A Fender Stratocaster used extensively by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour just set a record as the most expensive guitar to ever sell at auction. It was part of a larger Christie’s auction of the musician’s instruments which brought in a total of $21,490,750 — the most valuable musical instrument sale in history, according to the respected auction house.
Made up of 126 lots, the auction included numerous instruments used by Gilmour including a 1954 White Fender Stratocaster (serial number 0001), a 1955 Gibson Les Paul used on “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” and a 1969 Martin D-35 used on “Wish You Were Here.” 2,000 bidders from 66 countries registered for the sale and the proceeds went to non-profit environmental law organization ClientEarth.
The crown jewel of the collection was The Black Strat, a ’69 Fender Stratocaster used on numerous albums including The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall. The instrument has an alder body painted black (over the original sunburst), a 1-ply black pickguard, Fender neck and middle pickups (dated 1971), a custom Seymour Duncan bridge pickup (installed in ’79) and a ’57 reissue C-shape maple neck (installed in ’83). Gilmour also shortened the tremolo arm and installed a custom mini-toggle switch on the pickguard for a neck/bridge pickup combo.
Christie’s estimated that the iconic guitar would sell for a maximum of $150,000, but the instrument set a world record for a guitar at auction and sold for the final price of $3,975,000. The highest bid was placed by Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts. Irsay also bought Gilmour’s Martin D-35 and the travel case used for The Black Strat (in all, his bids made up 24 percent of the auction’s sales).
“These guitars have been very good to me,” Gilmour said in a statement. “They’re my friends. They have given me lots of music. I just think it’s time that they went off and served someone else. I have had my time with them. And of course the money that they will raise will do an enormous amount of good in the world, and that is my intention.”
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