June 20, 2019: David Gilmour Guitar Auction: $21 Million For Charity

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David Gilmour playing ‘The Black Strat’ for the ‘Live At Abbey Road’ series, August 29, 2006. (Photo: Polly Samson; used with permission)

Highlights from the personal guitar collection of classic rock legend David Gilmour – guitarist, singer and songwriter of Pink Floyd – were auctioned on June 20, 2019, at Christie’s in New York. Described as the “largest and most comprehensive sale of guitars ever offered at auction,” the instruments sold for $21,490,750.

The sale was led by “The Black Strat,” which sold for $3,975,000, a new world record for a guitar at auction. All sale proceeds were donated to ClientEarth.

Comprising more than 120 guitars, Gilmour’s collection focused on a selection of his preferred Fender models including Broadcasters, Esquires, Telecasters and Stratocasters, led by “The Black Strat,” a guitar as iconic and recognizable as the historic performances for which it was used.

Pre-sale estimates ranged from $300 to $150,000, appealing to a wide spectrum of guitar aficionados, fans and collectors alike.

A global tour of the collection launched in London at Christie’s King Street from March 27-31, where the full collection was on display, followed by highlights in Los Angeles May 7-11. The New York sale preview ahead of the auction opened June 14 and continued through the 19th at Christie’s Rockefeller Center location. During the exhibition, the sound experience was provided by Sennheiser. Over 12,000 fans viewed the various exhibitions.

The clamour to own a piece of rock history was evident from the very first lot — a 1966 solid-body Fender Stratocaster bought by Gilmour in 1970. Carrying an estimate of $10,000-15,000, it sold for $423,000.

The opening riff on Wish You Were Here was actually composed on another Martin acoustic, a D12-28 12-string guitar that Gilmour bought from a friend in 1974. The instrument was estimated at $5,000-10,000 but realized $531,000.

“These guitars have been very good to me and many of them have given me pieces of music over the years,” said Gilmour, in the pre-auction announcement. “They have paid for themselves many times over, but it’s now time that they moved on. Guitars were made to be played and it is my wish that wherever they end up, they continue to give their owners the gift of music. By auctioning these guitars I hope that I can give some help where it is really needed and through my charitable foundation do some good in this world. It will be a wrench to see them go and perhaps one day I’ll have to track one or two of them down and buy them back!”

Gilmour was born on March 6, 1946.

James Thornton, CEO of the charitable organization, ClientEarth, said: “David Gilmour’s remarkable gift will support our work battling the climate crisis and protecting nature for future generations.”

Gilmour’s 1969 Black Fender Stratocaster (aka “The Black Strat”)

Leading the collection was Gilmour’s 1969 Black Fender Stratocaster, purchased in 1970 at Manny’s on West 48th Street in New York (estimate: $100,000-150,000). ‘The Black Strat’ quickly became his primary performance and recording instrument for the next 15 years and it was extensively modified to accommodate Gilmour’s evolving style and performance requirements. The Black Strat was played on “Money,” “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and the legendary solo on “Comfortably Numb.”

The guitar was key to the development of the Pink Floyd sound and was instrumental in the recording of landmark albums such as Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979), and the band’s 1973 masterpiece The Dark Side of the Moon.

Related: Our Album Rewind of Wish You Were Here

The guitar can also be heard on Gilmour’s solo albums including David Gilmour (1978), About Face (1984), On an Island (2006) and Rattle That Lock (2015).

After a period of temporary retirement while on semi-permanent loan to the Hard Rock Cafe, Gilmour reclaimed “The Black Strat” for Pink Floyd’s historic reunion concert at Live 8 in London’s Hyde Park on July 2, 2005, reinstating it as his guitar of choice for the next decade and firmly establishing its place in rock history.

Watch Gilmour discuss the collection

Another important guitar included in the auction was Gilmour’s 1954 White Fender Stratocaster #0001. Gilmour acquired it in 1978 and used it on several recordings, such as “Another Brick In The Wall (Parts Two and Three),” and on the concert stage. An additional collection highlight was an incredibly rare Gretsch White Penguin 6134 purchased for his private collection.

Further details of the collection are available here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. fred senior
    #1 fred senior 14 March, 2019, 02:43

    I admire people like Dave Gilmore how many gits do we need and the money goes to a good cause fred nz

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