Rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest living legends are cashing in on the guitars that turned out their biggest hits. That should be music to collectors’ ears. Two years ago, Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, and Bob Dylan unloaded some of their guitars at Guernsey’s, and just last week Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page unveiled a partnership with Fender that would remake his iconic 1959 Telecaster “Dragon,” which had been more or less destroyed by a friend while he was on tour in 1969. Now, 72-year-old Pink Floyd guitarist, singer, and songwriter David Gilmour will be selling 120 of his personal guitars at a Christie’s auction.
The sale, which will take place in New York City on June 20, will offer up guitars ranging from $300 to $150,000. It will be the largest and most comprehensive collection of axes ever be offered at auction, and all of the proceeds will go to charity. “These guitars have been very good to me, and many of them have given me pieces of music over the years,” Gilmour told Guitar World. “They have paid for themselves many times over, but it’s now time that they moved on. Guitars were made to be played, and it is my wish that wherever they end up, they continue to give their owners the gift of music.”
The start of the collection will be Gilmour’s 1969 black Fender Stratocaster, known as the “Black Strat,” that he purchased in 1970 at Manny’s on West 48th Street (the famous music store closed in 2009). That Strat was played by Gilmour for 15 years and was extensively modified to keep pace with his evolving riffs. He played the guitar on hits like “Money,” “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” and “Comfortably Numb.” The instrument was used over four decades, starting with the landmark album The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) all the way up to Rattle That Lock (2015). The Black Strat is expected to fetch between $100,000 and $150,000.
Other top lots include a 1954 Fender Stratocaster #0001, used on “Another Brick in the Wall (Parts Two and Three)” and a rare Gretsch White Penguin 6134 that Gilmour bought for personal use. Both are also estimated between $100,000 and $150,000.
The range of guitars up for auction include everything from the above Stratocasters to a 1969 D-35 Martin, a Gibson J-200 Celebrity, a unique Tony Zemaitis bass guitar from 1978, and Fender Telecasters, Broadcasters, and Esquires.
Gilmour isn’t the first member of Pink Floyd to relinquish his prized possessions. Last year, the band’s 75-year-old drummer and car collector Nick Mason sold his 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GT Spider for $490,811 at Bonham’s. Hey, one of these days, we all just give up our high hopes, breathe, and have a cigar. Welcome to the machine, man.