Bob Dylan's Newport guitar auctions for record $965,000

The famous electric guitar that Bob Dylan shocked purists with at Newport Folk Festival has set a record for any guitar sold at auction.

Bob Dylan Newport guitar
The guitar was shunned by crowds in 1965, but today is revered by collectors

Once booed by crowds and now one of the most important pieces of music memorabilia, the guitar sold for an impressive $965,000 at Christie's on December 6. The price is a 93% increase on its pre-sale estimate of $300,000-500,000, demonstrating how coveted this particular 1964 Fender Stratocaster is by collectors.

Although the guitar has been named as the most valuable ever sold at auction, it is topped by another that was signed by an array of top musicians and sold for $2.7m at a charity event for the 2005 Asian tsunami.

Jimi Hendrix's white Fender Stratocaster sold to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in a private sale, though the $1.3m price tag has not been confirmed.

See our Top five electric guitars at auction.

There is debate as to whether the boos from the crowd were due to the poor sound quality or the presence of an electric guitar

Bob Dylan's three-song set - known as "Dylan Goes Electric" - at the 1965 festival has become part of music lore, with the previously all-acoustic folk singer plugging in his electric guitar on stage for the first time - much to the dismay of the audience of folk purists.

Boos were heard from the crowd, and many felt that Dylan had betrayed his folk roots. However, the transition led him on the path to becoming one of the most versatile musicians today.

Dylan's controversial performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival

The guitar was consigned to auction by the daughter of a pilot who said that Dylan left the guitar on his plane, and despite contacting the record company, received no request to return it. However, the sale was preceded by a lawsuit after Dylan claimed that he was still in possession of the actual guitar played on stage.

It was accompanied by a signed bill of sale from both the consignor and Bob Dylan. Also selling was a page of handwritten lyrics to the song I Wanna Be Your Lover, which were found in the guitar's case and made $20,000.

Recognised as one of the most important musicians to have lived, the market for Bob Dylan memorabilia is strong, propelled by his private nature that ensures a limited supply of items.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic signed set list from Bob Dylan, which lists some of his most famous songs.

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