This contract bears the signatures of both composers.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated August 20th 1964, is for the composition "The Opener," co-composed by Charles "Cootie" Williams and Elwyn Fraser. Cootie Williams performed as a trumpeter with the Duke Ellington Orchestra between 1929 and 1940, and between 1962 and 1974. This contract bears the signatures of both composers.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated October 16th 1945, is for the compositions "John Hardy's Wife" and "Moon Mist." The contract bears Mercer Ellington's signature.

Condition Report: Large horizontal crease along center of document. Two rusty staples still attached, several small rust stains along top of document. Handwritten notes in pencil on verso.

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Description: From the Duke Ellington Collection, assorted documents pertaining to the composition "Blossom," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Lot includes one handwritten transcription of the music, one photostat negative of the transcription, several copies made from the photostat negative, one printed professional copy, one correspondence between Tempo Music and Commander Publications transferring the copyright with Ruth Ellington's (then Ruth James) signature, and one original copyright contract, with the signatures of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Johnny Mercer, who later provided the lyrics.

Condition Report: Copies from the Photostat negative are starting to yellow around the edges. The letter from Commander Publications has staple holes and a crease on upper left corner.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This lot includes two contracts, both dated January 24th, 1947. Both contracts are in reference to the copyright for the song "The Beautiful Indians." Al Sears joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944 as a tenor saxophonist and quickly became one of his best-known soloists. The first version bears the signatures of Duke Ellington and Al Sears. The signature page is detached from the rest of the contract, one staple is missing, the paper is weathered and there is some wear along the edges. The second contract has significant more damage to the pages with small pieces missing on each page at the bottom, the third page is detached, and the signature page is missing.

Condition Report: Paper loss, tearing, and creasing along the edges of both documents. Significant paper loss (2") in upper right corner of one of the documents. Third pages of both documents are detached , one of the documents missing a staple altogether.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated April 24th 1964, is for the composition "Con-Go," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Aaron Bell. Aaron Bell performed as a bassist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra on and off throughout the 1960s. Worthy of note is that this contract refers to Duke by his full name, Edward Kennedy Ellington. The contract bears the signatures of both composers.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated November 20th 1942, is for the composition "Things Ain't What They Used To Be," co-composed by Mercer Ellington and Ted Persons. This contract features the signatures of both composers.

Condition Report: Slight paper loss in upper left corner of front page. Tiny paper loss along sides of front and verso. Small perforations from missing staples.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated July 1st 1942, is for the composition "Perdido," co-composed by Juan Tizol, Harry Lenk, and Ervin Drake. Tizol was the primary composer. The song was one of the Duke Ellington Orchestra's most well-known, placed on the Billboard Top 100 in 1943. This contract bears the signatures of all three co-composers.

Condition Report: 2 1/2" of paper loss in upper right corner of front page. Abrasions and tearing along bottom of document. Tiny tears and paper loss along edges throughout document. Signifcant paper loss and tearing along right side of verso. Horizontal crease across center of document.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated April 15 1946, is for the composition "Zanzibar," formerly known as "Morocco," co-composed by Harry James, Juan Tizol, and Don George. Juan Tizol played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra from 1929 to 1944, when he left to join Harry James' orchestra. Don George was a lyricist and personal friend to Duke Ellington. This contract bears the signatures of all three composers. Additional, witness signatures include Mildred Dixon (Duke's mistress) and Daniel James, who at the time was the husband of Duke's sister, Ruth.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated November 20th 1942, is for the composition "Things Ain't What They Used To Be," co-composed by Mercer Ellington and Ted Persons. This contract features the signatures of both composers.

Condition Report: 3" of paper loss on upper left corner of front page. Slight paper loss along edges of document. Tiny perforations due to removal of staple along top of document.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated December 5th 1951, is for the composition "Skin Deep," composed by Louie Bellson. Bellson is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums in a drum kit and performed intermittently with the Duke Ellington Orchestra between 1943 and 1952. He wrote "Skin Deep" specifically for Duke. This contract features Louie Bellson's signature.

Condition Report: Slight paper loss along edges of document. Tiny perforations due to removal of staples along top of document.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated November 15th 1965, is for the composition "Count Down," composed by Louie Bellson and his brother, Harry Bellson. In ink the title has been corrected to reflect the final title of the song, "Soul Call." The contract features the signatures of both brothers.

Condition Report: Good.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated May 25th 1951, is for the composition "The Hawk Talks," composed by Louie Bellson. Bellson is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums in a drum kit and performed intermittently with the Duke Ellington Orchestra between 1943 and 1952. He wrote "The Hawk Tales" specifically for Duke. This contract is signed by Louie Bellson.

Condition Report: Tiny horinzontal tear along right side of document. Horizontal crease across center of document. Tiny perforations along top of document due to removal of staples. Small ink smudge on upper right corner of front and upper left corner of verso.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated December 5th 1951, is for the composition "Skin Deep," composed by Louie Bellson. Bellson is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums in a drum kit and performed intermittently with the Duke Ellington Orchestra between 1943 and 1952. He wrote "Skin Deep" specifically for Duke. This contract features Louie Bellson's signature.

Condition Report: Slight rust staining from staple. Horizontal crease across center of document.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated May 25th 1951, is for the composition "Ting-A-Ling," co-composed by Louie Bellson and Charlie Shavers. Bellson is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums in a drum kit, and performed intermittently with the Duke Ellington Orchestra between 1943 and 1952. This contract is signed by both composers.

Condition Report: 1" horizontal tear along right side of document. Tiny peforations along top of document due to removal of staples.

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Description: 13" x 8.5". This contract, dated August 1st 1970, is for the compositions "The Last Day of May" and "Lost Friend." Aaron Bridgers was a jazz pianist. He appeared in the 1961 film Paris Blues, for which Ellington wrote the score. He was also Billy Strayhorn's lover. This single-page contract features Bridgers' signature.

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Description: "Rain in Your Eyes" or "Teardrops in the Rain," Contract. 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated July 31st 1945, is for the composition "Rain In Your Eyes," also known as "Teardrops in the Rain," composed by William "Cat" Anderson. Anderson joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944 and continued to play with them intermittently through 1971. He is widely regarded as one of the best high-note trumpeters in jazz history, capable of playing a range of five octaves. This contract features Anderson's signature.

Condition Report: Vertical crease along center of document. Slight paper loss above left staple on verso. Tiny perforations along top of document due to removal of staples.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated May 16th 1946, is for the compositions "Everything Goes" and "Home Town," both composed by William "Cat" Anderson. Anderson joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944 and continued to play with them intermittently through 1971. He is widely regarded as one of the best high-note trumpeters in jazz history, capable of playing a range of five octaves. This contract features Anderson's signature.

Condition Report: Significant paper loss on bottom third of last page- signatures unaffected. Slight paper loss along the top of document, surrounding the staples. Slight paper loss in bottom left hand corner.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated March 27th 1958, is for the composition "El Gato," composed by William "Cat" Anderson. Anderson joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944 and continued to play with them intermittently through 1971. He is widely regarded as one of the best high-note trumpeters in jazz history, capable of playing a range of five octaves. "El Gato," translates quite literally as "The Cat," was one of Anderson's signature pieces, featuring his distinctive high-pitched sound. This contract is in excellent condition and features Anderson's signature.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This contract, dated June 18th 1953, is for the composition "Blue Jean Beguine," composed by William "Cat" Anderson. Anderson joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944 and continued to play with them intermittently through 1971. He is widely regarded as one of the best high-note trumpeters in jazz history, capable of playing a range of five octaves. This contract features Anderson's signature.

Condition Report: Small tear above left staple.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This copyright contract, dated June 5th 1951, is for the compositions "Night Walk," composed by William "Cat" Anderson. Anderson joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1944 and continued to play with them intermittently through 1971. He is widely regarded as one of the best high-note trumpeters in jazz history, capable of play a range of five octaves. This contract features Anderson's signature.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This copyright contract, dated June 26th 1945, is for the composition "Menelik- The Lion of Judah," composed by Rex Stewart. Stewart was most famous for the work he did with the Duke Ellington Orchestra as a cornetist, from 1934 to 1945. This contract features Stewart's signature.

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Luther Henderson Documents

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Description: Contract: 13" x 8.5" Handwritten manuscript: 12" x 16". This lot includes one copyright contract and one handwritten manuscript. This contract, dated April 19th 1956, is for the composition "What Can I Say To You Now," co-composed by Luther Henderson Jr. and Ozzie Bailey. Luther Henderson Jr., most widely known for his contributions to Broadway musicals also worked occasionally with Ellington and his Orchestra. The second item included is a handwritten manuscript for the song "A Slip of the Lip (Can Sink A Ship)," a tune co-composed by both Luther Henderson and Mercer Ellington. The handwriting is unattributed but is a possible match for Henderson's, and it features his stamp in the upper right-corner with his name and local union number.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated April 16th 1945, is for the composition "Sonata," by Billy Strayhorn. In delicate parentheses, someone has handwritten next to the title, "(now known as 'Balcony Serenade.')" This contract bears Strayhorn's signature.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This contract, dated October 23rd 1957, is for the composition "E and D Blues (Ella and Duke Blues)", co-composed by Duke Ellington and John Sanders. John Sanders was a trombonist in the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The title of the song is likely in reference to Ella Fitzgerald, sometimes referred to as "the Queen of Jazz," who often collaborated and performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. This contract bears both Ellington's and Sanders' signatures, in addition to that of Ruth James, Duke's sister, then-President of Tempo Music.

Condition Report: Small tear (less than 0.5") on top center verso.

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Description: 16.5" x 8.5". This copyright contract, dated February 2nd 1954, is for the composition "Blossom," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. This contract is in excellent condition and bears not only the signatures of Strayhorn and Ellington, but also of Duke's sister, Ruth (then Ruth James), who was President of Tempo Music, and that of Mildred Dixon, a long-time mistress of Duke's, bearing witness.

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Description: 11" x 8.5". This is a modification on the copyright agreement of "Flame Indigo" between Robbins Music Corp., Paul Webster and Duke Ellington. It is dated December 17, 1941, and signed by Duke Ellington and Paul Webster.

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Description: From the Duke Ellington Collection, assorted documents pertaining to the composition, "Don't You Know I Care (Or Don't You Care to Know)," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Mack David. Lot includes original published sheet music, correspondences from the American Guild of Authors and Composers addressed to Duke, certificate of copyright renewal, and an original copyright contract for the song, signed by Duke Ellington, Edna Ellington, Mercer Ellington, and Ruth Ellington (then Ruth Ellington Stamatiou.) Most notable about this contract is that Duke has signed with his full name, "Edward Kennedy Ellington," which makes this signature a rarity.

Condition Report: Sheet music has a 9" crease on the lower right corner.

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Description: From the Duke Ellington Collection, assorted documents pertaining to the composition "Waiting," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Leo Fox. Lot includes two contracts, one with Fox's signature, and one with Ellington's and Fox's.

Condition Report: The letter attached to the contract has a crease near the staple on the upper left corner. Correspondence dated Feb. 5, 1955 has horizontal creases and a diagonal crease on the upper left corner.

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Description: 14" x 8.5". This copyright contract, dated February 2nd 1954, is for the composition "Blossom," co-composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. This contract is in excellent condition, and bears not only the signatures of Strayhorn and Ellington, but also of Duke's sister, Ruth (then Ruth James), who was President of Tempo Music.

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Description: "I Want to Love You" (Theme from Asphalt Jungle), Assorted Documents. From the Duke Ellington Collection, assorted documents pertaining to the composition "I Want to Love You," the theme from the TV Special Asphalt Jungle. Lot includes an original copyright contract which bears Duke's signature. The lot also includes several photocopied and published versions of the sheet music; however, the sheet music has been badly damaged.

Condition Report: All sheet music has wrinkles, ink bleeding and small tears along the edges from moisture damage. Published sheet music is adhered together from moisture damage.

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