Luxist Phototour: A Look At Eric Clapton's Legendary Guitars Up For Auction
In the last 50 years guitars have made the transition from serviceable musical instruments to works of art. Collectible guitars have become hot items at auction and some have been enshrined at museums around the country. Guitars that have been touched by guitar gods are particularly valued. In the guitar world they don't get much godlier than Eric Clapton. Clapton is a rock icon whose work has stretched decades. Not only is he one of the best, he's played with the best and is forever enshrined as part of the history of rock and roll.
Clapton has auctioned off guitars twice before in service of his other passion, recovery. The upcoming auction at Bonhams, New York on March 9 will benefit The Crossroads Centre, Antigua, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center he founded in 1998. The sale will feature more than 70 guitars and 70 amps, which have helped create Clapton's legendary sound. Although he has donated guitars before this is the first time that he has brought his historic amplifier collection to auction and even for a non-musician, it's pretty compelling stuff. After all, you can't have Clapton's arena-filling sound without an amp.
One of the nicer things about comprehensive sales is that you get a healthy range of price points. This one gives fans a rare opportunity to purchase a piece of Clapton history with estimates on amps and guitars spanning from $300-30,000. Highlights include one of Clapton's main stage guitars from 2005 - a custom built black Fender 'Eric Clapton Signature' Stratocaster estimated at $20,000-30,000.
Shown above is the presentation 'gold' sales award for the Reprise/Duck Records LP ME AND MR JOHNSON, RIAA certified, signed by Eric Clapton on the Perspex® glaze in black felt pen. It is estimated at $600-$900.
The guitar above is a 2006 Fender Esquire Jeff Beck Replica Model signed by Jeff Beck. The lot also includes a Rolling Stone magazine cover featuring a photograph of Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, mounted and laminated on wooden display plaque, signed by Eric Clapton in silver felt pen. This lot is estimated at $4,500 - 6,500.
Shown above is a 2010 Gibson Les Paul Standard Eric Clapton 'Beano' Tribute Model,Serial no. 01, in sunburst finish. It comes with a wooden Presentation Plaque with reproduction front cover of the Beano comic book, May 1966. This issue of the British comic was being read by Clapton on the album cover of John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers." This lot is estimated at $20,000 - 30,000.
This Gianni Versace designed stage suit was made for Clapton for his concert at the Royal Albert Hall during his 1990 World Tour. It is estimated at $3,000 - 4,000.
Shown above is a 2008 Fender Stratocaster Eric Clapton Signature Model in Daphne Blue finish with a maple neck. It is estimated at $20,000 - 30,000.
I don't usually think of amps as particularly attractive pieces. Usually the glamour finishes are saved for the guitars. But this beauty is a 1998 Fender Woody Jr, Serial No. B-050344, signed by the makers at the bottom of the varnished flame maple cabinet. It has a gold-plated chassis with six white 'chicken head' rotary controls and comes with a brown/black textured custom flight case with stickers including Eric Clapton & Stevie Winwood. It is estimated at $2,200 - 2,800.
This gold sparkle Fender Stratocaster with a 'Pin-Up' girl transfer has been played on stage by guitar prodigy Joe Bonamassa since he was seventeen years old. It is estimated at $12,000 - 18,000.