Buddy Holly's $550k guitar leads Country Music sale

Today (December 3), in New York, The Country Music Sale at Christie's will feature property from the Estate of Hank Thompson, a swing band leader, songwriter and country performer.

This sale also features important property from the classic and marquee names in Country Music; including musical instruments, stage outfits, and hand-written lyrics from American artists such as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Waylon Jennings, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Conway Twitty, Bill Monroe, Buddy Holly, Johnny and June Carter Cash, Luther Perkins, and John Hartford.

"The property in this inaugural sale tells a story of Country Music through the objects owned and used by the performers," said Kerry Keane and Cathy Elkies, Christie's Head Specialists for the sale.

"This is a rare opportunity for Country Music fans to acquire some of the finest instruments, costumes and memorabilia from legendary artists."

Leading the sale is Buddy Holly's Gibson J-45 guitar, circa 1942-43 (estimated at $450,000-550,000). This guitar was used frequently during his performing years, possibly even during his performances with Elvis Presley or Bill Haley in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas.

Distinctively personalised, Holly hand-tooled the leather cover and strap himself as a tribute to Elvis Presley, whom he first met in January 1955.

Buddy Holly's Gibson J-45 guitar, circa 1942-43 ($450,000-550,000) will be the star performer
Buddy Holly's Gibson J-45 guitar, circa 1942-43 ($450k-550k) will be the star performer

The collection features additional important instruments, including an iconic Waylon Jennings Fender electric guitar, circa 1950 (estimated at $80,000 - 120,000) with a custom-made white and black, hand tooled leather cover and a matching leather strap, bearing the name Waylon.

Also going under the hammer will be a CF Martin D-18 guitar, 1947, owned by Hank Williams, one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the 20th century (estimated at $100,000-150,000); Hank Thompson's Gibson J-200 guitar, 1948, with a neck by Paul A Bigsby (estimated at $20,000-30,000); and Johnny Cash's black Fender Malibu guitar, circa 1965, famous in Cash's performance history in the late 1960s and early 1970s (estimated at $40,000-60,000).

The elaborate hand embroidery and rhinestone glitter of Nudie Cohen's stage wear became standard for the Western musician and was quickly embraced by Eastern Country performers by 1950.

The clean lines and colourful sparkle of a Nudie suit became the standard issue wear regularly seen on many artists, such as Roy Rogers's white lace-up stage shirt with rhinestones and blue leather tassels (estimated at $1,000-1,500).

Hank Snow's red stage jacket and pants featuring a grape brocade ($2,000-3,000) and Hank Thompson's gray stage jacket and pants with electric blue brocade ($4,000-5,000) will also hit the auction block.

Equally important is one of Johnny "The Man in Black" Cash's black stage outfits designed by Manuel, ($8,000-10,000). It is detailed with gold button-up embellishments and red piping, accompanied by a pair of black leather, fringed, knee high stage boots ($3,000-5,000).

Other highlights include Bill Monroe's face-plate to his 1923 F-5 "Lloyd Loar" mandolin ($5,000-7,000); a portfolio by photographer Jim McGuire of twelve silver gelatin portrait photographs of country stars from Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings to Dolly Parton ($5,000-7,000); and a group of five Elvis Presley original Sun 78 RPM records ($2,000-3,000).


Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock