The late Ed Rhoades is greatly revered in the Phantomverse. He was one of the founders of Friends of the Phantom in the USA, a great mate of Phantom creators and phans alike, and a keen collector of Phantom art, memorabilia and merchandise. Indeed, we recently voted in Ed (together with his great mate Pete Klaus) as one of the Top 20 Most Influential Phantom people in X-Band: The Phantom Podcast #110, which you can listen to here.
One of the areas Ed and Pete were influential was in sharing information about 'unknown' or little known artists that had a huge impact. André LeBlanc was a brilliant example; he would be otherwise unknown, but you can read about him in Friends of the Phantom Newsletter Volume 18, which is available at our Phantom Preservation Project.
For those who have come in late, Ed sadly passed away in 2012, leaving a lasting imprint on the Phantom world. He, Pete Klaus and some others created the Friends of the Phantom (FotP) group in the 1990's. Pete and Ed were the main contributors to the group. They brought out regular newsletters interviewing Phantom creators, researching and cataloging Phantom collectibles and researching Phantom history. Along the way, they both also purchased, commissioned and were gifted a great range of Phantom art and other collectibles.
It is now almost seven years since Ed's sudden and untimely death. His widow Kimberley's grief and loss, as well as sheer scale of the task, has naturally made the idea of letting Ed's collection go a daunting and reluctant prospect. However, time marches on. With life throwing up challenges for the Rhoades family that would be better helped with money than art and collectibles, Kimberley is now ready to part with items that will be highly prized by other collectors.
In the last month or so we have started to see parts of Ed's personal collection available to the market. This is due in large part to the work of Ed's friend and prominent Australian collector, William (Billy) Higgins. Billy has remained in contact with Kimberly and is now acting as an agent for the Rhoades family, helping to find new and appreciative homes for these pieces.
According to Billy, what really made Ed's collection stand out was the connections he made with people. As with any good collection, most pieces have a story behind them. "He truly embraced his passion and made many life-long friends through it. So many of the items in his collection reflect that," he told us.
"The artwork that I've listed so far is just the tip of the iceberg - there is so much more to come. Ed had walls of his two-level garage filled with framed original artwork and prints, as well as display cases, filing cabinets - there is just so much there. It will all come to the market over time."
What separates this art collection from what you will normally see is the historical importance of the pieces. It features work from George Wilson (cover artist of the Avon novels), André LeBlanc (long term penciller to Sy Barry), Hans Lindahl, Bill Lignante, Fred Fredericks and many more. Over the coming months, more artwork, prints and merchandise from the Rhoades estate will come up for sale. "There's lots of memorabilia, not just art. Production items from the 1996 Billy Zane movie, Lee Falk scripts, art from Avon novels with George Wilson work including reference models, as well as much of the bits and bobs that many collectors have - it will all be available over time."
The prices listed do not necessarily represent the 'bargains' that some phans are renowned for nosing out. According to Billy, "The prices reflect the provenance of the pieces - who owned it, how it came to him, the connection to Friends of the Phantom." That said, all things are negotiable. "Reasonable offers on items that are not moving will be considered. Low-ballers and bargain-hunters can look elsewhere though!"
To view items as they come available, you will need to be a member of the Trader Joe's General Store For Phantom Collectables group on Facebook. As Billy explains, "This is the only place we are selling. Kimberly needs to get the money for the collection, but she has firmly said that items are only to go to true Phantom phans. It's what Ed would have wanted." Trader Joe's is a closed group so membership will need to be approved, but it is well worth the price of entry!
Team CC was luckily enough to spend time with Ed's partner-in-crime Pete Klaus in X-Band: The Phantom Podcast #88 and he talked a great deal about his dear friend Ed, FotP and the impact he had on the Phantom around the world and especially the USA. Jermayn and many other notable phans have had a relationship with Ed and were lucky enough to call him a phriend.
We look forward to hopfully picking up a piece of Ed's collection over the coming period, and hope that you do too. Make sure you check out Trader Joe's today and email Billy as soon as you see something you're after!