Letter Saying Madonna ‘Not Ready’ For Superstardom For Sale

Sotheby's auctioning off note from record exec that rejects young Madonna.

If you don’t believe Madonna was once a struggling singer, now you can buy proof.

In an auction of memorabilia from the superstar beginning Wednesday (July 18), collectors can bid on a rejection letter from Millennium Records president Jimmy Ienner written to Madonna manager Alec Head on September 30, 1981.

“The only thing missing from this project is the material,” Ienner wrote. “I do not feel that she is ready yet. I do hear the basis for a strong artist. I will pass for now but I will wait for more.”
The item is part of what organizer Robert Schagrin called the “largest fully authenticated Madonna auction ever.” The auction will be hosted by Sotheby’s Web site (www.sothebys.com), though the items can also be viewed on the Web site for Schagrin’s New York collectors’ shop Gotta Have It! (www.gottahaveit.com), which put the auction together.

With a starting bid of $1,500, the rejection letter is packaged in the auction with an early Madonna resume and demo tape.

Also available in the auction is a postcard from Madonna to friend Ondina Sweet postmarked February 12, 1977. On it, the singer wrote “If I can get the money, I really want to go to N.Y.C. if not for fame and fortune, at least for the experience.”
The two-week-long online auction also features several other signed letters from Madonna, stage outfits from her early tours and the Roland synthesizer on which she wrote many of her early hits, including “Into the Groove,” which features the instrument on the recording.

“We have over 70 slots in this auction,” Schagrin said. “And they run the full gamut in prices. We have nice autographed photos for a couple hundred dollars and the ‘Who’s That Girl’ bustier for $10,000.”