Auction Results

Clapton guitar is now $1.27 million music memorabilia


Eric Clapton's guitar, "the Fool" has sold for $1.27 million.

A seminal piece of music memorabilia has broken the million dollar mark at an auction in Nashville. Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson SG guitar, nicknamed “The Fool” and specially painted by Dutch artists in a one-of-a-kind psychedelic design, sold for $1.27 million last weekend.

The instrument was sold in a three-day sale “Rock N’ Roll Iconic Guitars and Music Memorabilia”.

Clapton’s guitar, played during his time with 1960s band Cream, is considered one of the most iconic pieces of rock memorabilia because of its legendary design and association with Clapton and the “summer of love” era.

The Fool were a Dutch design collective who were favourites of British psychedelic bands. Their most celebrated works were for The Beatles, including the costumes for the 1967 TV movie Magical Mystery Tour.

Beyond its memorable paint job, the guitar holds major music significance. Clapton used this 1964 Gibson SG to record Cream’s smash hit “Sunshine of Your Love” and other tracks on their renowned album Disraeli Gears. After Cream broke up in 1968, he gifted the one-of-a-kind instrument to Beatles guitarist George Harrison.

From there, this music collectible passed through several other high-profile owners before musician Todd Rundgren secured it in the 1970s. Rundgren auctioned the painted Gibson off in 2000 for just $150,000. That buyer has earned a major return on their investment.

“One of the most important guitars in rock history has made history once again,” said Darren Julien, President/CEO of Julien’s Auctions.

The Clapton guitar becomes the 12th most valuable guitar sold at auction. It is slightly less than Dave Gilmour’s Fender Stratocaster, sold for $1,815,000 (£1,493,000) in June 2019, and pips the Duane Allman Les Paul that made $1.25 million (£1.03 million) also in 2019.

The most valuable guitar is currently the guitar played by Kurt Cobain on Nirvana Unplugged.

While many guitars have intrinsic value as instruments or innovations in the instrument’s history, the player is undoubtedly the most important factor in the value of these pieces.

The buyer has not been named.

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