Field Notes

RSVLTS Explores “The Jim Irsay Collection” - Event Recap

Last Thursday 6/2, RSVLTS was invited to the sneak peak and press conference for The Jim Irsay Collection at The Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC, which was in celebration of the next day’s open house exhibit for the public. 

The impressive collection by the Indianapolis Colts owner/C.E.O. and super-collector is highlighted by musical instruments and items owned and used by some of the greatest artists in music history, including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Prince, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Jerry Garcia, Les Paul, Jim Morrison, and other music icons, as well as autographed photos, handwritten lyrics, and other historical music memorabilia. 

Outside of music, the collection includes signed Presidential artifacts, important original documents from American history like an original ‘Wanted’ poster for John Wilkes Booth, Paul McCartney's original “Hey Jude” handwritten studio lyrics and other historical relics.

During the press conference, Jim reminisced about his collection, some stories about some of the original owners and how a few items came to be within his reach. When asked about “ownership” of so many rare items, he quipped with a smile “I really don’t own these items, I borrow them from their original owners for the time being…you never see a hearse trailing a U-Haul, after all,” which ushered in a wave of chuckles and nods from the crowd of media and other collector enthusiasts. 

Some of the most awe-inspiring items to note was Ringo Starr’s original drum kit from The Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, a pocket knife and other artifacts from Abraham Lincoln, an incredible wall of original guitars from various artists (from Prince to Elvis to Clapton), and most exciting was seeing Jackie Robinson’s 1953 game-used bat and trading card, which we couldn’t help but snap a few pics alongside in a RSVLTS x Jackie Robinson Kunuflex. 

To keep the entertainment going throughout, Jim’s band of all-stars (including Natalie Merchant on vocals, Mike Mills on bass, Mike Wanchic, Tom Bukovac and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on guitar, and Kenny Aronoff on drums) jammed the night away, which was incredible to see a stage full of such talent perform some covers of their respective hits together. Former NFL great, Edgerrin James and current NFL president, Roger Goodell, were also in attendance to support the opening. 

Photo gallery below and check out the dedicated collection website for additional background info and other news for when the roving pop-up heads toward your neck of the woods - it’s a must see exhibition!