Twang! Gilmour guitar auction produces nearly $21.5 million

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The auction room was packed as David Gilmour's guitar collection went up for bidding | Christie's photo

Cars and guitars do more than rhyme. They seem to be interwoven into the fabric of many collections. It is not at all unusual to visit some car collector’s trove and to find classic vehicles, both those that generate muscle and music.

Which brings us to Christie’s auction this week of the David Gilmour Guitar Collection auction, which offered more than 120 of the Pink Floyd guitarist, singer and songwriters instruments and which generated a whopping $21.49 million in sales. those proceeds being donated to the charity, ClientEarth. according to Christie’s.

The prize of the night, the 1969 Black Fender Stratocaster that was Gilmour’s primary performance and recording instrument, sold for a record $3.975 million.

The overall sales total also was a record for a guitar auction, easily outdistancing the former standard of $12.5 million achieved at a sale of Eric Clapton’s guitar collection.

The Gilmour Collection sale followed a many-months world tour with stops in London, Los Angeles and New York, where more than 12,000 people viewed the consignments. The auction, held at Christie’s facilities in Rockefeller Center in New York City, drew 2,000 bidders representing 66 countries. Every lot was sold.

Numerous records were set in the sale, including $1.095 million for a Martin D-35, $1.815 million for a 1954 White Fender Stratocaster #0001, $447,000 for a 1955 Gibson Les Paul, and $447,000 for a Gretsch White Penguin 6134 that Gilmour had purchased in 1980.

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“David Gilmour’s music and performance is indelibly burned into the soundtrack of our popular culture,” Christie’s musical instruments specialist Kerry Keane was quoted in the post-sale news release. “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.”

Of the proceeds going to charity, Gilmour issued a statement on the eve of the auction:

The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible,” he said. “As Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist said in a speech earlier this year ‘Either we choose to go on as a civilization, or we don’t.’

“The choice really is that simple, and I hope that the sale of these guitars will help ClientEarth in their cause to use the law to bring about real change. We need a civilized world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung.”

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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