A pair of Elvis
Presley's sunglasses once sold for $23,000 at an
auction. Just last week, a Spanish hairdresser paid
$1,550 for a lock of Beatle George Harrison's hair from
So Macon's Larry Brantley was convinced he was holding a
valuable piece of music property.
For 30 years, he kept Duane Allman's guitar strap sealed
inside a coffee can.
The 55-year-old local carpenter struggled with the
decision to sell something that once hung from the slim
shoulders of the renowned lead guitarist for the Allman
When he turned down an offer of $10,000 for the strap
last year, it provided affirmation that he owned
something of great value to music collectors.
But he also knew he could really use the money for
renovation work at his historic home in Huguenin
Three weeks ago, he posted the strap for sale on eBay.
For 10 days, the bids rolled in from across the country.
He was astonished at the response.
"It was like knowing you have a winning lottery ticket,
but you just don't know what the prize is going to be,''
In the final seconds of the online auction, a man named
Michael Pearce, who lives near San Francisco, placed the
winning bid of $15,000.
At Brantley's request, Pearce agreed to offer the strap
for future display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in
Cleveland, Ohio, and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in
The strap has a haunting history. It was custom-made for
Duane in 1969 by Zebo Starker of Zebo's Leather in
Sarasota, Fla. It is distinguished by its large brass
ring, like a girth on a saddle.
After Duane was killed in a motorcycle wreck on
Hillcrest Avenue in October 1971, bass player Berry
Oakley wore the strap as a tribute.
Brantley was introduced to Oakley in 1972 and joined the
band as a roadie. He first helped with the sound system,
then was responsible for handling the guitar and bass
A few months after Brantley came aboard, Oakley was
killed in a motorcycle accident. It happened on Napier
Avenue, just a half-mile from where Duane was killed,
and occurred one year and 13 days after Allman's death.
They were both 24 years old. They are buried side by
side in Macon's Rose Hill cemetery. (A section of
Forsyth Street is now Duane Allman Boulevard, and the
bridge that crosses I-75 there is called the Raymond
Berry Oakley III Bridge.)
After Oakley died, road manager Buffalo Evans
distributed the musician's possessions to family and
He kept the strap, however, and gave it to Brantley a
year later. Evans now lives on Martha's Vineyard in
Brantley was a roadie for the band until 1976. He left
Macon in 1978 and didn't think much about the strap
until he moved back four years ago with his wife, Cathy.
He started his own business, Brantley Carpentry, and has
done contract work with the Macon Heritage Foundation.
He is now renovating The Palisades condominiums on
Before selling the strap, he made a trip to Sarasota to
verify its authenticity with Zebo.
"When he saw it, he was speechless,'' said Brantley.
"And that's something, because he is originally from
Brooklyn. He also helped fill in all the blanks.''
Brantley transferred ownership of the strap March 3.
Despite the nice chunk of change, it wasn't easy.
"Yeah, I cried a little,'' he said. "It was like parting
with a piece of history.''