It was announced over the weekend that former Thin Lizzy guitarist and general six-string legend Gary Moore had sadly died in Spain, aged only 58. The blues-rock musician was born in Belfast in 1952, and began playing guitar at the tender age of eight. Under the tutelage of Fleetwood Mac genius Peter Green, Moore developed into one of the most celebrated guitarists of the 1970s.
Moore was renowned for several stints as a guitarist for legendary Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, contributing his distinctive sound to several tours and the album 'Black Rose: A Rock Legend'. Moore also had a lengthy and successful solo career, a highlight being his collaboration with Lizzy's Phil Lynott on 'Parisienne Walkways'.
As is often the case, the death of an iconic musician is likely to make memorabilia connected to their life and work highly collectible. Moore-related items have in fact been collectible for many years.
After his well-publicised mental breakdown, Peter Green lent Moore his 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard. Moore later bought it for £110 and remarkably it was recently listed for auction for a staggering $2m - making it one of the most expensive guitars in the world.
In addition, as we reported in December, Moore also contributed to PUP AID - a charity raising awareness of puppy farming - by signing a unique Epiphone Casino guitar, along with a host of other rock legends including Keith Richards and Eric Clapton. It sold at Bonhams for nearly £3,000.
Moore's tragic early death will of course make his autograph a rarity. The effect of death of on musical memorabilia and collectibles is well-known. For example, a guitar played by the late Jerry Garcia - frontman of the Grateful Dead - sold for $312,000 in 2007, as we reported here.
The incredible value of John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix memorabilia - for example this patterned guitar strap - is well-documented. As we wrote last February, the investment potential of famous old guitars is incredible, with some appreciating by as much as 500% in only 6 months of ownership.
The value and investable nature of music memorabilia is undoubted, especially when connected to artists who are no longer with us. They not only make a strong asset but act as a wonderful reminder of the life's work of some of the most important and pioneering musicians to have graced studio and stage. Gary Moore's compelling blues and impassioned playing will be greatly missed - and memorabilia is a fine tribute to his legacy.