By RICH FOLEY
I’ll admit it. I’m a Meat Loaf fan. Sure, I like meatloaf itself, but I’m talking about Meat Loaf, the singer and sometimes actor. I own several cassettes, a couple of CDs and even a few albums (which proves how long I’ve been a fan).
My collection also contains some of his movie appearances. If you haven’t already seen them, I highly recommend “Roadie,” “Black Dog” and his 25-second scene in “Wayne’s World.” I also suggest you avoid “Formula 51” at all costs, as well as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which even Meat Loaf’s participation can’t save from being a monumental waste of time.
What would have to be considered the cornerstone of any Meat Loaf collection recently came on the market and I decided to try to add it to my accumulation. As it turns out, I’m not the biggest Meat Loaf fan out there. In fact, it was no contest.
I had been hearing for several months that former New York Yankee shortstop Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto had consigned much of his memorabilia to an auction house for sale. Among the items was Rizzuto’s platinum album for his assistance in Meat Loaf’s multi-million selling “Bat Out of Hell” album.
Included with the album was a letter explaining Rizzuto’s involvement. Meat Loaf, a longtime Yankee fan, came to Rizzuto, by then the Yankees announcer, explaining that he had an idea for a song and asked for Rizzuto’s participation.
Meat Loaf took the Hall of Famer to a recording studio and without any musicians present, had Phil record the baseball play-by-play that later became an integral part of Meat Loaf’s immortal teen anthem, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”
In addition to the album and letter, the auction lot included a 12” by 18” color photo of Meat Loaf, Rizzuto and former Yankee Bobby Murcer (Rizzuto’s broadcasting partner) in the Yankee Stadium broadcast booth. The entire package had a pre-auction estimated value of $400 to $600.
That price struck me as being much lower than it should be. You sometimes see gold or platinum albums up for auction that had been awarded to record executives or minor musicians on an album that don’t sell for much, but this belonged to someone who performed on one of the most iconic songs of the 70s and was famous in another field besides.
I decided that I would blow my food and entertainment budget for the next few years if necessary and put in an absentee bid of $750. The auction house adds a buyer’s premium of 22%, so I was on the hook for as much as $915, plus shipping, if bidding went to my maximum amount. I still thought that there was no way it would go for that low an amount and I would soon be outbid. If not, I’d just be living on bread and water while enjoying my purchase.
For 10 days, it appeared that the auction house’s estimate might be accurate, and I might end up not only owning the album, but being able to afford a little peanut butter on my bread. The auction house placed the $200 minimum bid on my behalf, holding the rest to use against any future bids. There weren’t any for several days, then a few started trickling in.
Over the Labor Day weekend, someone else placed an absentee bid higher than mine, at least temporarily taking away ownership of the album I was already imagining on my living room wall. The auction company alerted me to this fact, adding I would need to bid at least $850 (plus buyer’s premium) to get back in the bidding.
Since there was still a week to go in the online portion of the auction, plus the final day live auction, I figured there was no way I was ever going to win this without making an insane bid. Since my Meat Loaf insanity does have limits, I stepped back and let the auction go on without me. And on the bids went.
At the end of the online bidding, someone had placed a bid of $4,250 plus the premium, with the live auction to come later that night. The next day, I checked with the auction house for results. The ultimate winner bid an astounding $6,000, making the total with buyer’s premium $7,320. So much for the pre-auction estimate. I now wonder how much Meat Loaf’s own platinum album would have gone for.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t win the album, but at least I’ll be able to enjoy (and afford) a diverse diet, as well as being able to buy Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell 3” CD when it comes out next month. I wonder how that would look hanging on my wall?– Sept. 27, 2006