Items From Storied Caribou Ranch Recording Studio For Sale

The auctioneer says it’s hard to quantify nostalgia, so she’s not predicting how much will be raised in a sale of everything from pianos to Western-themed decor from a recording studio that put the Rocky Mountains on the rock ‘n’ roll stage.

More than 400 lots are part of Saturday’s auction in Denver of items from Caribou Ranch, where stars like Michael Jackson and Elton John recorded in a converted barn and relaxed in cabins named for Native American chiefs.

Producer James Guercio turned the ranch into a major recording studio from the 1970s until a fire damaged the control room in 1985. The Boulder Daily Camera reported that the 1,600-acre ranch was sold last year, setting the stage for the auction.

Auctioneer Maron Hindman told The Associated Press that she had to rent a hall because her own offices aren’t big enough for the six Caribou Ranch pianos that are for sale. Other items include original art work from the Chicago III album cover and rustic furnishings, including stuffed caribou.

“You can’t put a number to someone’s emotional or nostalgic attachment,” said Hindman, who by Friday had received 500 advance bids and online bidding registrations by people in some three dozen states and a half dozen foreign countries.

Hindman, who deals in fine art as well as sports and entertainment memorabilia, established the provenance – which star touched what – of many Caribou items by interviewing members of the Guercio family. She also has photographs from a People Weekly Extra shoot showing Michael Jackson riding a red all-terrain vehicle during a visit to the ranch during his 1984 Victory Tour. The vehicle is among the items for sale.

G. Brown, director of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, said Caribou’s heyday coincided with a golden era when performers could spend weeks in seclusion working in the mountains. Guercio, Brown said, offered 24-hour catering, a video library, horses and ski mobiles.

Caribou Ranch will be inducted this year into the hall of fame, which is to receive a share of the proceeds from Saturday’s auction. Ranch souvenirs that are not part of the auction will be incorporated into an exhibit at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver, where the hall will be moving later this year, Brown said.