Legendary guitars to be auctioned at Guernsey’s Dec. 2


1963 White Fender Stratocaster that was owned and played by Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s, serial #L14985. Estimate: $400,000-$600,000. Guernsey’s image

NEW YORK – 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. Guernsey’s unprecedented auction event – featuring famous guitars from Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen (the bass he played on his very first album), Jerry Garcia, Johnny Winter, Steve Miller, Madonna (her first performance-used touring guitar) and countless others – will be held Dec. 2 at New York City’s Bohemian Hall. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The event follows Guernsey’s recent record-setting auction of Jerry Garcia’s beloved “Wolf” guitar, which generated $3.2 million.



Gibson Les Paul Classic in Black Beauty style, customized and played by Madonna on her 2001 Drowned World tour. Serial #001360. Estimate: $100,000-$200,000. Guernsey’s image

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 1800s 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 1950s Stratocaster with “blue sparkle” finish.



Jerry Garcia’s one-of-a-kind 1990 Alvarez-Yairi Prototype guitar. Serial #44162, model GY-1. Cedar top, rosewood back and sides, graphite neck. Estimate: $100,000-$150,000. Guernsey’s image

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, Paul sent gifts of old guitars to other musicians he knew and admired. When sending these unexpected gifts, Paul would inscribe these instruments, often in a humorous fashion. At the time of his 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.

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 his 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.


Custom designed left-handed 1967 cherry red Guild Starfire V that Jimi Hendrix played at the Wreck Bar within the Castaways Hotel, in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., on May 19, after the Miami Pop Festival. Serial #EL-1778. Estimate: $350,000-$450,000. Guernsey’s image

Working as the sound engineer at the famed Hollywood Bowl in the 1960s, 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 lineup of stars recorded by Lewis. Not long ago, 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 1960s as they performed at one of the most legendary performance venues.


1963 Fender Precision Bass played by Bruce Springsteen on his debut album ‘Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.’ (Columbia Records, 1973). Serial #L64990. Estimate: $100,000-$200,000. Guernsey’s image

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.