SEYMOUR STEIN, THE 'RECORD MAN' WHO DISCOVERED MADONNA
Bellmans is pleased to offer the Collection of Seymour Stein in auctions held on 26th June and 4th August 2023. The music executive and co-founder of Sire Records, who launched the careers of Madonna, Talking Heads and the Ramones, passed away earlier this year at the age of 80 and his London collection is now coming up for auction. Seymour Stein particularly liked buying items relating to advertising history and the Art Deco Period creating a very vivid and eclectic collection over several decades. Part one in June will include advertising and Art Deco works of art, while posters and paintings as well as ceramics and lighting will be offered in the second part in August.
A Boch Freres pottery vase designed by Charles Catteau in circa 1925, carrying an estimate of £300 - £500. A lustre glazed terracotta seated figure of 'The Poet' by Edward Cazaux (1889-1974) from circa 1945 is estimated at £1,500 - £2,500, while an Art Deco chrome plated aviator table lighter, modelled as a pilot with a propeller from circa 1930s is expected to sell for £150 - £250.
Seymour Stein was one of the finest 'record men' and started his career when he co-founded Sire Records in 1966, which was later absorbed by the Warner Music group. He famously signed Depeche Mode, after reading about them, getting on Concorde to London and from there straight to their Essex hometown before signing them on the spot. Their success was followed by Stein signing a string of British bands whose records he released in the US. Madonna, however, was his greatest success and he signed her in 1982 while he was recovering from heart surgery. Born into a Jewish Orthodox family in Brooklyn, New York, he discovered his love of music early on, listening to records and memorising Billboard magazine's charts of current bestselling pop records. During a summer holiday he talked his way into an internship at Billboard’s offices on 47th Street and Broadway. It was there that he met Syd Nathan, the boss of King Records based in Cincinnati and in 1961 Nathan offered him a job. Here Stein learned all he needed to know about the record business. He later met the songwriter and producer Richard Gottehrer, with whom he founded Sire, each putting in $10,000. Stein got married to Linda Adler in 1971, shortly after he had announced that he was gay, and when Gottehrer left the label in the mid-1970s, Seymour and Linda could be seen patrolling the New York clubs, scouting a new generation of local bands. While on a constant search for new music, Stein used his fortune to eat well and to collect art and antiques. In 1983 he helped found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 2005. He sold part of his collection in the early 2000s and said at the time: “I thought many times of opening a gallery to sell off most of what I purchased, for in truth I had bought enough to fill several homes. I was always too busy chasing bands to do anything about it… Looking over the paintings, furniture, porcelain and objects in preparation for this sale brought back wonderful memories in much the same way that hearing a favourite song from the past does.”