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David Gilmour Guitar Collection auction raises $21.5million for climate crisis charity Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Friday, 21 June 2019

As you'll have seen from our coverage of the event yesterday, the sale of the David Gilmour Guitar Collection at Christie's New York, in aid of the charity ClientEarth, was wildly successful, with every item selling easily, raising $21,490,750 / £16,935,185/ €19,035,147. It was the most valuable musical instrument sale in auction history, and took place in a pair of packed salesrooms (a second room opening due to sheer volume of people). The numbers attempting to be involved with the sale meant that Christie's were forced to move the start time by an hour, to better accommodate everyone.

Of the 126 lots sold, there were a few record breakers. In particular, the Black Strat achieved $3,975,000, setting a world auction record for any guitar. At the foot of this news item we have the list of top ten items based on final sale price yesterday. Here's the moment that the Black Strat sold:

On hearing how much the sale of David's instruments had raised for them, ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: "This is a truly humbling and extraordinary gift, which goes beyond our wildest expectations. It's difficult to express just how deeply grateful we are to David for choosing ClientEarth as the beneficiary of this historic auction. The law is one of the most powerful tools we have to tackle the world's increasing environmental problems. This gift is a phenomenal boost to our work using the law to tackle climate change and protect nature. It will allow us to play an even greater role in addressing the climate crisis and securing a healthy planet for future generations."

Christie's note that, in the lead up to the auction, over 12,000 fans booked hour-long time slots at the tour stops in London, Los Angeles and New York to get up-close to the guitars. In excess of 500,000 people viewed the content around the sale on Christies.com, and more than 2,000 bidders from 66 countries registered for the sale. 97 percent of all guitars in the sale were sold to or directly underbid by online registrants. 38 percent of the lots were purchased by online bidders.

Kerry Keane, Christie's Musical Instruments Specialist, commented: "David Gilmour's music and performance is indelibly burned into the soundtrack of our popular culture. The outpouring of excitement leading up the sale and today's extraordinary results speaks volumes to his appeal as an artist and as a man of the world, one who has a committed philanthropic mission that supports humanity globally."

Julia Delves Broughton, Christie's Chairman's office, stated: "This sale truly exceeded all our hopes and expectations. Christie's opened its doors this morning to over 900 people who came to bid and watch the sale. We are delighted that David Gilmour has decided to donate all sale proceeds to charitable causes and would like to thank everyone for their very generous bids."

The previous record for collections of musical instruments sold at auction was Eric Clapton's guitar collection which sold in 1999 ($5,072,350), and in 2004 ($7,438,624), realising $12,510,974 in total. Yesterday's sale of David's guitars far eclipsed these.

The Black Strat, along with a couple of other items, was purchased by Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. One wonders if he is putting a band together, as in April, he bought the piano John Lennon used to compose songs for The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's, to go with his previous acquisitions such as Prince's Yellow Cloud electric guitar, Ringo Starr's drum kit, and instruments once owned by The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and Bob Dylan.

For those interested, here's the ten items which sold for the most money in yesterday's sale (sale price includes Buyer's Premium, but excludes any applicable taxes):

  1. Lot 127 - Fender Stratocaster (The Black Strat; world record for a Fender Stratocaster): $3,975,000 (estimate $100,000-150,000)
  2. Lot 20 - Fender Stratocaster (Serial number 0001; was world record holder until lot 127!): $1,815,000 (estimate $100,000-150,000)
  3. Lot 2 - Martin D-35 acoustic guitar (David's primary studio acoustic; world auction record for a C.F. Martin guitar): $1,095,000 (estimate $10,000-20,000)
  4. Lot 56 - Fender Stratocaster (Candy Apple red; primary recording and performance guitar 1988-2005): $615,000 (estimate $15,000-25,000)
  5. Lot 11 - Martin D12-28 acoustic (Wish You Were Here): $531,000 (estimate $5,000-10,000)
  6. Lot 50 - Fender Stratocaster (ex-Homer Haynes): $495,000 (estimate $60,000-90,000)
  7. Lot 34 - Gibson Les Paul (Another Brick In The Wall Pt 2; world record for a Gibson Les Paul): $447,000 (estimate $30,000-50,000)
  8. Lot 44 - Gretsch White Penguin (world record for a Gretsch): $447,000 (estimate $100,000-150,000)
  9. Lot 1 - Fender Stratocaster (White; used frequently in 1970): $423,000 (estimate $10,000-15,000)
  10. Lot 17 - Ovation 1619-4 acoustic-electric (Comfortably Numb): $399,000 (estimate $3,000-5,000)
 
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