This holiday season, a few lucky fans will have the opportunity to own some of the most significant guitars in music history, along with unreleased tape recordings, lifetime vinyl records and other rare music memorabilia. The unprecedented auction event—featuring famous guitars from Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen (the bass played by Bruce on his very first album), Jerry Garcia, Johnny Winter, Steve Miller, Madonna (her first performance-used touring guitar) and countless others—will be held December 2nd at New York City’s Bohemian Hall.
The event follows Guernsey’s recent record-setting auction of Jerry Garcia’s beloved “Wolf” guitar, which generated $3.2 million for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Consistent with Guernsey’s auctions over the last several years, the upcoming event features many legendary guitars, some noteworthy due to their rarity as fine instruments, others made famous by the legendary musicians who played them. Additional guitars that figure prominently in the sale are those played by folk legend John Denver, Cuban icon Vicente Guyun and chanteur Jacques Brel, as well as many magnificent classical and parlor guitars from the 1800’s onward. The latter group contains rare Martins and Gibsons, while the range of exceptional instruments extends from highly desirable creations from the century-old workbenches of such masters as Antonio Cerrito and Fermin Barrios to a rare late 1950’s Stratocaster with “blue sparkle” finish.
Les Paul Gifts to Musicians
Another key highlight of the auction is a most unusual grouping of guitars that were owned by the remarkable Les Paul. In his later years, Les – who altered the course of popular music – sent gifts of old guitars to other musicians he knew and admired. When sending these unexpected gifts, Les would inscribe these gifted instruments, often in a humorous fashion. At the time of Les’ death, some of these instruments remained in his collection. These include guitars inscribed by Les Paul to Bob Dylan, Prince, George Harrison and Paul Simon.
Gerry Mulligan Jazz Collection
Also included in the auction is the Gerry Mulligan Jazz Collection. Jazz buffs should thrill at the chance to bid on saxophones, handwritten music and other artifacts from his collection, while items from the family of legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk and unreleased tapes from live performances at San Francisco’s iconic Keystone Korner will additionally be featured.
Rare it is that a Jimi Hendrix guitar comes to auction but this event not only includes Jimi’s sticker-covered Guild, played at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival, but also the most extensive collection known of Hendrix lifetime-issued vinyl records, unreleased studio tapes, and acetate recordings. And, should this not be enough, yet another Hendrix guitar is currently being reviewed for possible inclusion in this unprecedented auction.
Charles Lewis Tapes
Working as the sound engineer at the West Coast’s famed Hollywood Bowl in the 1960’s, Charles Lewis professionally recorded live performances of many of the biggest names in the entertainment business. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, as well as Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, are just a few names in the extraordinary line-up of stars recorded by Mr. Lewis. Not long ago, Mr. Lewis’ family discovered a treasure trove of his original recordings that have not been seen nor heard in nearly half a century. These unreleased tapes are the only authorized recordings of many of the most iconic musicians from the 1960’s as they performed at one of the most legendary performance venues.
Other Unreleased Recordings of Late 1960s Performances
Were the rare Charles Lewis tapes not enough to excite any music fan, there will also be a collection of original tapes including unreleased recordings of late 1960s performances by artists such as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, performed live at the Boarding House in San Francisco. The Boarding House was a popular club where such greats as Patti Smith, Neil Young, and Bob Marley often appeared. From the same archive that is selling the Boarding House tapes comes original studio master reels from Elvis Presley and James Brown, including the soundtrack from Presley’s Blue Hawaii and Brown’s 1964 album Soul & Grits.
Guernsey’s, long known for producing innovative and exciting auctions, is particularly delighted to be involved in an event with so many important and unique items.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.