I Feel Three! Clapton's guitars triple estimates in $2.15m Bonhams auction

On March 9, to celebrate Bonhams' Eric Clapton sale, we listed our Top 5 most important guitars, including Clapton's custom-built 'Blackie' Fender Stratocaster.  The auction took place over 4 ½ hours yesterday and produced some stunning results.

The auction consisted of 75 vintage guitars belonging to the man they called 'God', as well as 55 amps.  The proceeds of the sale went to the Clapton-founded Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a rehabilitation and treatment centre for those addicted to alcohol and drugs.

By the end of the session, every lot had been sold, with frantic bidding from Clapton fans, guitar collectors and alternative investors from the USA, UK, Europe, Asia, Russia, Australasia and the Caribbean.

The incredible respect which 'Slow Hand' still commands was reflected in the prices realised.  A 1948 Gibson L-5P more than doubled its high estimate of $30,000, selling for $82,960.  Even more impressive was the sale of a 2005 Zemaitis S22BP 3S; expected to realise a maximum of $18,000, it went for an incredible $75,640.


Clapton's 1948 Gibson
'Axe-cellent' - Clapton's 1948 Gibson sold for over $80,000

In terms of amps, the top lot was a pair of 1997 Fender Twins, destroying its high estimate of $12,000 to realise $42,700.  The auction grossed a total of $2.15m, more than tripling pre-sale expectations.

The instruments of famous musicians like Clapton have been, and continue to be, much sought after by music memorabilia collectors and alternative investors looking for a long-term asset. 

In 2008, Jimi Hendrix's famous 'burned guitar' - set alight in London in 1967 - sold for $320,000.  Last December, an acoustic guitar played and signed by Johnny Cash realised $50,000.  Next month, a piano Paul McCartney used to compose 'Yesterday' is expected to go for $202,000, as we reported here.

Music memorabilia really does have significant clout in the collectibles market; and these high-end examples demonstrate the profits investors could accrue.  For much less, you can purchase anything from autographs, lyric sheets, instruments, guitar picks and many more.  All could potentially bring a great return in years to come.


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