An original Eric Clapton guitar — a 1968 Martin acoustic used by the musician in his short-lived ’70s act Derek and the Dominos — was the highest-selling item among a recent auction of rock memorabilia by Julien’s Auctions, last week’s “Icons & Idols: Rock ‘n’ Roll” sale.
The Clapton axe, initially expected to fetch anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000, ultimately went to the highest bidder for $625,000. The top selling behind it were guitars owned by U2’s The Edge, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Elvis Presley and Amy Winehouse.
See the final auction prices for all five celebrity guitars down toward the bottom of this post.
The Clapton sale makes the Dominos instrument one of the most expensive guitars sold at auction. A 1939 Martin owned by Clapton sold in 2004 for a bit more — $791,500 — at an auction for the rocker’s Crossroads Centre rehab facility. (Inflation not adjusted.)
But both trail the utmost expensive guitars ever sold at auction, including Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana Unplugged guitar going for $6.01 million, Gilmour’s black Stratocaster selling for $3.9 million and John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E from The Beatles moving for $2.4 million. Still, the Clapton Dominos axe ranks somewhere within the top 15-20 ever auctioned.
Clapton items were a highlight of “Icons & Idols: Rock ‘n’ Roll,” where sales of his memorabilia also went to benefit Crossroads. The same auction is where Quiet Riot’s Metal Health mask sold for $50,000.
Revered as a “Guitar God” 50 years ago, Clapton today has been making more of a name for himself as a reactionary, refusing to play concerts where COVID-19 vaccination is required and calling vaccine safety information “propaganda.” He recently aligned with fellow classic rocker Van Morrison in that regard.