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The 100 most valuable guitars ever sold at auction

The 100 most valuable guitars ...
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The most expensive guitar in history sold for US$2,700,000 at a "Reach out to Asia" charity auction on 16 November, 2005. It was signed by a "who's who" of the world's greatest guitar exponents and rock stars including Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian May, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Mark Knopfler, Ray Davis, Liam Gallagher, Ronnie Wood, Tony Iommi, Angus & Malcolm Young, Paul McCartney, Sting, Ritchie Blackmore, Def Leppard, and Bryan Adams.
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Formerly the most expensive guitar was the "Reach out to Asia" guitar, sold at a charity auction on 16 November, 2005. It was signed by a "who's who" of the world's greatest guitar exponents and rock stars including Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian May, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Mark Knopfler, Ray Davies, Liam Gallagher, Ronnie Wood, Tony Iommi, Angus & Malcolm Young, Paul McCartney, Sting, Ritchie Blackmore, Def Leppard, and Bryan Adams. It sold for US$2,700,000
Used by Jimi Hendrix on stage at Woodstock, including Jimi's famous rendition of "The Star Spangled banner." Rumored to have been sold privately for US$2,000,000, but last time it appeared at auction (April 25, 1990 - Sotheby's), it fetched $325,000. This guitar can now be seen on display at the EMP museum.
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Used by Jimi Hendrix on stage at Woodstock, including Jimi's famous rendition of "The Star Spangled banner." Rumored to have been sold privately for US$2,000,000, but last time it appeared at auction (April 25, 1990 - Sotheby's), it fetched $325,000. This guitar can now be seen on display at the EMP museum.
"Blackie" is a hybrid made up from the best bits of several vintage stratocasters. The legend goes that one day Clapton wandered into a a guitar shop in Texas, buying six vintage Fender Stratocasters for $100 each. He gave one each to George Harrison (The Beatles), Pete Townshend (The Who), and Stevie Winwood (Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith) and constructed Blackie from the other three. Used both on stage and in the studio from the early seventies to the mid eighties by Eric Clapton. Blackie shared the stage with Carlos Santana, Freddy King, The Band, Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters to name a few. Clapton recorded numerous albums on Blackie, including "461 Ocean Boulevard," "Slowhand," "No Reason To Cry" and "Just One Night." It sold for $959,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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"Blackie" is a hybrid made up from the best bits of several vintage stratocasters. The legend goes that one day Clapton wandered into a a guitar shop in Texas, buying six vintage Fender Stratocasters for $100 each. He gave one each to George Harrison (The Beatles), Pete Townshend (The Who), and Stevie Winwood (Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith) and constructed Blackie from the other three. Used both on stage and in the studio from the early seventies to the mid eighties by Eric Clapton. Blackie shared the stage with Carlos Santana, Freddy King, The Band, Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters to name a few. Clapton recorded numerous albums on Blackie, including "461 Ocean Boulevard," "Slowhand," "No Reason To Cry" and "Just One Night." It sold for $959,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
This 1964 Gibson ES-335 TDC hollow-body electric guitar was originally purchased by Clapton in 1964, and was used throughout his career, playing a role in the music of the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and his post-addiction solo career, becoming one of Slowhand's principal stage-used guitars during the nineties. It sold for $847,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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This 1964 Gibson ES-335 TDC hollow-body electric guitar was originally purchased by Clapton in 1964, and was used throughout his career, playing a role in the music of the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and his post-addiction solo career, becoming one of Slowhand's principal stage-used guitars during the nineties. It sold for $847,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
This 1939 Martin OOO-42 was the main instrument used in Eric Clapton's "MTV Unplugged" appearance, one of the pivotal moments in his career. Clapton is pictured playing this guitar on the CD cover of the multi-million seller "Unplugged" album, and it was used to play the acoustic version of "Layla," "Before You Accuse Me" and "Old Love," as well as early versions of "My Father's Eyes" and "Lonely Stranger." It sold for $791,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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This 1939 Martin OOO-42 was the main instrument used in Eric Clapton's "MTV Unplugged" appearance, one of the pivotal moments in his career. Clapton is pictured playing this guitar on the CD cover of the multi-million seller "Unplugged" album, and it was used to play the acoustic version of "Layla," "Before You Accuse Me" and "Old Love," as well as early versions of "My Father's Eyes" and "Lonely Stranger." It sold for $791,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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This 1962 Rickenbacker 425 was used during the Beatles' live performances of "Twist And Shout," "I’ll Get You" and "She Loves You" on the British pop TV show, Ready Steady Go!, the recording on October 17, 1963 of the band's fifth single, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and reverse side of the single, "This Boy." Also used during the October 1963 tour of Sweden and subsequently has been on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland), John Lennon Museum (Japan), Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix) and the Grammy Museum's Beatles Exhibition (New York). It sold for $657,000 at a Julien's auction on 17 May 17, 2014
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This 1962 Rickenbacker 425 was used during the Beatles' live performances of "Twist And Shout," "I’ll Get You" and "She Loves You" on the British pop TV show, Ready Steady Go!, the recording on October 17, 1963 of the band's fifth single, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and reverse side of the single, "This Boy." Also used during the October 1963 tour of Sweden and subsequently has been on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland), John Lennon Museum (Japan), Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix) and the Grammy Museum's Beatles Exhibition (New York). It sold for $657,000 at a Julien's auction on 17 May 17, 2014
This Fender Stratocaster was given to blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan by his wife, Lenny, in 1980 as a 26th birthday present. It sold for $623,500 at a Christies auctioned on 24 June, 2004
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This Fender Stratocaster was given to blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan by his wife, Lenny, in 1980 as a 26th birthday present. It sold for $623,500 at a Christies auctioned on 24 June, 2004
When Bob Dylan took to the stage at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965, the three-song set the 24-year-old poet-singer-prodigy performed made news around the world. It was the first time Dylan had performed with an electric backing band, and it was, according to Rolling Stone magazine, "one of the most notable events in music history." This is the 1964 Fender Stratocaster Dylan used during that performance. It sold for $965,000 at a Christies auction on 6 December, 2013
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When Bob Dylan took to the stage at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965, the three-song set the 24-year-old poet-singer-prodigy performed made news around the world. It was the first time Dylan had performed with an electric backing band, and it was, according to Rolling Stone magazine, "one of the most notable events in music history." This is the 1964 Fender Stratocaster Dylan used during that performance. It sold for $965,000 at a Christies auction on 6 December, 2013
This 1964 Gibson SG was used by The Beatles between 1966 and 1969. George Harrison used it when recording and touring for the album "Revolver." It was used by Harrison in the "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" clips in 1966 and by John Lennon during the "White Album" sessions in 1969. Subsequently owned by Pete Ham of Badfinger and on display for many years at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Ohio. It sold for $567,500 at a Christies auction on 17 December, 2004
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This 1964 Gibson SG was used by The Beatles between 1966 and 1969. George Harrison used it when recording and touring for the album "Revolver." It was used by Harrison in the "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" clips in 1966 and by John Lennon during the "White Album" sessions in 1969. Subsequently owned by Pete Ham of Badfinger and on display for many years at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Ohio. It sold for $567,500 at a Christies auction on 17 December, 2004
One of the few guitars in this list not previously owned by a legendary guitar player, gaining its value through scarcity. Less than 50 were made because no-one wanted them in 1958 when the Gibson catalogue listed them at $247.50, the same price as a Les Paul Standard. The model was discontinued in the early sixties. It sold for $611,000 at a Skinner auction on 15 October, 2006
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One of the few guitars in this list not previously owned by a legendary guitar player, gaining its value through scarcity. Less than 50 were made because no-one wanted them in 1958 when the Gibson catalogue listed them at $247.50, the same price as a Les Paul Standard. The model was discontinued in the early sixties. It sold for $611,000 at a Skinner auction on 15 October, 2006
Screen clip from Cooper Owen Music Media Auctions showing Paul McCartney with the guitar that started him on the path to becoming the most successful recording artist of all-time. This Rex acoustic was the first guitar Paul McCartney ever held. It was also the guitar on which he learned his first chords. It sold for $615,203 (£330,000) at a Cooper Owen auction on 28 July, 2006
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Screen clip from Cooper Owen Music Media Auctions showing Paul McCartney with the guitar that started him on the path to becoming the most successful recording artist of all-time. This Rex acoustic was the first guitar Paul McCartney ever held. It was also the guitar on which he learned his first chords. It sold for $615,203 (£330,000) at a Cooper Owen auction on 28 July, 2006
This 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe was the companion guitar to actor Roy Rogers across 100 movies and a thousand recording sessions, from 1933 to his death in 1998. It sold for $554,500 at a Christies auction on 3 April, 2009
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This 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe was the companion guitar to actor Roy Rogers across 100 movies and a thousand recording sessions, from 1933 to his death in 1998. It sold for $554,500 at a Christies auction on 3 April, 2009
This 1964 Vox V251 Guitar Organ prototype proved equally as unpopular with the public as it did with both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones (both received promotional instruments). While the Vox Guitar/Organ never became popular, it could well be seen as the fore-runner of the synthesizer. It sold for $305,000 at a Sothebys auctioned on 24 June, 2014
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This 1964 Vox V251 Guitar Organ prototype proved equally as unpopular with the public as it did with both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones (both received promotional instruments). While the Vox Guitar/Organ never became popular, it could well be seen as the fore-runner of the synthesizer. It sold for $305,000 at a Sothebys auctioned on 24 June, 2014
Eric Clapton with his Blackie Stratocaster which sold for $959,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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Eric Clapton with his Blackie Stratocaster which sold for $959,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
Jerry Garcia’s custom-made Doug Irwin "Wolf" sold for $789,500 at a Guernseys auctioned on 8 May, 2002
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Jerry Garcia’s custom-made Doug Irwin "Wolf" sold for $789,500 at a Guernseys auctioned on 8 May, 2002
Jerry Garcia’s Doug Irwin "Tiger," another custom guitar made by master luthier Doug Irwin. This was the primary guitar of Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia from 1979 to 1985. It was also the last guitar Garcia played publicly. It sold for $957,500 at a Guernseys auction on 8 May, 2002
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Jerry Garcia’s Doug Irwin "Tiger," another custom guitar made by master luthier Doug Irwin. This was the primary guitar of Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia from 1979 to 1985. It was also the last guitar Garcia played publicly. It sold for $957,500 at a Guernseys auction on 8 May, 2002
The Grateful Dead in concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, August 3, 1994. Seen here is Jerry Garcia playing his "Rosebud" guitar, and Vince Welnick on keyboards
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The Grateful Dead in concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, August 3, 1994. Seen here is Jerry Garcia playing his "Rosebud" guitar, and Vince Welnick on keyboards
Eric Clapton’s "Brownie" Fender Stratocaster. Purchased second-hand for $300 by Clapton, this guitar played many of those famous chords and riffs from his Cream days in 1967, all the way through to being back-up for Blackie until Derek and the Dominoes. Brownie was used by Clapton in the recording of Layla on August 26, 1970, with the chemistry between Duane Allman's 1957 Gibson Les Paul and the haunting Strat providing one of the most famous guitar interplays of all-time. It sold for $497,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 1999
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Eric Clapton’s "Brownie" Fender Stratocaster. Purchased second-hand for $300 by Clapton, this guitar played many of those famous chords and riffs from his Cream days in 1967, all the way through to being back-up for Blackie until Derek and the Dominoes. Brownie was used by Clapton in the recording of Layla on August 26, 1970, with the chemistry between Duane Allman's 1957 Gibson Les Paul and the haunting Strat providing one of the most famous guitar interplays of all-time. It sold for $497,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 1999
This 1963 Maton Mastersound MS500 was played by George Harrison during the summer of 1963 while his Gretsch Country Gentleman was being repaired. It was borrowed from Barratts Music Store in Manchester England. It sold for $485,000 at a Juliens auction on 15 May, 2015
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This 1963 Maton Mastersound MS500 was played by George Harrison during the summer of 1963 while his Gretsch Country Gentleman was being repaired. It was borrowed from Barratts Music Store in Manchester England. It sold for $485,000 at a Juliens auction on 15 May, 2015
This 1966 Red Fender Mustang was used by Hendrix on his 1966 album "Axis: Bold as Love" and his 1967 album "Electric Ladyland." It sold for $490,000 at a Juliens auction on 27 April, 2007
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This 1966 Red Fender Mustang was used by Hendrix on his 1966 album "Axis: Bold as Love" and his 1967 album "Electric Ladyland." It sold for $490,000 at a Juliens auction on 27 April, 2007
This 1963 Maton Mastersound MS500 was played by George Harrison during the summer of 1963 while his Gretsch Country Gentleman was being repaired. It was borrowed from Barratts Music Store in Manchester England. It sold for $485,000 at a Juliens auction on 15 May, 2015
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This 1963 Maton Mastersound MS500 was played by George Harrison during the summer of 1963 while his Gretsch Country Gentleman was being repaired. It was borrowed from Barratts Music Store in Manchester England. It sold for $485,000 at a Juliens auction on 15 May, 2015
This strat was ordered by Eric Clapton in 1996, at the time of the 50th anniversary of Fender. Clapton wanted something that could hang in a museum, so the company made him a custom Stratocaster plated with 23 carat gold. It sold for $455,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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This strat was ordered by Eric Clapton in 1996, at the time of the 50th anniversary of Fender. Clapton wanted something that could hang in a museum, so the company made him a custom Stratocaster plated with 23 carat gold. It sold for $455,500 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
George Harrison was presented with this Rosewood Telecaster by Fender in December, 1968. He played it in The Beatles' last ever live performance on top of the Apple building in London, in the 1970 Beatles movie "Let It Be" and on various parts of the "Abbey Road" album. It sold for $434,750 at a Juliens auction on September 13, 2003
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George Harrison was presented with this Rosewood Telecaster by Fender in December, 1968. He played it in The Beatles' last ever live performance on top of the Apple building in London, in the 1970 Beatles movie "Let It Be" and on various parts of the "Abbey Road" album. It sold for $434,750 at a Juliens auction on September 13, 2003
This 1966 custom Vox Kensington guitar was custom-made in 1966 and presented to the group in 1967 while they were working on the "Magical Mystery Tour" album. Harrison only practiced "I Am The Walrus" on this guitar but Lennon used it while recording the video of "Hello, Goodbye." It sold for $418,000 at a Juliens auction on 18 May, 2013
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This 1966 custom Vox Kensington guitar was custom-made in 1966 and presented to the group in 1967 while they were working on the "Magical Mystery Tour" album. Harrison only practiced "I Am The Walrus" on this guitar but Lennon used it while recording the video of "Hello, Goodbye." It sold for $418,000 at a Juliens auction on 18 May, 2013
This 1964 Stratocaster was given by Jimi Hendrix to his brother Leon in 1968 in Seattle. According to Leon he told Jimi that he was going to start a band. Jimi asked him if he had a guitar. Leon said no and so Jimi gave him the 1964 Fender. Leon kept it for nearly 50 years and put it up for auction in 2015. It sold for $385,917 (£260,280) at a Ted Owen & Co auction on 1 April, 2015
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This 1964 Stratocaster was given by Jimi Hendrix to his brother Leon in 1968 in Seattle. According to Leon he told Jimi that he was going to start a band. Jimi asked him if he had a guitar. Leon said no and so Jimi gave him the 1964 Fender. Leon kept it for nearly 50 years and put it up for auction in 2015. It sold for $385,917 (£260,280) at a Ted Owen & Co auction on 1 April, 2015
This 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe is one of just 14 ever made, and fewer than 10 are still known to exist. It is regarded by many as the most beautiful, the most collectible and the most valuable guitar that Martin ever made and its sound is also beyond compare. It sold for $366,000 at a Guernseys auction on 3 April, 2014
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This 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe is one of just 14 ever made, and fewer than 10 are still known to exist. It is regarded by many as the most beautiful, the most collectible and the most valuable guitar that Martin ever made and its sound is also beyond compare. It sold for $366,000 at a Guernseys auction on 3 April, 2014
This 1949 Fender Broadcaster prototype was sold privately in 1994 for $375,000, believed to be the highest price ever paid for a guitar at the time. It was Leo Fender’s first prototype for the Fender Telecaster, the world's first commercial solid-body, single-cutaway electric guitar.
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This 1949 Fender Broadcaster prototype was sold privately in 1994 for $375,000, believed to be the highest price ever paid for a guitar at the time. It was Leo Fender’s first prototype for the Fender Telecaster, the world's first commercial solid-body, single-cutaway electric guitar.
There are no photos of John Lennon playing this instrument and he himself never mentioned owning a Senator. He did own a Hofner Club 40 in 1959, and there is at least one photo showing Lennon playing a Club 40 at The Casbah Club in Liverpool. This was at the time of The Quarrymen and, certainly Ken Brown of The Quarrymen did own a Senator. But did Lennon? It sold for $338,823 at a Christies auction on 1 July, 2009
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There are no photos of John Lennon playing this instrument and he himself never mentioned owning a Senator. He did own a Hofner Club 40 in 1959, and there is at least one photo showing Lennon playing a Club 40 at The Casbah Club in Liverpool. This was at the time of The Quarrymen and, certainly Ken Brown of The Quarrymen did own a Senator. But did Lennon? It sold for $338,823 at a Christies auction on 1 July, 2009
The original Les Paul. Once owned by Les Paul himself. It sold for $343,750 at a Guernsey's auction on 19 February, 2015
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The original Les Paul. Once owned by Les Paul himself. It sold for $343,750 at a Guernsey's auction on 19 February, 2015
At the time of it's sale, this Stratocaster was the most recent addition to Eric Clapton’s collection of Signature Stratocaster Custom guitars and his third painted by graffiti artist Crash. Clapton used this as his main stage guitar from the One Generation 4 Another Albert Hall concert on 15 March, 2004 until the concert the night before his famous Christies Crossroads auction on 24 June, 2004 where it fetched $321,100
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At the time of it's sale, this Stratocaster was the most recent addition to Eric Clapton’s collection of Signature Stratocaster Custom guitars and his third painted by graffiti artist Crash. Clapton used this as his main stage guitar from the One Generation 4 Another Albert Hall concert on 15 March, 2004 until the concert the night before his famous Christies Crossroads auction on 24 June, 2004 where it fetched $321,100
The best–known of Jerry Garcia’s three Travis Bean guitars, Garcia played this TB1000 during a number of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band’s most famous shows (Golden Gate Park Show in September, 1975 and the Orpheum Theater Shows in May and July of 1976) as well as the recording of the "Steal Your Face" and the "Terrapin Station" albums. It sold for $300,000 at a Bonhams auction on 8 May, 2007
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The best–known of Jerry Garcia’s three Travis Bean guitars, Garcia played this TB1000 during a number of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band’s most famous shows (Golden Gate Park Show in September, 1975 and the Orpheum Theater Shows in May and July of 1976) as well as the recording of the "Steal Your Face" and the "Terrapin Station" albums. It sold for $300,000 at a Bonhams auction on 8 May, 2007
This cream 1975 Les Paul guitar is only the third guitar, after his Explorer and Black Stratocaster, that U2's The Edge purchased. He bought in New York in 1982 and used it in the recording studio and on stage for more than 20 years. It sold for $298,000 at a Julien's auction on 27 April, 2007
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This cream 1975 Les Paul guitar is only the third guitar, after his Explorer and Black Stratocaster, that U2's The Edge purchased. He bought in New York in 1982 and used it in the recording studio and on stage for more than 20 years. It sold for $298,000 at a Julien's auction on 27 April, 2007
This is the 1966 Fender Stratocaster used by Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival where he famously set his guitar on fire using lighter fluid. Fortunately, the guitar was switched for another just prior to the sacrificial burning. It sold for $288,493 (£180,000) at a Fame Bureau auction on 27 November, 2012
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This is the 1966 Fender Stratocaster used by Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival where he famously set his guitar on fire using lighter fluid. Fortunately, the guitar was switched for another just prior to the sacrificial burning. It sold for $288,493 (£180,000) at a Fame Bureau auction on 27 November, 2012
The Bigsby Solid Body is, arguably, the first solid body electric guitar ever made. Paul Bigsby made approximately 23 electric guitars and most are accounted for. This 1949 Bigsby Solid Body is number 4 and sold for $266,000 at a Heritage auction on 21 April, 2012
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The Bigsby Solid Body is, arguably, the first solid body electric guitar ever made. Paul Bigsby made approximately 23 electric guitars and most are accounted for. This 1949 Bigsby Solid Body is number 4 and sold for $266,000 at a Heritage auction on 21 April, 2012
The Martin Dreadnought D–28 which was used by Merle Travis throughout most of his career. Country artist, Merle Travis, purchased the third Bigsby Birdseye Maple Solid Body Electric Guitar from Luthier, engineer and inventor Paul Bigsby in 1949 and was so impressed by the neck on the guitar that he asked Bigsby to replace the neck on his Brazilian Rosewood Martin Dreadnought D–28 with something similar. Travis used the resultant guitar throughout most of his career, also using it to compose such hits as one of the top selling songs and most-recorded songs of all time, Sixteen Tons, and Dark as a Dungeon. It sold for $264,000 at a Christies auctioned on 2 April, 2007
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The Martin Dreadnought D–28 which was used by Merle Travis throughout most of his career. Country artist, Merle Travis, purchased the third Bigsby Birdseye Maple Solid Body Electric Guitar from Luthier, engineer and inventor Paul Bigsby in 1949 and was so impressed by the neck on the guitar that he asked Bigsby to replace the neck on his Brazilian Rosewood Martin Dreadnought D–28 with something similar. Travis used the resultant guitar throughout most of his career, also using it to compose such hits as one of the top selling songs and most-recorded songs of all time, Sixteen Tons, and Dark as a Dungeon. It sold for $264,000 at a Christies auctioned on 2 April, 2007
The most expensive classical guitar ever sold at auction, this 1977 Juan Alvarez Classical was used by Eric Clapton in the promotional video for 'Tears in Heaven.' It was also used on MTV’s 1992 "Unplugged" when he played it on "Signe," "Tears in Heaven" and "The Circus Left Town" and in the very poignant interview with Sue Lawley of the BBC when he played "Tears In Heaven" publicly for the first time. It was also the guitar used by Clapton 18 hours a day during his period of grieving after the death of his son, and the guitar on which he wrote "Tears in Heaven." It sold for $253,900 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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The most expensive classical guitar ever sold at auction, this 1977 Juan Alvarez Classical was used by Eric Clapton in the promotional video for 'Tears in Heaven.' It was also used on MTV’s 1992 "Unplugged" when he played it on "Signe," "Tears in Heaven" and "The Circus Left Town" and in the very poignant interview with Sue Lawley of the BBC when he played "Tears In Heaven" publicly for the first time. It was also the guitar used by Clapton 18 hours a day during his period of grieving after the death of his son, and the guitar on which he wrote "Tears in Heaven." It sold for $253,900 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
Dubbed by Clapton as "Ivan the Terrible" and used on the 1969 album "Blind Faith" this Anthony Zemaitis 12-string custom was subsequently loaned to George Harrison who used it in recording "My Sweet Lord." It sold for $253,900 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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Dubbed by Clapton as "Ivan the Terrible" and used on the 1969 album "Blind Faith" this Anthony Zemaitis 12-string custom was subsequently loaned to George Harrison who used it in recording "My Sweet Lord." It sold for $253,900 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
This Travis Bean TB500 electric guitar was sold for $301,840 ($243,200 plus buyers commission) at a Juliens auction on 6 December, 2013
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This Travis Bean TB500 electric guitar was sold for $301,840 ($243,200 plus buyers commission) at a Juliens auction on 6 December, 2013
In 1958, Gibson began producing the Les Paul Standard model, which retained most of the features of the Goldtop, though the finish became a cherry-red version of the Sunburst finish long used on Gibson's flat-top and archtop acoustic and hollow electric guitars. Production ended in 1961, when Gibson redesigned it to feature a double cutaway body, subsequently becoming the Gibson SG. Around 1,700 instruments were made in the first series, and these are now highly valuable. Though it had no remarkable provenance, the pre-auction estimate of $225,000 to $250,000 for this guitar proved accurate. Production was resumed in 1968 due to public demand, and continues to this day. It sold for $237,000 at a Skinner auction on 3 May, 2009
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In 1958, Gibson began producing the Les Paul Standard model, which retained most of the features of the Goldtop, though the finish became a cherry-red version of the Sunburst finish long used on Gibson's flat-top and archtop acoustic and hollow electric guitars. Production ended in 1961, when Gibson redesigned it to feature a double cutaway body, subsequently becoming the Gibson SG. Around 1,700 instruments were made in the first series, and these are now highly valuable. Though it had no remarkable provenance, the pre-auction estimate of $225,000 to $250,000 for this guitar proved accurate. Production was resumed in 1968 due to public demand, and continues to this day. It sold for $237,000 at a Skinner auction on 3 May, 2009
Euphemistically called the "Nocaster" - the Fender with no name - after the legal spate with Gretsch. Initially, the guitar was called the Broadcaster, but Gretsch had a drum set called the "Broadkaster," with a name it had registered, so Fender simply removed the Broadcaster decals and shipped off the few remaining models. These guitars became known as the Nocaster which ultimately, in 1951, became the Telecaster. This specific guitar was presented to Les Paul by Leo Fender who has autographed it on the back of the headstock. This guitar sold for $225,000 at a Juliens auction on 8 June, 2012
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Euphemistically called the "Nocaster" - the Fender with no name - after the legal spate with Gretsch. Initially, the guitar was called the Broadcaster, but Gretsch had a drum set called the "Broadkaster," with a name it had registered, so Fender simply removed the Broadcaster decals and shipped off the few remaining models. These guitars became known as the Nocaster which ultimately, in 1951, became the Telecaster. This specific guitar was presented to Les Paul by Leo Fender who has autographed it on the back of the headstock. This guitar sold for $225,000 at a Juliens auction on 8 June, 2012
This Gretsch Irish Falcon has been auctioned several times, achieving its highest price of $275,000 (including buyers premium) at a Julien's auction in April, 2007.
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This Gretsch Irish Falcon has been auctioned several times, achieving its highest price of $275,000 (including buyers premium) at a Julien's auction in April, 2007.
This 2000 Fender Custom Stratocaster was played by Eric Clapton in the studio, and used as a back-up stage guitar during the "Reptile" tour of 2001. It was played on stage at least on a couple of occasions, one of which was for the song "Layla" in the last concert of the first leg of the US Tour at Madison Square Garden on 23rd June, 2001. It sold for $220,300 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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This 2000 Fender Custom Stratocaster was played by Eric Clapton in the studio, and used as a back-up stage guitar during the "Reptile" tour of 2001. It was played on stage at least on a couple of occasions, one of which was for the song "Layla" in the last concert of the first leg of the US Tour at Madison Square Garden on 23rd June, 2001. It sold for $220,300 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
The Martin D-45 was manufactured in limited quantities from 1933 to 1942, and again since 1968. The first series of D-45s was made with sides and backs of Brazilian rosewood (now endangered and illegal to trade) and only 91 instruments were made. It sold for $219,225 at a Skinner auction on 6 November, 2011
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The Martin D-45 was manufactured in limited quantities from 1933 to 1942, and again since 1968. The first series of D-45s was made with sides and backs of Brazilian rosewood (now endangered and illegal to trade) and only 91 instruments were made. It sold for $219,225 at a Skinner auction on 6 November, 2011
This Hofner Violin Bass guitar was built specifically for McCartney in 1964, and is one of three he has owned. The first was lost, the second (a 1963 model) he still plays, and this is the third. It sold for $255,760 ($204,800 plus buyer's fees) at a Julien's auction in December, 2013
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This Hofner Violin Bass guitar was built specifically for McCartney in 1964, and is one of three he has owned. The first was lost, the second (a 1963 model) he still plays, and this is the third. It sold for $255,760 ($204,800 plus buyer's fees) at a Julien's auction in December, 2013
This 1982 Fender Telecaster was used by Bob Dylan in many live performances and LPs from the late 1980s through to 1992. It was sold as part of the Juliens auction benefiting Music Rising for $250,000 in April, 2007
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This 1982 Fender Telecaster was used by Bob Dylan in many live performances and LPs from the late 1980s through to 1992. It was sold as part of the Juliens auction benefiting Music Rising for $250,000 in April, 2007
This 1959 Left-handed Les Paul Standard sold for $194,500 at a Heritage auction on 27 October, 2012
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This 1959 Left-handed Les Paul Standard sold for $194,500 at a Heritage auction on 27 October, 2012
This ex-Hendrix Sunburst Fender Stratocaster was sold for $237,500 at a Juliens auction on 24 June, 2010
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This ex-Hendrix Sunburst Fender Stratocaster was sold for $237,500 at a Juliens auction on 24 June, 2010
The prototype 1969/70 Gibson Les Paul Recording model with the repaired headstock stamped "001" and "Original Gibson Prototype." The Bigsby has been customized to accommodate a "Paulverizer" which was included in the sale. This is likely the first Les Paul recording model ever made. This guitar, and Paulverizer are featured on pages 291 and 293 of Les Paul's autobiography. It sold for $237,500 at a Juliens auction on 8 June, 2012
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The prototype 1969/70 Gibson Les Paul Recording model with the repaired headstock stamped "001" and "Original Gibson Prototype." The Bigsby has been customized to accommodate a "Paulverizer" which was included in the sale. This is likely the first Les Paul recording model ever made. This guitar, and Paulverizer are featured on pages 291 and 293 of Les Paul's autobiography. It sold for $237,500 at a Juliens auction on 8 June, 2012
This 1996 Fender Stratocaster Master Built Production Sample served as one of Eric Clapton's main stage guitars between 1998-1999. It was used frequently on the Pilgrim World Tour throughout 1998 and as the main guitar during the Japanese leg of the tour in November/December 1999. This guitar also made appearances at a number of high-profile events including two at the White House in 1998 and 1999 as well as the Crossroads Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden (which commemorated the 1999 Christie's auction) and at Sheryl Crow's Central Park In Blue concert in 1999. It sold for $186,700 on 24 June, 2004 at a Christies auction
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This 1996 Fender Stratocaster Master Built Production Sample served as one of Eric Clapton's main stage guitars between 1998-1999. It was used frequently on the Pilgrim World Tour throughout 1998 and as the main guitar during the Japanese leg of the tour in November/December 1999. This guitar also made appearances at a number of high-profile events including two at the White House in 1998 and 1999 as well as the Crossroads Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden (which commemorated the 1999 Christie's auction) and at Sheryl Crow's Central Park In Blue concert in 1999. It sold for $186,700 on 24 June, 2004 at a Christies auction
Eric Clapton refers to this 1966 Martin Style 000-28 as "The Longworth," after Mike Longworth, a custom builder and the historian for C.F. Martin and Company. Clapton acquired it in Nashville in November 1970 while he was on his US Tour with the Dominos. He used the guitar for recording sessions at Criteria Studios in Miami in the spring of 1974, which produced the "461 Ocean Boulevard" album and made regular stage appearances until November 1995. It sold for $186,700 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
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Eric Clapton refers to this 1966 Martin Style 000-28 as "The Longworth," after Mike Longworth, a custom builder and the historian for C.F. Martin and Company. Clapton acquired it in Nashville in November 1970 while he was on his US Tour with the Dominos. He used the guitar for recording sessions at Criteria Studios in Miami in the spring of 1974, which produced the "461 Ocean Boulevard" album and made regular stage appearances until November 1995. It sold for $186,700 at a Christies auction on 24 June, 2004
This is the first guitar that San Francisco luthier, Doug Irwin, made for Jerry Garcia, and it began their relationship of several decades which resulted in Garcia leaving his guitars to Irwin in his will. Around 1970, Garcia walked into a shop where Irwin was working, building guitars, was immediately attracted to the quality of his work, and bought this guitar on the spot. Simply known as "The Eagle" because of Irwin's eagle logo inlayed on the headstock, this instrument became the inspiration for all subsequent guitars that Irwin made for Garcia. Garcia was the last person to ever play this guitar. It sold for $186,000 at a Bonhams auction on 8 May, 2007
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This is the first guitar that San Francisco luthier, Doug Irwin, made for Jerry Garcia, and it began their relationship of several decades which resulted in Garcia leaving his guitars to Irwin in his will. Around 1970, Garcia walked into a shop where Irwin was working, building guitars, was immediately attracted to the quality of his work, and bought this guitar on the spot. Simply known as "The Eagle" because of Irwin's eagle logo inlayed on the headstock, this instrument became the inspiration for all subsequent guitars that Irwin made for Garcia. Garcia was the last person to ever play this guitar. It sold for $186,000 at a Bonhams auction on 8 May, 2007
This 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard sold for $182,500 at a Christies auction on 3 April, 2009
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This 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard sold for $182,500 at a Christies auction on 3 April, 2009
The original run of Gibson's Flying V saw just 98 instruments produced between 1958 and 1959 before production was cancelled due to lack of interest and its relatively high price for the time – $247.50 – the same price as a Les Paul Standard. This 1959 Gibson Flying V sold for $182,500 at a Christies auction on 3 April, 2009
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The original run of Gibson's Flying V saw just 98 instruments produced between 1958 and 1959 before production was cancelled due to lack of interest and its relatively high price for the time – $247.50 – the same price as a Les Paul Standard. This 1959 Gibson Flying V sold for $182,500 at a Christies auction on 3 April, 2009
The Quarrymen play St. Peter's Parish Fete in Woolton, Liverpool on 6 July 1957, the day John Lennon met Paul McCartney. From left to right: Griffiths, Hanton, Davis, Lennon, Shotton, Garry
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The Quarrymen play St. Peter's Parish Fete in Woolton, Liverpool on 6 July 1957, the day John Lennon met Paul McCartney. From left to right: Griffiths, Hanton, Davis, Lennon, Shotton, Garry
Jerry Garcia on the cover of Julien's Sale Catalogue
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Jerry Garcia on the cover of Julien's Sale Catalogue
The original Gibson Explorer, along with its sibling, the Flying V, remain two of the most radical guitars ever made, and both are shining examples of guitar design ahead of its time. The legend goes that the design was inspired by the tail fins of 1950’s Cadillacs and Chryslers. Unfortunately the original Explorer was not successful and was discontinued making it now both rare and very expensive. This 1958 Gibson Explorer sold for $153,277 (£95,200) at a Sothebys auction on 13 May, 2003
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The original Gibson Explorer, along with its sibling, the Flying V, remain two of the most radical guitars ever made, and both are shining examples of guitar design ahead of its time. The legend goes that the design was inspired by the tail fins of 1950’s Cadillacs and Chryslers. Unfortunately the original Explorer was not successful and was discontinued making it now both rare and very expensive. This 1958 Gibson Explorer sold for $153,277 (£95,200) at a Sothebys auction on 13 May, 2003
This is one of three early experimental 1940 Epiphone Zephyr models called the “Klunkers” by Les Paul, featured on pages 120 and 121 in his autobiography. It sold for $144,000 at a Juliens auction on 9 June, 2012
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This is one of three early experimental 1940 Epiphone Zephyr models called the “Klunkers” by Les Paul, featured on pages 120 and 121 in his autobiography. It sold for $144,000 at a Juliens auction on 9 June, 2012
The constant companion of one of the all-time greats, Country and Western pioneer Hank Williams, for the last six years of his tragically short life. This Martin D-18 was used to record all of the 35 singles which reached Top 10 on the Billboard Country and Western Best Sellers chart (including 11 No. 1 singles and five "million sellers") and to write such hits as "Your Cheatin Heart" and "Jambalaya." It sold for $134,500 at a Christies auction on 3 December, 2009
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The constant companion of one of the all-time greats, Country and Western pioneer Hank Williams, for the last six years of his tragically short life. This Martin D-18 was used to record all of the 35 singles which reached Top 10 on the Billboard Country and Western Best Sellers chart (including 11 No. 1 singles and five "million sellers") and to write such hits as "Your Cheatin Heart" and "Jambalaya." It sold for $134,500 at a Christies auction on 3 December, 2009
This ES295 was used in recording U2's "Desire" and can be seen in the video for this song. It was also used on the Joshua Tree album and subsequent U2 tours up to the Vertigo tour. He played with this instrument on such live numbers as "The Electrico Co." and "God's Country." It sold for $131,250 at a Juliens auction on 27 April, 2007
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This ES295 was used in recording U2's "Desire" and can be seen in the video for this song. It was also used on the Joshua Tree album and subsequent U2 tours up to the Vertigo tour. He played with this instrument on such live numbers as "The Electrico Co." and "God's Country." It sold for $131,250 at a Juliens auction on 27 April, 2007
Another of the approximately 1,700 Gibson Les Paul Standards created between 1958 and 1960, this 1960 Gibson Les Paul Sunburst sold for $134,500 at a Heritage auction on 20 April, 2013
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Another of the approximately 1,700 Gibson Les Paul Standards created between 1958 and 1960, this 1960 Gibson Les Paul Sunburst sold for $134,500 at a Heritage auction on 20 April, 2013
This was the first brand name guitar owned by the man who named, founded and initially led the Rolling Stones: Brian Jones. Purchased in 1962, Jones used this guitar almost exclusively until the autumn of 1963 when the Stones signed with Decca Records. It sold for $130,824 (£79,250) at a Christies auction on 1 July 2009
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This was the first brand name guitar owned by the man who named, founded and initially led the Rolling Stones: Brian Jones. Purchased in 1962, Jones used this guitar almost exclusively until the autumn of 1963 when the Stones signed with Decca Records. It sold for $130,824 (£79,250) at a Christies auction on 1 July 2009
Brian Jones playing this 1960 Harmony Stratotone on stage with the Rolling Stones' first line up at the Marquee Club, Oxford Street, London in 1963. They certainly look like a bunch of clean cut lads these days but their long hair at the time was quite outrageous
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Brian Jones playing this 1960 Harmony Stratotone on stage with the Rolling Stones' first line up at the Marquee Club, Oxford Street, London in 1963. They certainly look like a bunch of clean cut lads these days but their long hair at the time was quite outrageous
Yet another Gibson Les Paul Standard, this 1959 model sold for $127,000 on 16 October, 2005 at a Skinner auction
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Yet another Gibson Les Paul Standard, this 1959 model sold for $127,000 on 16 October, 2005 at a Skinner auction
This Hofner left-handed vintage bass was rented by Paul McCartney from Harris Hire in Beckenham, England, on numerous occasions between 1997 and 2013 . It sold for $125,000 at a Juliens auction on 17 May, 2014
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This Hofner left-handed vintage bass was rented by Paul McCartney from Harris Hire in Beckenham, England, on numerous occasions between 1997 and 2013 . It sold for $125,000 at a Juliens auction on 17 May, 2014
This Travis Bean TB500 guitar (this is number 11, number 12 is also on this list) was used extensively by Jerry Garcia on stage, in the studio and when jamming with his entourage, while with the Grateful Dead and The Jerry Garcia Band. Apparently the first time he saw this new hand made guitar he laughed, as the unusual custom aluminum neck was surprisingly different, however he quickly changed his mind when he played the guitar for the first time, thanks to it's pure tonal qualities. It sold for $124,052 (£75,700) at a Bonhams auction on 18 December, 2013
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This Travis Bean TB500 guitar (this is number 11, number 12 is also on this list) was used extensively by Jerry Garcia on stage, in the studio and when jamming with his entourage, while with the Grateful Dead and The Jerry Garcia Band. Apparently the first time he saw this new hand made guitar he laughed, as the unusual custom aluminum neck was surprisingly different, however he quickly changed his mind when he played the guitar for the first time, thanks to it's pure tonal qualities. It sold for $124,052 (£75,700) at a Bonhams auction on 18 December, 2013
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The promotional poster for the famous gig (no image available of the guitar)
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The promotional poster for the famous gig (no image available of the guitar)
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The 3/4 size guitar John Lennon was playing on that auspicious day when the world's most famous songwriting duo met. It "broke" in 1958 and was left in the care of Lennon’s Aunt Mimi, who, on his death, and after getting the guitar repaired, gave it to a disabled boy and when he died it was passed on to a disabled girl. The guitar was auctioned in 1999 with the proceeds going to safeguard her future. The guitar was auctioned bearing a brass plaque which Lennon's Aunt Mimi had mounted on the headstock with the advice she once gave to a young Lennon: "Remember, you'll never earn your living by it." It sold ion 14 September, 1999 at a Sotheby’s auction for $244,384 (£155,000)
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The 3/4 size guitar John Lennon was playing on that auspicious day when the world's most famous songwriting duo met. It "broke" in 1958 and was left in the care of Lennon’s Aunt Mimi, who, on his death, and after getting the guitar repaired, gave it to a disabled boy and when he died it was passed on to a disabled girl. The guitar was auctioned in 1999 with the proceeds going to safeguard her future. The guitar was auctioned bearing a brass plaque which Lennon's Aunt Mimi had mounted on the headstock with the advice she once gave to a young Lennon: "Remember, you'll never earn your living by it." It sold ion 14 September, 1999 at a Sotheby’s auction for $244,384 (£155,000)
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With the esteemed provenance of having been the primary tool of the early Lennon/McCartney songwriting collaborations, this 1962 Gibson J-160E sold for $2,902,000 at another Julien's auction in 2015 at the same venue as the Cobain sale. This guitar was responsible for the formative chords of The Beatles' classics “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “Please, Please, Me” and “All My Loving"
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With the esteemed provenance of having been the primary tool of the early Lennon/McCartney songwriting collaborations, this 1962 Gibson J-160E sold for $2,902,000 at another Julien's auction in 2015 at the same venue as the Cobain sale. This guitar was responsible for the formative chords of The Beatles' classics “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “Please, Please, Me” and “All My Loving"
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George Harrison's first electric guitar was this Hofner Club 40
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George Harrison's first electric guitar was this Hofner Club 40
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Dave Gilmour's 1983/1989 Fender Stratocaster
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Dave Gilmour's 1983/1989 Fender Stratocaster
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George Harrison's 1962 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean
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George Harrison's 1962 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean
$214,635 | This 320-year-old guitar by Jean-Baptiste Voboam was created in Paris in 1699. It has been on display at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and was auctioned by Gardiner Houlgate, 2015
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This 320-year-old guitar by Jean-Baptiste Voboam was created in Paris in 1699. It has been on display at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and was auctioned by Gardiner Houlgate in 2015 for $214,635
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Les Paul's early 1940s Epiphone Zephyr was sold by Julian's auctions at the Les Paul Estate sale in 2012 for $200,000
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Les Paul's early 1940s Epiphone Zephyr was sold by Julian's auctions at the Les Paul Estate sale in 2012 for $200,000
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This black Gibson ES-345 prototype was given to B.B. King for his 80th birthday. It fetched $280,000 at auction in September, 2019
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This black Gibson ES-345 prototype was given to B.B. King for his 80th birthday. It fetched $280,000 at auction in September, 2019
This black Gibson ES-345 prototype was given to B.B. King for his 80th birthday. It fetched $280,000 at auction in September, 2019
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This black Gibson ES-345 prototype was given to B.B. King for his 80th birthday. It fetched $280,000 at auction in September, 2019
Fender Mustang guitar from Nirvana’s 1993 In Utero tour | Price: $340,000 | Auctioned: October 26, 2019 | Julien's Auctions
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Fender Mustang guitar from Nirvana’s 1993 In Utero tour | Price: $340,000 | Auctioned: October 26, 2019 | Julien's Auctions
Screengrab from the Gibson Guitars article “From the Attic to the Auction: The Skyrocketing Value of Vintage Gibsons”, dated October 2007
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Screengrab from the Gibson Guitars article “From the Attic to the Auction: The Skyrocketing Value of Vintage Gibsons”, dated October 2007
Sold by Christie's in October 2005, this 1959 Gibson Les Paul fetched $268,000
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Sold by Christie's in October 2005, this 1959 Gibson Les Paul fetched $268,000
This 1959 Gibson Les Paul was part of the guitar collection of Geddy Lee, and one of fewer than 1,700 of the desirable 1958-1960 "Burst" examples extant. It sold as part of Mecum’s Guitar Search initiative, in January, 2020. That's Geddy and Rush, live in concert at the Xcel Energy Center on May 22, 2008 as photographed by Matt Becker
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This 1959 Gibson Les Paul was part of the guitar collection of Geddy Lee, and one of fewer than 1,700 of the desirable 1958-1960 "Burst" examples extant. It sold as part of Mecum’s Guitar Search initiative, in January, 2020. That's Geddy and Rush, live in concert at the Xcel Energy Center on May 22, 2008 as photographed by Matt Becker
This is the 1951 Fender Broadcaster with which Stevie Ray Vaughan launched his career. It sold for $250,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2018
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This is the 1951 Fender Broadcaster with which Stevie Ray Vaughan launched his career. It sold for $250,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2018
Elvis Presley's performance on the evening of July 31, 1969, turned his career around. Newsweek wrote, "there are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars." Rolling Stone wrote of Presley's performance, "supernatural, his own resurrection."
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Elvis Presley's performance on the evening of July 31, 1969, turned his career around. Newsweek wrote, "there are several unbelievable things about Elvis, but the most incredible is his staying power in a world where meteoric careers fade like shooting stars." Rolling Stone wrote of Presley's performance, "supernatural, his own resurrection."
Elvis Presley's 1965 Gretsch Country Gentleman was sold at auction by Julien's in 2008 for $237,500
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Elvis Presley's 1965 Gretsch Country Gentleman was sold at auction by Julien's in 2008 for $237,500
This 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Sunburst was sold by Heritage Auctions for $218,750 in 2019
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This 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Sunburst was sold by Heritage Auctions for $218,750 in 2019
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This original and unrestored 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard is nicknamed "Scarface" thanks to a small area made invisible by the pickguard where the original owner’s "Jimmy Page mod" was removed and repaired. The guitar sold for $212,400 in January, 2020 by new guitar auctioneer, Mecum.