If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a guitar played by one of your rock 'n' roll idols, a great opportunity to get one is coming up at the Guernsey’s February 27 auction in New York City. More than 300 guitars covering a wide swath of rock history will be up for grabs, including Eddie Van Halen’s customized 1982 Charvel (expected to go for $60,000-$80,000) and Tony Motolla’s 1952 Gibson Super 400CES 7-String, which was used extensively in his work with Frank Sinatra and may fetch a top price of $100,000.
The biggest ticket item, expected to pull in $150,000-$200,000, is a lot of two acoustic guitars associated with the 1962 film adaptation of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. One was played by Robert Blake in the Academy Award-winning movie, while the other was actually owned by the character he plays, killer Perry Edward Smith.
Other highlights include a 12-string acoustic guitar owned by Ringo Starr and played by John Lennon; several signed guitars from Eric Clapton’s collection; a Stevie Ray Vaughn ’67 Fender Stratocaster; and 20 different instruments from jazz and R&B legend George Benson. Various types of music are represented, including an extensive selection of signed guitars from Elvis, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Prince, The Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols and Pink Floyd.
The guitar strap Jimi Hendrix used when he closed out the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in 1969 is also listed, and was last auctioned in 2008 at a range of $25,000-$30,000. That’s a mere trifle compared to the record $2 million that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen reportedly paid in 1998 for the actual guitar he played there, a 1968 Olympic White Fender Stratocaster.
The auction takes place at the Bohemian National Hall and previews are available to the public February 25-26, noon to 8 p.m.