Julien’s Auctions put a number of marquee acoustic and electric guitars under the hammer on November 19 and 20 at the New York City Hard Rock Cafe as part of its Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll sale.
The auctions saw a number of guitars owned and played by the likes of David Gilmour, the Edge, Eric Clapton, and Eddie Van Halen fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, some far exceeding in sales price their original estimated value.
The most prominent of these was a 1968 Martin D-45 acoustic guitar once owned by Eric Clapton, and used by him onstage at Derek and The Dominos' debut concert at the Lyceum Theatre in London on June 14, 1970.
Originally given an estimated value of $300,000, the storied acoustic sold for an astonishing $625,000.
Also fetching big numbers were two electrics associated with Pink Floyd legend David Gilmour.
The first of these was a heavily modded and customized cream Fender Stratocaster Vintage '57 reissue that was taken on the road as part of the world tours for Pink Floyd's A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell albums.
Shown at a Fender exhibition in the US in December 1993 and at EMI's 1997 Music 100 exhibition in London, the guitar was dubbed "Cream No. 2," and served as a trusty backup to Gilmour's favorite cream Strat. It was sold by Julien's for $200,000.
Additionally, a black Stratocaster – autographed by Gilmour – was sold for $51,200, with all proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The auction's most unexpected big-ticket item, however, was a 1976 Gibson Explorer used onstage by U2's The Edge. The guitar mostly served as a backup on the world tour for U2's blockbuster 1987 album, The Joshua Tree.
Put under the hammer with matching photos proving its provenance though, the guitar sold for a whopping $437,500.
Additionally, a Gibson Les Paul Standard – also used onstage by The Edge – fetched an even $96,000.
As if that wasn't enough star power, the auction also featured an Eddie Van Halen-played EVH Frankenstrat replica bearing the autographs of both Eddie and Alex Van Halen.
Gifted to Kevan Hill – a childhood friend of the Van Halen brothers, and a member of their first band, Broken Combs – and boasting five 2012-era Van Halen picks and bike reflectors, the guitar sold for an impressive $83,000.
For more info on the full Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll sale, stop by juliensauctions.com.
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.