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Dylan's Electric Guitar Sets Auction Record

Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:42 pm

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The guitar that Bob Dylan plugged in when he famously went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival sold at auction on Friday for a record $965,000 (£590,000).

Christie's auction house did not immediately identify the absentee buyer of the sunburst Fender Stratocaster. The instrument went for the highest price ever paid for a guitar at auction, Christie's said.

The festival performance cemented Dylan's move from acoustic folk to electric rock 'n' roll.

Now viewed as a defining moment that irrevocably changed American music, the raucous, three-song electric set at the Rhode Island festival was met with boos from some in the crowd, and folk purists saw Dylan as a traitor and a sellout.

The presale estimate by Christie's for the guitar, which was sold with its original black leather strap and Fender hard shell case, was $300,000 (£183,000) to $500,000 (£306,000).

The previous record for a guitar sold at auction was held by Eric Clapton's Fender, nicknamed Blackie, which sold at Christie's for $959,500 (£587,000) in 2004.

With a classic sunburst finish and original flat-wound strings, Dylan's guitar had been in the possession of a New Jersey family for nearly 50 years. Dylan left it on a private plane.

The pilot's daughter, Dawn Peterson of Morris County, New Jersey, said that her father asked Dylan's management company what to do with the guitar but nobody ever got back to him.

Last year, she took it to the PBS show "History Detectives" to have it authenticated, and experts matched the wood grain on the instrument to close-up colour photos of the guitar taken at the 1965 festival.

Dylan's attorney and his publicist didn't respond to email and phone requests for comment. Dylan and Peterson, who declined to be interviewed, recently settled a legal dispute over the items. The terms weren't disclosed.

Christie's is also offering five lots of hand and typewritten lyric fragments found inside the guitar case - early versions of some of Dylan's songs.

The lyrics included an early draft of Absolutely Sweet Marie from Dylan's Blonde on Blonde album, and three songs from the record's 1965 recording session that weren't released until the 1980s. Among them was "I Wanna Be Your Lover".

Re: Dylan's Electric Guitar Sets Auction Record

Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:32 pm

I have to be honest with everyone- I was the winning bidder. You have no idea how excited I am to own this piece of history.

Re: Dylan's Electric Guitar Sets Auction Record

Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:07 am

johngael wrote:I have to be honest with everyone- I was the winning bidder. You have no idea how excited I am to own this piece of history.


Are you kidding?
Are you really the winning bidder?
I mean, truthfully?

Re: Dylan's Electric Guitar Sets Auction Record

Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:30 am

Richard--W wrote:
johngael wrote:I have to be honest with everyone- I was the winning bidder. You have no idea how excited I am to own this piece of history.


Are you kidding?
Are you really the winning bidder?
I mean, truthfully?



I think he was salivating at the thought.

Re: Dylan's Electric Guitar Sets Auction Record

Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:26 pm

No, I was just thinking out loud for what I would have said if I had actually won it. What an incredible piece of musical history to be able to own.