Guernsey's president Arlan Ettinger told New York Newsday that this was "the first truly major auction focusing on jazz."
Among the 400 items to be auctioned are instruments: saxophones that belonged to Parker and Coltrane, a trumpet that belonged to Gillespie, and Benny Goodman's clarinet. Ettinger estimated that the saxophones could sell for up to $1 million each.
Other objects include letters written by Louis Armstrong, a smoking jacket worn by Thelonius Monk, and the gown in which Peggy Lee sang "Fever."
Most of the auction's items were provided by the musicians' families, according to Ettlinger, who added that several of these families were intending to donate the auction's proceeds to jazz scholarship foundations and organizations that promote jazz.
The auction previews February 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Some items may be available for bids on eBay, but the arrangements have not yet been finalized.