Items from Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, David Gilmour, Bob Dylan and others up for auction
Julien’s Auctions has announced the preeminent headliners of Icons & Idols: Rock ‘N’ Roll, the world-record breaking auction house to the stars’ annual music event of the season on Friday, November 19th and Saturday, November 20th live in Hard Rock Cafe New York and online at juliensauctions.com. Nearly 1,000 sensational artifacts and memorabilia owned and used by some of the world’s legendary music artists of all-time including The Beatles, Guns N’ Roses, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Robert Plant, Elvis Presley, Trent Reznor, Keith Richards, Eddie Van Halen, U2, and more will be offered.
Leading the lineup will be a previously owned and stage-played 1968 Martin D-45 acoustic guitar by Eric Clapton. The instrument was used by the guitar legend of seminal bands, The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith, at the historic debut live concert performance of Derek and The Dominos, at the Lyceum Theatre in London on June 14, 1970. The band, whose name was chosen only moments before taking the stage that night, would later go on to write and record some of the most iconic songs of Clapton’s career, including “Bell Bottom Blues,” and the classic ballad, “Layla.” In photographs, Clapton can also be seen with the guitar while touring with his previous group Delaney & Bonnie and Friends (including George Harrison), performing the song “Poor Elijah – Tribute to Johnson” live on BBC television, and between various gigs while on the road. The guitar was later gifted to singer-songwriter Dave Edmunds while he was visiting Clapton at his home in Surrey in 1976, and is accompanied by a signed letter of provenance from Edmunds who states that Clapton was originally planning to gift him a Gibson J-200 but chose the Martin instead when the J-200 couldn’t be located. In addition to a five-decade career that has set records for receiving the most Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame awards and for selling more than 280 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time, Clapton’s instruments are sought after in the auction world whose guitars have previously sold for millions and smashed auction records. The starting estimate of this piece of rock history is between $300,000 to $500,000.
A sheet of partial handwritten working draft lyrics to Clapton’s 1970 song “Layla” written on The Thunderbird Motel, Miami Beach, Florida, stationery will also be on offer ($30,000 – $50,000). Clapton gave the sheet of lyrics to Bonnie Diamond, a close friend of Derek and the Dominos bassist Carl Radle, to thank her for driving him to the airport in Miami.
A cream Fender Stratocaster Vintage ‘57 reissue electric guitar (estimate: $80,000 – $100,000) owned and stage played by another supreme guitar soloist and auction icon comes from none other than David Gilmour. One of six vintage Stratocasters purchased in the mid-Eighties by the legendary Pink Floyd guitarist, the electric guitar was customized and set up to his personal specifications. Known as Cream No. 2 as a backup for Cream No. 1, the guitar was taken on the Pink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of Reason tours 1987, 1988, 1989 and at “Knebworth” in 1990 and Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell Tour in 1994 as well as exhibited at Fender’s exhibition in the USA in December 1993 and EMI’s 1997 Music 100 exhibition in London. The auction of Gilmour’s guitar collection astounded the world in 2019 when nearly 130 of his prized instruments sold for over $21 million and shattered several auction records.
Reigning on the auction block will be a 1972 Martin D-28 acoustic guitar that was stage played by The King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley. The guitar (estimate: $70,000 – $90,000) used during the mid-to late 1970 was given by Presley to his friend Norman Taurog, who directed many of Presley’s films and was on display at the Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas. An Elvis Presley Lord Elgin direct read watch made in the 1950s and given to Presley by Jean and Julian Aberbach of Hill and Range Music Company ($10,000 – $20,000) and other fine jewelry worn by the legendary singer will dazzle the auction stage including his sterling carved eagle silver ring, silver Aztec warrior ring, a 14 karat gold ring with the initials “EP” engraved, a sterling silver necklace with Saint Michael engraved on a police badge shape with the words “Saint Michael Protect Us” as well as other fascinating pieces such as a lock of Elvis Presley’s hair cut by Mr. Homer Gilliland, who was Presley’s mother’s hair stylist at Goldsmith’s Department Store on Main Street in Memphis.
Hard rock and metal fans will bang their heads to the appearances of the original artwork for the cover of the 1983 Quiet Riot album “Metal Health” hand-painted by Stan Watts ($20,000 – 40,000), and the original metal “asylum” mask that Watts wore to create the iconic image ($8,000 – 10,000).
Items from the world’s most dangerous band, Guns N’ Roses will also rock the auction stage including the 1989 MTV VMA Moonman presented to the band for Best Heavy Metal Video for “Sweet Child O’ Mine” ($10,000 – $20,000), a satin printed Guns N’ Roses after show pass signed by the band members, black Tama kick drum skins stage used by Steven Adler during GNR’s Appetite For Destruction 1988 tour and signed by the band and more.
One of the most epic rock classics ever recorded by one of rock’s seminal bands, “Kashmir” is Led Zeppelin’s sonic masterpiece, along with “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love.” Handwritten lyrics of the song by lead singer Robert Plant on a sheet of The Whitehall Hotel letterhead stationery will be offered with an estimate of $200,000 – $300,000. The lyrics are a rendition for a live performance of the song with some differences from the recorded version released on their 1976 album Pink Graffiti.
As one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time and revered pop culture icon, Bob Dylan, is just as celebrated for his fine art. Displaying on the auction stage will be an original abstract nude oil painting on canvas hand-painted in the 1960s by the music legend (estimate: $100,000 – $200,000). The painting, gifted from Dylan to his manager Albert Grossman was featured in the touring exhibition “Bob Dylan’s American Journey: 1956-1966” at the Experience Music Project of Seattle and displayed at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City and The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.
Another rock iconoclast and now auction legend whose original artwork and handwritten ephemera are coveted as much as his instruments and memorabilia is one of rock and roll’s most signature artists of all time: Kurt Cobain. An illustration drawn in ballpoint pen on a sheet of notebook paper by the Nirvana frontman depicting many faces and eyes and a flower signed by Cobain in the bottom right corner as “Kurdt Kobain” will be on offer. The drawing (estimate: $10,000 – $20,000) was previously on display at the Museum of Pop Culture “Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses” exhibit in Seattle.
Other handwritten and drawn items include (each estimate: $4,000 – $6,000): a white tablecloth with a handwritten setlist of Nirvana songs, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “About A Girl” and “Come As You Are” and signed by Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and others; a handwritten setlist by Kurt Cobain on Sheffield University Students’ Union stationery, where the band performed the night before and a ticket to a Nirvana performance at Calton Studios in Edinburgh, Scotland, on December 29, 1991; and a handwritten and signed setlist by Kurt Cobain from a concert at the East Ballroom of the University of Washington in Seattle on January 6, 1990 that includes the songs “Polly” and “Love Buzz.”
Other Nirvana/Kurt Cobain items up for bid include a “Illiteracy Will Prevail” Fecal Matter- the 1985 punk rock band formed by Kurt Cobain, Dale Drover (of the Melvins) and drummer Greg Hokanson demo project on cassette featuring 17 unreleased tracks with notable demos that were later re-recorded and released under Nirvana, including the song “Downer” which was later released on Nirvana’s album Bleach (estimate: $3,000 – $5,000), a color photograph of Cobain at 15 years old in a snowy winter background, a signed Nirvana concert ticket, signed denim vest and jacket and more.
Julien’s Auctions has shattered original estimates and broken world records with the sale of Kurt Cobain’s memorabilia and artwork, including: Cobain’s cardigan worn on MTV Unplugged in New York (sold for a record $334,000), his In Utero tour Fender Mustang guitar (sold for $340,000), his cardigan worn on his last photoshoot (sold for $75,000), a Nirvana paper plate setlist written in Cobain’s handwriting which sold for a record $22,400; a self-portrait caricature drawing by Cobain of himself playing guitar signed “Kurdt Kobain Rock Star” (sold for over $281,000) and the Guinness Book of World Record sale of Cobain’s “MTV Unplugged” 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar, which sold for $6 million making it the world’s most expensive guitar ever sold at auction.
Other exceptional highlights include: Keith Richards’ red with gold embroidery and rhinestone cropped jacket worn on the Get Yer Yas-Yas Out album, as well as on stage during the infamous Altamont concert, where an audience member was stabbed to death by the Hell’s Angels, and was featured in the Maysles Brothers documentary film Gimme Shelter ($8,000 – $12,000); U2 guitarist Edge’s concert used Gibson Les Paul Standard electric guitar ($50,000 – $70,000); an EVH Fender “Frankenstrat” guitar stage played by Eddie Van Halen signed by him and his brother Alex Van Halen, consisting of a guitar strap attached to screw eyes, bicycle reflectors on the back used to reflect the stage lights, five Van Halen 2012 guitar picks taped on the body and an image of Eddie printed on metal (the guitar was gifted to Kevan Hill, a childhood friend and first band mate of Eddie and Alex Van Halen in their first band, Broken Combs in 1964) ($30,000 – $50,000); and much more.