Eric Clapton, Les Paul and other rock guitars auction in New York

The Beatles, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and other rock 'n' roll luminaries will feature in a sale of music memorabilia complied by expert appraiser Gary Sohmers for sale at Weiss Auctions.

The sale will take place in Oceanside, New York, on April 25.

We've already reported on Elvis Presley's signed original contract to purchase Graceland in Memphis, and the previously unseen 1966 Beatles concert poster.

And auctioning alongside these exceptional lots is the John Anderson Autographed Guitar Collection, collected by the renowned promoter, altruist and former BB King road manager.

Guitar legend Eric Clapton photo-
graphed with his Stratocaster,

Anderson's collecting skills included getting Eric Clapton to sign a Fender "Blackie" Signature Series Stratocaster guitar backstage at the Royal Albert Hall.

Other highlights in his collection include mint condition Fender, Gibson, Epiphone and Takemine guitars signed by legendary guitarists such as Les Paul, Jeff Beck, Robert Cray and John Entwistle.

Old guitars are among the most investible rock memorabilia items. For instance, a late 1960s Strat' worth a couple of hundred dollars in its heyday can today sell for as much as $30,000.

Other vintage axes, like a 1960s Gibson Les Paul Jr, have in the past shown an incredible appreciation of 500% after six months of ownership.

Aside from being in mint condition (with original parts, electronics and paint), a guitar's collectability is massively boosted if it is tied to a famous musician, or even a famous event like Woodstock 1969.

For example, a rare Fender Stratocaster guitar was the star lot at Cordier Antiques & Auctions' recent Two Day Fall Antiques & Fine Art Auction in Pennsylvania, US.

Purchased in 1954 and consigned by an 84-year-old Carlisle native, John Hippensteel, the guitar aroused much interest in the weeks leading up to the sale.

That Hippensteel was the former lead singer of the Blue Ridge Boys, a popular Pennsylvania-based hillbilly and Western swing band in the 1950s, probably didn't hurt its chances either.

Eventually, strong bidding saw the hammer go down at $22,000, sold to a collector over the phone in Ohio. Mr Hippensteel originally bought the guitar for $225.

Elsewhere, in December last year, Christie's first-ever Country Music sale was headlined by a CF Martin and company Style D-18 guitar.

Once owned by the country legend Hank Williams, the 1974 acoustic left the auction block just shy of its upper estimate, selling for $134,500.

Meanwhile, at Julien's massive rock memorabilia sale, a highest grossing item - aside from the wealth of headline-grabbing Michael Jackson ephemera for sale - was a rock guitar with impeccable provenance.

Bo Diddley (1928-2008) with his iconic
square guitar

Rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley's (1928-2008) last-ever stage used guitar and case brought an incredible $60,000, last year.

Unsurprisingly, the guitars of music veterans whose influence is established are generally those which command the highest sums.

Alongside Bo Diddley's axe, country legend Johnny Cash's Wilkanowski and Sons Airway "Fiddle Guitar" brought an incredible $37,500.

Each of these sales was dwarfed, however, by the auctioning of a 1975 cream coloured Travis Bean guitar played by The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia.

It sold for a remarkable $312,000.

As if this wasn't enough, a leather guitar strap worn by Garcia onstage around 1973 brought $20,400 - four times its estimate.

The above sales are testament to the power established guitar gods can have on the auction block - and the guitars of the greatest musicians remain a great place for collectors and investors to put their money.


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