Jimi Hendrix’s longest-owned guitar sold for £209,000—about $258,000—today in London at Bonhams’ Entertainment Memorabilia sale.
The guitar—a 1951 Epiphone FT79 acoustic (Serial No. 62262), shown below—was expected to fetch between £80,000 and £120,000—roughly $10,000 to 48,000—but the price climbed during an intense bidding war.
Hendrix purchased the guitar for around $25 in August 1967 during the Experience’s first tour of the U.S. He brought it back to England later that month. As Hendrix was unable to use an amp in his Upper Berkeley Street flat in London (due to noise complaints from neighbors), the acoustic became his go-to instrument for a time. He used it to write riffs and arrangements, including his reworking of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
The guitar was in Hendrix’s possession for almost three years and he used it continuously in his London home. He eventually gave the instrument to Blue Mink guitarist Alan Parker, and it was featured in recordings by Dusty Springfield, Walker Brothers, Paul McCartney and David Bowie.
Check out the video clip below at the 20:30 mark to see some up-close shots of the Epiphone FT79 filmed inside Hendrix’s Sixties London flat (now the Handel and Hendrix Museum).
Also at the Bonhams auction, one of Prince’s custom Cloud guitars sold for £87,500 (about $108,000)—more than three times its estimate of roughly $31,000 to $37,000). The guitar, shown at bottom, was used on the Act I & II Prince and the New Power Generation tours of 1993.