Bob Dylan's electric guitar has become the most expensive guitar ever auctioned. Christie's auction house at first expected that it would sell between $300,000 and $500,000, but the guitar fetched $965,000 on Friday, December 6. The instrument topped Eric Clapton's Blackie which was sold for $959,500 in 2004.
"A tremendous amount of international interest was generated at the time of the sale's announcement, and today's result justifies the mythic status of this guitar in the annals of music history," Christie's specialist and the sale's auctioneer Tom Lecky stated, as quoted by Reuters. The buyer's identity was not revealed.
The Fender Stratocaster, which was used by Dylan as he performed at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, was sold with its original leather strap and case. Inside, there are early-draft lyrics of Dylan's songs, "Absolutely Sweet Marie", "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and two others. The pieces were estimated between $3,000 and $30,000.
Dylan left the guitar in a private plane following the performance, but when the pilot contacted the musician's management he did not receive a response. The guitar had been with the pilot's family since then. The story came to light after the pilot's daughter submitted the guitar to the PBS show "History Detectives" in 2011 for authentication.
In 2012, the songwriter claimed the guitar's ownership and the two parties were involved in a legal dispute. The two, however, had settled it. "Dylan's representatives were aware of the auction and did not contest it," a representative for Christie's said.