LOS ANGELES – Julien’s Auctions held the highly anticipated Icons & Idols Trilogy: Rock ’n’ Roll on Dec. 1-2. The top selling item of the annual event was a guitar played by one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Eddie Van Halen. His customized Kramer electric built by Van Halen sold for $231,250. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
The two-day music auction sold nearly 900 items of pop culture iconography, instruments and memorabilia owned and used by some of the world’s greatest music artists and bands of all-time including Eddie Van Halen, Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, The Who and more.
Van Halen’s guitar (above) featured a red body with white and black stripes designed and applied by Van Halen. The guitar also included a white Van Halen guitar pick and two backstage passes, one labeled “Bertinelli Guest.”
Van Halen’s 2004 EVH Charvel Art Series electric guitar sold for $140,800. The Fender Stratocaster-style headstock numbered on the back #54, has the unique white and black abstract design in the style of his 1978 Van Halen I guitar and signed Eddie Van Halen, initialed VH 04 and is inscribed in Van Halen’s hand “San Antonio Texas / 9-28-04.” This guitar also features an EVH humbucking pickup with evidence of a cigarette burn to the front. Accompanying the guitar were multiple photos of Van Halen applying taped stripes to the guitar. The EVH Charvel Art guitars are a limited-edition series of guitars inspired by Eddie Van Halen’s most famous guitars where each one has a unique body, designed by Van Halen.
A scaled-down nonplaying version of an Eddie Van Halen red, black and white striped prop guitar, used by child actor Bryan Hitchcock playing a young Eddie Van Halen in the Van Halen music video to their hit Hot for Teacher sold for $50,000. The guitar is accompanied by Hitchcock’s “Young Eddie” three-piece outfit from the video comprising of a white T-shirt with “No Bozos” graphic print to the front; a pair of Sergio Valente torn jeans and an Oleg Cassini denim vest and more.
A guitar once owned and played by Bob Marley – the first guitar by the reggae icon ever to come to auction – was another highlight. Marley’s 1975 Ovation 1612-4 Custom Balladeer acoustic-electric guitar was damaged when his girlfriend, Cindy Breakspeare, reportedly struck him with it during an argument. The repaired instrument sold for $153,600.
Kurt Cobain rocked the auction stage with his stage-played and smashed black Fender Stratocaster guitar used on Nirvana’s 1994 In Utero Tour. He gifted the guitar (below)to an audience member after the group’s performance at the Palais Omnisport de Rennes in Rennes, France, on Feb. 16, 1994. It sold for $128,000. Cobain’s cream-colored signed Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and stage-played and smashed by Cobain in Buenos Aires on Oct. 30, 1992, while performing with Nirvana. It sold for $153,600.
A circa mid-1960s Hammond B-3 organ played by one of the finest Hammond organists of all time, Gregg Allman, sold for $102,400. Allman played this instrument extensively during live performances with the Allman Brothers Band and with the Gregg Allman Band from the late 1980s until Allman’s final Lake Tahoe show on Oct. 3, 2015.
Some of rock ’n’ roll’s most glittering wardrobe and accessories stole the auction stage such as a pair of metallic silver pants with metal stud decorations stage-worn by Iggy Pop and on the front and back covers of Iggy and the Stooges’ 1973 album Raw Power, which sold for an astounding for $70,400. Articles worn by Elvis Presley reigned once again including his black macramé zodiac belt, which sold for $46,875; his sterling silver ring with the letter “E” carved on the top plaque, which sold for $19,200; his karate belt, $16,000; and his 14K gold necklace with eagle pendant and leather and fur coat that each sold for $12,800.
Two passports signed and owned by rock ’n’ roll pioneer Little Richard sold for $19,200 and $25,600;
Additional highlights included Jimi Hendrix’s Octavia pedal used on the album Band of Gypsies, $70,400; an Epiphone Paul McCartney Texan FT-79 acoustic guitar played and signed by Paul McCartney $54,400; Pete Townsend’s owned and played first guitar, his 1936 Radiotone cello guitar $41,600; a red tambourine signed by Stevie Nicks, $16,000; Tom Petty’s floral shirt worn in his 1989 Free Fallin’ music video, $11,520; Bob Weir’s signed black Fender Telecaster guitar played while performing with Paul McCartney, $25,600; a copy of Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn signed by Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Syd Barrett, $25,600; two sheets of handwritten lyrics from an unpublished song by Freddie Mercury, $16,000; a back page of a book with handwritten lyrics by George Michael to the 1982 Wham! song Young Guns (Go for It), $10,240; and two sheets of handwritten working lyrics for Home Run Hitter written by Johnny Cash, $11,520.
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