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From left to right: Dio’s stage worn shirt and Barry Jackson painting used as cover of The Last in Line album and Charvel guitar - image courtesy Julien's Auctions
From left to right: Dio’s stage worn shirt and Barry Jackson painting used as cover of The Last in Line album and Charvel guitar - image courtesy Julien's Auctions

Black Sabbath Rock Legend Ronnie James Dio Auction Promises to Thrill at Hard Rock Café New York

By Sam Stevenson

Items from the heavy metal music icon and Black Sabbath frontman Ronnie James Dio will hit the auction block at the Hard Rock Café, New York, this autumn.

World record-breaking auction house Julien’s Auctions will host the sale, which runs from 14 – 15 September and aims to pay tribute to one of the most influential figures of the heavy metal genre.

The property on offer, which includes guitars, stage props and outfits, comes directly from the head-banging rock legend’s estate.

Darren Julien, CEO and president of Julien’s Auctions, said: ‘Dio stands atop the colossal rock legends of our time as the definitive heavy metal hero whose voice, style and persona influenced heavy metal and today’s music icons like no other.’

The prolific auctioneer added: ‘Julien’s Auctions salutes Dio’s enduring legacy in this larger than life collection of his artefacts that will surely be the ultimate metal auction of the season.’

Born 10 July in Portsmouth, NH, and raised in Cortland, NY, Ronald James Padavona, who became known as Ronnie James Dio, had a commanding stage presence and overarching impact on the genre and fandom.

From his powerhouse falsetto vocals to his signature horn salute, Dio’s unmistakable flair and penchant for performance would catapult heavy metal’s trajectory into pop culture and iconography. For this reason, his memory is forever engrained in the minds of those who follow and love the heavy metal scene. 

Dio’s music career began at the tender age of five when he played the trumpet and listened to opera—particularly the American tenor, Mario Lanza. In high school he formed his first band, The Las Vegas Kings, which later changed its name to Ronnie & The Rumblers, then Ronnie and the Redcaps and, eventually, Ronnie Dio and the Prophets.

In 1967, the band became known as The Electric Elves, which was shortened to The Elves in 1972, when they released their first official album under what would become known as one of heavy metal’s great early 70s bands, Elf.

When Elf toured as a regular opening act for the legendary heavy metal band, Deep Purple, Dio caught the attention of the group’s lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore who invited him and other Elf musicians to form the band that would eventually become another ultimate heavy metal band, Rainbow.

During his time with Rainbow, Dio demonstrated his mythical lyricism on all of the songs written for the band, another signature hallmark of his craft. Dio left Rainbow in 1979 to join the supreme heavy metal band, Black Sabbath, famously replacing lead singer Ozzy Osbourne.

In Black Sabbath, Dio went on to demonstrate his songwriting prowess and enjoyed an extensive career in the music industry. Throughout his career and after his death, he received many accolades and recognitions including Classic Rock Magazine’s Metal Guru Award in 2006; induction into Guitar Center's Rock Walk of Fame in Hollywood in 2007; ‘Best Metal Singer’ at the Revolver Golden God Awards in 2010; the street ‘Dio Way’, named after him in Cortland City, NY; a Dio monument in Kavarna, Bulgaria and many, many more.

Highlights of this auction include: several pieces of original album artwork including the acrylic painting by Barry Jackson used as the cover for the 1984 Dio album The Last in Line (estimate $20,000–$30,000); his pair of moon and stars patchwork jeans worn extensively on stage with Rainbow (estimate $2,000–$4,000); Dio’s custom-made violet suede vest with tails and red leather shin guards worn on stage and in promotional photographs for the 1985 Sacred Heart Tour (estimate $2,000–$4,000); a personalized Black Sabbath hooded velour robe from the 1981 Mob Rules tour worn regularly back stage (estimate $1,000–$2,000); Dio’s personal rolling wardrobe case (estimate $800–$1,200); some of the most ambitious and spectacular stage design rock has ever seen with props such as a monumental animatronic sphinx on plinth base from the 1984 The Last In Line tour (estimate $2,000–4,000) and a massive animatronic dragon’s head from the 1985 Sacred Heart tour (estimate $3,000–5,000); an array of Dio’s studio and stage used instruments and gear such as a custom Charvel guitar featuring a one-of-a-kind wizard paint motif (estimate $3,000–$5,000); a 1978 ‘Gold’ record award commemorating Australian sales of the Rainbow album Rising (estimate $600–$800) and a 1978 ‘Gold’ record award for the album Rainbow: On Stage (estimate $600–$800) and more.

Registration is required to bid in this live auction and can be done in person at the exhibition and auction, or online before the sale at the JuliensAuctions.com Registration page to bid by phone, proxy or in person, or online at JuliensLive.com to bid live online, or by calling (310) 836-1818.

Find out more at JuliensAuctions.com 

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