Most Valuable Vintage Guitars of All Time
Many of the world’s most expensive guitars once belonged to rock 'n' roll legends, such as Dave Gilmour, Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix and members of the Beatles. The guitars are often iconic, distinctive and instantly recognizable to fans, such as Prince’s "Blue Angel." Guitars were sold, gifted, lost, stolen or, in the case of Dave Gilmour’s entire collection of electric and acoustic guitars, auctioned for charity after a long musical career and decades of use.
The demand for rare, vintage guitars continues to increase each year, particularly for those associated with famous musicians. After all, there is a very limited supply, and often, these instruments were handcrafted, made in limited editions or created specifically for an individual guitarist by the manufacturer.
Classic guitars have reached the high price levels of more traditional collectibles such as vintage cars and motorcycles, jewelry or artwork, and the demand shows no sign of slowing down. These are the most valuable vintage guitars of all time, ranked by their current value (adjusted for inflation).
40. Les Paul's 1954 Gibson 'Black Beauty'
Value in 2015:$335,000
Year released: 1954
Bottom Line: Les Paul's 1954 Gibson Black Beauty
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay collects iconic guitars and bought Les Paul's very own 1954 "Black Beauty." Owned for 50 years by Tom Doyle, Paul's guitar builder, the Black Beauty is the first of its kind to be made the way Les Paul's are made today.
It was featured on Les Paul and Mary Ford's TV shows in the mid-1950s.
In 1976, Paul brought the Black Beauty to Doyle for restoration, and because he already was fixing Paul's other guitars, Paul gave Doyle this one in lieu of payment and as a gesture of goodwill.
39. Jimi Hendrix 1964 Fender Stratocaster
Value in 2015:$388,338
Current value: $456,800
Year released: 1964
Bottom Line: Jimi Hendrix 1964 Fender Stratocaster
Owned by Jimi Hendrix between 1967 and 1968, the Strat was given to his brother Leon.
Leon Hendrix said: "When Jimi came back home to Seattle with his band for the first time in 1968 we all met him at the airport and the same night he played at the Center Arena. He asked me if I was gonna get a band together. I had forgotten I had told him I was thinking about it over the phone, and I was kinda shy about it, which made him laugh.
"He had at least three guitars that were ready to go on stage, one of them he was warming up on, and there was another in an open case on the floor. He asked me if I had a guitar, and I said no, so he said take that one over there, pointing to the one in the open case.
"It's funny, at the time, I almost didn't take it. I said I dunno man, or something like that. He said, 'Go ahead and take it, you don't have to learn to play it now if you don't want to, but I want you to have it.'"
38. George Harrison's 1958 Hofner Club 40
Value in 2019:$430,000
Year released: 1958
Bottom Line: George Harrison's 1958 Hofner Club 40
Lennon and Harrison both purchased Hofner Club 40 models as teens. The Hofner Club 40 was Harrison's first electric guitar and was given to a band in Hamburg, Germany, that won the Star Club's "Beat Band Battle" contest in February 1966.
In 2003, Frank Dostal, singer and guitarist of the 1960s German band Faces, revealed it was his band that won the guitar and he owned it ever since.
Despite it being allegedly signed by the four Beatles, It was revealed to be signed by their road manager, Neil Aspinall.
37. David Gilmour's 1958 Gretsch White Penguin
Value in 2019: $447,000
Year released: 1958
Bottom Line: David Gilmour's 1958 Gretsch White Penguin
Part of the Gilmour Guitar Collection, the White Penguin was sold by Christies in 2019. Collectors consider this the Holy Grail of Gretsch guitars. Only a handful were originally produced, and when they do come up for auction, they are always in the six figures.
Gilmour bought this one for his personal collection in 1980 and when it was sold, it was a new record paid for a Gretsch guitar.
36. John Lennon/George Harrison 1966 Vox Kensington
Value in 2013: $418,000
Current value: $500,260
Year released: 1966
Bottom Line: John Lennon/George Harrison 1966 Vox Kensington
This unusual-looking guitar was given to the Beatles by Vox in 1967 while they were at work on "Magical Mystery Tour." It was shared between George Harrison and John Lennon.
Harrison played it during "I Am the Walrus" rehearsals, and Lennon used it for the "Hello, Goodbye" promo video.
Lennon later gave the guitar to "Magic Alex" Mardas, a designer at Apple. It has a plaque on the back that reads: "To Magic Alex / Alexi thank you for been [sic] a friend / 2-5-1967 John."
35. Robbie Robertson’s 1965 Fender Telecaster
Value in 2018: $490,000
Current value: $535,000
Year released: 1965
Bottom Line: Robbie Robertson’s 1965 Fender Telecaster
While The Band’s Robbie Robertson was the guitar’s owner, this 1965 Fender was played by Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Levon Helm as well. Robertson used the guitar for recording sessions with The Band and for appearances at music festivals, such as Woodstock, Isle of Wight and Watkins Glen.
Robertson and Bob Dylan both played the 1965 Fender during the 1960s and 1970s, and the guitar toured with both of them. The guitar was originally painted black, but in 1970, Robertson stripped it back to its natural light wood.
34. 1963 Maton Mastersound MS500
Value in 2015: $490,000
Current value: $567,000
Year released: 1963
Bottom Line:1963 Maton Mastersound MS500
In the summer of 1963, George Harrison had trouble with his guitar, a Gretsch Country Gentleman. While it was being repaired, Harrison borrowed this 1963 Maton from Barratts Music in Manchester, England. Harrison’s guitar was returned quickly, but the guitarist continued to play the Maton in Beatles concerts across the United Kingdom that summer.
Harrison eventually returned the Maton to Barratts, where guitarist Roy Barber, with Dave Berry and the Cruisers, bought it. Barber used the guitar for several years and then put it into storage. Barber’s widow auctioned the guitar at Sotheby’s in 2002.
33. Jerry Garcia's 1955 Fender Strat 'Alligator'
Value in 2019:$524,000
Year released: 1955
Bottom Line: Jerry Garcia's 1955 Fender Strat 'Alligator'
The "Alligator" was Garcia’s main guitar from 1971 to 1973 and his most modified. It was a gift to him from Graham Nash, who gave it to him in 1970 for his work on Nash's album "Songs for Beginners."
Nash bought the guitar for $250 at a Phoenix pawn shop.
32. Prince’s 1984 Andy Beech Cloud 2 'Blue Angel'
Value in 2020: $563,500
Current value: $597,200
Year released: 1984
Bottom Line: Prince’s 1984 Andy Beech Cloud 2 'Blue Angel'
Minneapolis-based guitar maker, Dave Rusan, started making custom Cloud guitars for musician Prince in 1983. He based the design on a bass guitar made by Sardonyx Guitars, which resembled a traditional mandolin’s shape. Rusan created the "Blue Angel" specifically for Prince’s Purple Rain Tour in 1984.
The deeper-toned "Blue Angel" guitar was originally white and was painted peach, light blue and yellow over the years, as Prince’s artistry evolved. From 1984 until 1993, during the height of Prince’s musical career, the "Blue Angel" was his primary guitar.
31. John Lennon's Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins
Value in 2015:$530,000
Year released: NA
Bottom Line: John Lennon's Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins
John Lennon used the Nashville model hollow body guitar while recording "Paperback Writer," which was later owned by David Birch, who got it while visiting the Beatles in 1967.
He said, "I was just cheeky enough to ask John for one of his spare guitars. I had my eye on a blue Fender Stratocaster that was lying in the studio, but John suggested and gave me the Gretsch as we were talking."
It found a home with Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay who later said, "John Lennon's guitars are as special as it gets. Instruments like this rarely become available, so anything John Lennon used is some of the most important historical musical archives that exist on the planet."
30. Duane Allman’s 1961/1962 Cherry Gibson SG
Value in 2019: $591,000
Current value: $634,000
Year released: 1961/1962
Bottom Line: Duane Allman’s 1961/1962 Cherry Gibson SG
Duane Allman originally owned this Cherry Gibson SG. After he died in 1971, the guitar was given to one of his students, Gerry Groom.
Groom sold it to a music store. The store owner, knowing that Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, collects the guitars of other well-known musicians, called Nash who then bought the guitar.
The Gibson was sold at auction in 2019 as part of Nash’s private collection, going for more than twice the estimated price.
29. George Harrisons's 1968 Fender Rosewood Telecaster
Value in 2003: $434,750
Year released: 1968
Bottom Line: George Harrisons's 1968 Fender Rosewood Telecaster
You may have seen the "Rosewood" recently. It was featured in the Peter Jackson documentary about the Beatles, "Get Back." Harrison used the guitar for the band's final roof-top performance and last studio record, "Abbey Road."
In 1969, he gave it to singer Delaney Bramlett of Delaney & Bonnie. Bramlett held onto it until 2003, when it was purchased by actor Ed Begley, Jr.
28. Dave Gilmour’s 1984 Candy Apple Red Fender Stratocaster 57V
Value in 2019: $615,000
Current value: $660,000
Year released: 1984
Bottom Line: Dave Gilmour’s 1984 Candy Apple Red Fender Stratocaster 57V
Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour used this guitar as his primary recording and performance guitar from 1988 to 2005, replacing his more famous “Black Strat” (more on it later). Gilmour bought this red Stratocaster and four other Fender guitars in 1984 from Fender’s reissue line of classic models. He first used the red Fender at the famous Live Aid concert at Wembley Arena in 1985.
The Gilmour Guitar Collection, including the red Fender, was sold by Christies in 2019 and raised $21.5 million for Client Earth, an environmental charity.
27. Jimi Hendrix 1966 Red Fender Mustang
Value in 2007: $500,000
Current value: $661,500
Year released: 1966
Bottom Line: Jimi Hendrix 1966 Red Fender Mustang
Jimi Hendrix once owned this 1966 Red Fender Mustang. Since Hendrix was left-handed, he used right-handed guitars but changed the strings and played the guitar upside down to compensate. This way, Hendrix was able to get a different sound from guitars than other musicians.
He used this red Fender as his primary recording guitar on his “Axis: Bold as Love” album in 1966 and his “Electric Ladyland” album in 1967. Julian’s Auction sold this guitar in 2007 with a pre-auction estimated price range of $100,000 to $150,000.
26. Roy Roger’s 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe
Value in 2009: $554,500
Current value: $709,000
Year released: 1930
Bottom Line: Roy Roger’s 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe
Leonard Slye, better known as Roy Rogers, was originally a country and Western musician. He started playing music and acting in movies in 1935, and in 1938, he replaced Gene Autry as the leading man at Republic Pictures. Rogers appeared in more than 100 films in his career and in the “Roy Rogers Show” on TV with his wife, Dale Evens. C.F.
Martin only manufactured 15 OM-45 guitars in 1930 and Roy Roger’s guitar was the first.The OM stood for Orchestra Model and featured a shorter body and slimmer neck.
Bottom Line: Jimi Hendrix 1965 Fender Stratocaster
Even though Jimi Hendrix became famous for setting guitars on fire, he actually only ever burned two. Hendrix was playing at the Finsbury Astoria in London, England, when he used lighter fluid to set this 1965 Fender Stratocaster on fire.
Tony Garland, a press officer who worked for Hendrix, rescued it, cleaned it up and stored it away in a garage. Garland’s nephew found it in 2007, 40 years later, and the Fender was put up for auction with English auction house Fame Bureau a year later.
24. George Harrison’s 1962 Rickenbacker 425
Value in 2014: $657,000
Current value: $761,000
Year released: 1962
Bottom Line: George Harrison’s 1962 Rickenbacker 425
George Harrison bought this guitar in 1963 on a visit to the U.S. He played it when the Beatles appeared on popular British music shows, “Ready Steady Go!” and “Thank Your Lucky Stars.” Harrison also used the Rickenbacker as his studio guitar for Beatles recording sessions and their Sweden tour in 1963.
Both John Lennon and George Harrison played the Rickenbacker, and Harrison was frequently photographed with it. Harrison gave it to his friend George Peckham in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Bottom Line: Prince’s Andy Beech Teal Cloud Guitar
As previously mentioned, guitar maker Dave Rusan made custom guitars for Prince. This was another one from the series of Cloud guitars made in different colors.
Prince used this teal model from the late 1980s to 1994 when he donated the handmade Cloud guitar to a benefit auction for the Los Angeles Earthquake Relief. Julien’s Auctions estimated the sale price to be between $60,000 and $80,000.
22. George Harrison’s 1964 Gibson SG
Value in 2004: $567,500
Current value: $824,000
Year released: 1964
Bottom Line: George Harrison’s 1964 Gibson SG
George Harrison once owned this 1964 Gibson and played it from 1966 to 1969. Harrison used the guitar for Beatles live performances and recording sessions during this time, including the “Revolver” album. Harrison also plays the Gibson SG in two of the Beatle movies.
John Lennon later used this same guitar to record “White Album” sessions. In 1969, Harrison gave the Gibson to Pete Ham, of Badfinger, who lent it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, from 2002 until selling it at a Christie’s auction in 2004.
21. Paul McCartney’s 1950s Rex Acoustic Guitar
Value in 2006: $607,200
Current value: $826,200
Year released: 1950s
Bottom Line: Paul McCartney’s 1950s Rex Acoustic
The 1950s Rex was the guitar on which Paul McCartney learned to play. He bought or borrowed the Rex from his school friend, Ian James, who taught McCartney his first chords. McCartney then used the Rex to audition for John Lennon, securing a place in Lennon’s first band, The Quarrymen.
Paul provided a letter of authenticity when it was put up for auction. James had kept the guitar for 40 years and sold it to fund his retirement. The Rex went for three times the estimated auction price.
20. Eric Clapton's 1956 Fender Strat 'Brownie'
Value in 1999:$497,500
Year released: 1956
Bottom Line: Eric Clapton's 1956 Fender Strat ‘Brownie’
Clapton bought "Brownie" in 1967 and used it in 1970 to record "Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs." It is featured on the back cover of that album. It can also be seen on the cover of his first solo album, "Eric Clapton."
Clapton sold "Brownie" to benefit Crossroads Centre at Antigua, which he founded in 1997. When it was sold, it was the most expensive guitar sale to date.
19. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Circa 1965 Composite Fender Stratocaster
Value in 2004: $623,500
Current value: $905,000
Year released: Circa 1965
Bottom Line: Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Circa 1965 Composite Fender Stratocaster
Blues and rock guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn owned this guitar until his death in 1990. The composite electric guitar has a replacement neck that wasn’t made by Fender. The guitar sports Vaughn’s signature and stickers spelling SRV, the musician’s initials, which were trademarks of his guitars.
Vaughn called this Fender, "Lenny," after his first wife. She organized a group of Vaughn’s friends to purchase the guitar for his birthday after he saw the Fender in a pawn shop but couldn’t afford it.
18. John Lennon’s 1964 Rose-Morris Rickenbacker Model 1996
Value in 2015: $910,000
Current value:$1.05 million
Year released: 1964
Bottom Line: John Lennon’s 1964 Rose-Morris Rickenbacker Model 1996
John Lennon was given this guitar in 1964 by the Rose-Morris company, Rickenbacker’s U.K. importer, when his existing guitar was damaged. Rose-Morris then featured the Beatles and Lennon in a series of ads promoting the Rickenbacker brand.
Lennon played the Model 1996 until 1968 when he gave it to Ringo Starr. Tensions were rising among the band members that year, and Starr left the band for a short time. When he returned, he had written new songs, and Lennon thought giving Starr the guitar would encourage him to write more. Starr sold the guitar at auction in 2015.
17. Duane Allman’s 1957 Goldtop Gibson Les Paul
Value in 2019: $1 million
Current value: $1.07 million
Year released: 1957
Bottom Line: Duane Allman’s 1957 Goldtop Gibson Les Paul
Duane Allman used the Gibson as his primary and main studio guitar in his early years with the Allman Brothers Band. He’d gotten the Gibson from a member of his earlier band, the Hour Glass, in a 1968 swap.
In 1970, Duane traded the Gibson for a 1959 Cherry Sunburst Les Paul. He is considered to be one of the greatest guitar players of all time, despite the fact that he died young in a motorcycle crash in 1971. The guitar was passed between different owners until it was sold at auction in 2019.
16. Bob Dylan’s Newport Fender Stratocaster
Value in 2013: $965,500
Current value:$1.14 million
Year released: 1965
Bottom Line: Bob Dylan’s Newport Fender Stratocaster
Dylan first played this guitar at the Newport Folk Festival, switching from an acoustic guitar to an electric guitar for the first time — alienating some of his fans in the process. Dylan left his guitar in the back of a private plane, and the pilot kept it. He contacted Dylan’s management to return it, but no one ever replied.
In 2012, roughly 40 years later, the pilot’s daughter had it authenticated. She and Dylan came to a legal settlement over the guitar before it went to auction. Christie’s pre-sale estimate for the Fender was between $300,000 and $500,000.
15. Eric Clapton’s 1939 OOO-42 Martin
Value in 2004: $791,500
Current value: $1.15 million
Year released: 1939
Bottom Line: Eric Clapton’s 1939 OOO-42 Martin
Eric Clapton used this guitar during his "1992 MTV Unplugged" appearance and in the cover shot for his best-selling "Unplugged" album. The 1939 Martin was Clapton’s main-stage acoustic guitar from 1993 to 1994 as well as for his Far East tour in 1997 and part of his U.S. Pilgrim tour in 1998.
When the Martin company was making its first Clapton signature model, the musician requested they base it on this 1939 model. It was sold at auction to benefit Clapton’s Crossroads charity. Pre-sale price estimates for this guitar ranged from $60,000 to $80,000.
Bottom Line: Dave Gilmour’s 1969 C.F. Martin D-35
Dave Gilmour called this 1969 Martin D-35 his favorite guitar. He bought it in 1971 from a musician who was selling it on the sidewalk in front of Manny’s Music in New York City. The Martin D guitars were launched in 1931 with extra-large bodies. The wider body and louder sound were popular with guitarists.
Gilmour’s Martin D-35 was his primary acoustic studio guitar. This was another guitar sold as part of the Gilmour Guitar Collection by Christies in 2019 to raise money for Client Earth.
13. Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson ES-335
Value in 2004: $847,500
Current value: $1.23 million
Year released: 1964
Bottom Line: Eric Clapton’s 1964 Gibson ES-335
Eric Clapton bought this iconic cherry-red Gibson guitar in 1964 and used it throughout his musical career with the Yardbirds, Cream and Blind Faith as well as into his solo years. He used it for performances, tours and studio recording.
In Martin Scorses’s documentary film, “Nothing But Blues,” Clapton was filmed playing the ES-335. He also used it during his Prince’s Trust concert in 1996 and the live album featured a photo of Clapton playing the Gibson on the cover. Pre-sale price estimates for this guitar were under $80,000.
Bottom Line: 1958 Gibson Korina Explorer
Few of these futuristic-looking Gibson electric guitars, crafted from African golden-colored korina wood, were ever made. That’s because sales were slow, and the wood was difficult to work with. Gibson discontinued the line after making about 200 of the Korina Explorers, and they’re now highly sought after collectors items. Only about 10 were manufactured in 1958.
Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett have owned one. In 2016, Denmark Street Guitars in London arranged a private sale for one held by an American collector, who wanted at least $1 million for it.
11. Bob Marley’s Custom Washburn 22-Series Hawk
Value in 2020:$1.2 million
Current value:$1.27 million
Year released: 1978 (unconfirmed)
Where its currently located: Jamaica
Bottom Line: Bob Marley’s Custom Washburn 22-Series Hawk
Reggae legend Bob Marley’s Washburn Hawk was one of the first electric guitars that the company made. Marley had a customized 22-fret, double-cutaway model. However, Marley didn’t use it often and eventually gave it as a gift to his guitar tech, Gary Clausen.
After Marley’s death, the Jamaican government declared his assets, including seven guitars, to be national treasures and bought back the Washburn guitar from Clausen for $1.2 million.
Clausen had been offered more for the guitar but agreed to sell it to the Jamaican government to benefit charity.
10. Eric Clapton’s 'Blackie' Fender Stratocaster
Value in 2004: $959,500
Current value:$1.4 million
Year released: 1956/1957
Bottom Line: Eric Clapton’s 'Blackie' Fender Stratocaster
The Fender "Blackie" was Clapton’s favorite electric guitar. He created "Blackie" himself with parts from three vintage guitars. Clapton first played the guitar at a concert in 1973. He used "Blackie" as his primary stage and recording studio guitar for the next 15 years.
After 1985, Clapton only took "Blackie" out for special occasions, including a TV commercial and Royal Albert Hall show. Clapton sold the guitar as part of the previously mentioned Christie’s auction to benefit his Crossroads charity. Christie’s pre-auction price estimate for the guitar was between $100,000 and $150,000.
Bottom Line: Jerry Garcia’s Irwin Tiger
Grateful Dead co-founder Jerry Garcia primarily used custom-made guitars by Doug Irwin, a Sonoma, California-based guitar maker. Garcia played Irwin’s Tiger model for 11 years until replacing it with Rosebud, another Irwin creation.
The Tiger was made with contrasting woods in different colors, including maple, vermilion and expensive cocobolo hardwood. The custom guitar featured detailed pearl inlays on the body and fretboard as well as a tiger plaque.
While Garcia left Tiger and Rosebud to Irwin in his will, the other Grateful Dead members sued Irwin, claiming ownership. Irwin sold both guitars to settle the lawsuit, and the guitar is now located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Bottom Line: Dave Gilmour’s 1954 Fender Stratocaster #0001
The 1954 Fender #0001 was a pre-production, custommade electric guitar created as a gift for musician Rex Gallion. The guitar has an all-white body, maple neck and gold hardware. The guitar was traded to Seymour Duncan in the mid-1970s.
In 1977, Seymour sold the Fender to Phil Taylor, the guitar tech for Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour, who bought the guitar from Taylor. It, too, was sold at auction as part of the Gilmour Guitar Collection that raised money for Client Earth.
Bottom Line: Jerry Garcia’s Irwin Wolf
Jerry Garcia bought the first electric guitar, called Eagle, that Doug Irwin was making, and then he ordered a second one. Garcia called his new guitar “Wolf.” The body of the instrument was made with purple heart wood, and the top and back used light-colored curly Western maple.
Garcia used Wolf throughout the 1970s until he purchased his Tiger guitar from Irwin in 1979. Garcia left both guitars in his will to Irwin, who sold them in 2002. Wolf resold in 2017 to HubSpot founder, Brian Halligan, but the guitar is now also located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Bottom Line: 1959 Les Paul Standard
This iconic guitar has been owned by several well-known rock guitarists. Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green originally bought the Les Paul second-hand and used it to write and record many of Fleetwood Mac’s early hits.
Green then sold it to Thin Lizzy’s Gary Moore. Needing money, Moore sold the guitar to Phil Winfield of Maverick Music in 2006. The guitar was then owned by a series of private collectors until Metallica's Kirk Hammett bought it in 2014 with the intention of playing it in concerts.
5. Jimi Hendrix 1968 Olympic White Fender Stratocaster
Value in 1993: $1.3 million
Current value: $2.5 million
Year released: 1968
Bottom Line: Jimi Hendrix 1968 Olympic White Fender Stratocaster
The guitar is also called the "Woodstock" Stratocaster, as Hendrix used it for his famous closing performance of the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the Woodstock music festival. Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell wound up with the guitar after Hendrix died and sold it in the 1990s for $350,000 to Italian TV host, Gabriele Ansaloni.
Ansaloni, in turn, sold it to Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen for $1.3 million. Allen added the guitar to the collection of his new Experience Music Project Museum, renamed the Museum of Pop Culture, in Seattle, Washington.
Bottom Line: John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E
In 1962, the Beatles were still a struggling musical group, and their business manager, Brian Epstein, had to cosign to buy new Gibson guitars for John Lennon and George Harrison. From 1962 to 1963, Lennon used this guitar to compose songs with Paul McCartney.
In 1967, Tommy Pressley bought the guitar from a music shop in San Diego, California. No one knows how it got there. In 2008, Pressley tracked down the Gibson’s provenance and learned it had once belonged to John Lennon. The guitar was sold by Julien’s Auctions in 2015.
Bottom Line: 2005 Fender Stratocaster
In 2005, Canadian rocker Bryan Adams organized an auction in Qatar to raise funds for Reach Out to Asia, a charity helping those impacted by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Adams had the 2005 white Fender Stratocaster signed by 20 of rock’s greatest names, including Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page.
The Qatari royal family bought the guitar for $1 million and then sold it at the auction, raising a total of $3.7 million for the charity. The guitar was purchased by a member of the Qatari royal family, Sheikha Mayassa Al Thani.
Bottom Line: Dave Gilmour’s 'Black Strat' Fender Stratocaster
Dave Gilmour used this Fender Stratocaster as his primary performance and recording studio guitar from 1970 to 1983. The "Black Strat," one of the most famous guitars in rock history, can be heard on Pink Floyd’s most iconic albums, such as "The Wall," as well as Gilmour’s solo albums.
The guitar was Gilmore’s second black Stratocaster. His first one was stolen during a Pink Floyd tour in 1970. This was yet one more guitar that made up the Gilmour Guitar Collection sold by Christie's in 2019.
1. Kurt Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E Acoustic
Value in 2020: $6,010,000
Current Value: $6,474,222
Year released: 1959
Bottom Line: Kurt Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E Acoustic
Kurt Cobain bought the 1959 Martin D-18 at Voltage Guitars in Los Angeles. He used it during Nirvana's legendary "MTV Unplugged" appearance in 1994, which is now considered one of rock's greatest live performances.
Australian entrepreneur Peter Freedman of RØDE Microphones was the winning bidder and helped set a few world records with this purchase. The guitar was the most expensive ever sold at auction, the world's most expensive acoustic guitar, the most expensive Martin guitar, the most expensive Nirvana memorabilia and the most expensive piece of memorabilia overall.