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Pip Piper’s jazz collection goes on sale

The Philip Piper jazz collection, including around 3,800 shellac 78s, goes on sale by auction on 31 July

Some 3,800 shellac 78s are among an auction of jazz recordings, books and memorabilia to be held online by English auctioneers Sworders in early August. Among the renowned labels represented are Vocalion, Victor, Brunswick and Columbia, featuring musicians including the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Duke Ellington, Jelly Morton and Bennie Moten.

The collection was amassed by jazz enthusiast Philip “Pip” Piper of Cambridge, who developed a reputation as an historian on the subject. Born in 1926, Mr Piper discovered jazz in his teens and his collection took shape over the ensuing decades.

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The Philip Piper Jazz Collection was organised following Mr Piper’s death in Cambridge last year at 92 by Michael Barnes, who recalls inspirational sessions as a child listening to jazz in Bournemouth with his father Russell Barnes and Jazz Journal founder Sinclair Traill.

Mr Barnes said “Philip Piper was not only considerably knowledgeable, but also had an eye for quality and scarcity, a rare combination in any collector. His reference library is also extensive and contains scarce and difficult to obtain material, which is invaluable for any serious collector.”

The collection ranges from the ODJB of the early 1920s through to Bill Haley in the 1950s. Its scope is something that marks it out, added Mr Barnes: “Piper’s collection is eclectic and upon close examination of the lots offered reveals just how broad and extensive it is.  A collection of this quality is rarely offered on the open market and is a great opportunity for the discerning collector.”

Other notable labels include Blue Note and there are also a number of prized V-Discs among the 250+ lots on offer. Mr Philips’ listening was complemented by an extensive reference library, included in the sale and containing rarely seen items of interest to both collectors and dealers. In addition the sale includes audio equipment consisting of turntables, amplifiers and speakers.

In a tribute to Mr Piper published in Just Jazz magazine his friend Royston Rose wrote “When I first saw his collection I could not believe the sheer size of it. There were 78s, LPs, tapes, CDs, DVDs all stored in strict order, quite literally from floor to ceiling and on just about every surface available. When I expressed my astonishment he casually remarked that this was just part of it as the garage was full of 78s as well! In addition, he seemed to have just about every single book and magazine ever produced about jazz.”

The Philip Piper Jazz Collection is offered for sale as a timed auction from July 31-August 9. To see all lots and bid, go to the dedicated auction page at Sworders.

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