Thursday, March 10, 2011

Presence Of The Lord -- Eric Clapton's Guitars and Amps Make $2.15 Million at Charity Auction in New York

From, 3-10-11

        "Collectors, fans and musicians alike gathered yesterday (9.3.11) at Bonhams New York to celebrate the rock icon, Eric Clapton, whose personal collection of 75 guitars and 55 amps were auctioned off to benefit The Crossroads Centre in Antigua. 

        With 100% of the lots sold, the final auction total more than tripled pre-sale expectations, with proceeds going to the drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre founded by Clapton in 1998. Bidders from all four corners of the globe battled throughout the 4 ½ hour auction and included clients from the U.S., Asia, Australasia, UK, Europe, and the Caribbean. Notably, a private Russian Eric Clapton fan and collector showed keen interest in the room and Asian participants included those from Japan, Korea and Hong Kong."

        Jon Baddeley, Worldwide Head of Collectables at Bonhams, "It has been a privilege and an honour working on this exceptional sale and being associated with one of the most iconic living musicians, Eric Clapton. Arguably the greatest guitarist of all time, Eric Clapton inspires an ever-expanding fan base many of whom made the journey to Bonhams in New York over the past few days and joined us for this remarkable auction. We were delighted to play our part in raising funds for The Crossroads Centre, a charity with a noble mission and a cause that remains very close to Eric's heart." 

        Guitar highlights included a 1948 Gibson L-5P, estimated at $20,000-30,000 that sold for a staggering $82,960; and a 2005 Zemaitis S22BP 3S, estimated at $12,000-18,000, which sold for $75,640. The top amp of the sale was a pair of 1997 Fender Twin Amps, estimated at $9,000-12,000, sold for $42,700."

Reader NoteI love and auctions are part of their beat, but minor news indeed. $42,700 for a pair of 1997 Fender amps?  I just don't know "collectables", I guess, or how anyone can use the phrase "most iconic".  Still, when we visited Antigua a number of years ago, I did hear that Eric Clapton's drug treatment facility did outstanding work (Antigua, we found, a propos of basically nothing, like this article, has the best yogurt in the world; you can see the contented Antigua cows all over its scrubby, grassy pasture land), so I suppose this is for a good cause.  It also goes to prove something I've always been told about successful rock musicians -- their favorite instruments tend to be the ones they've most recently acquired.  

Please see below a nice early shot of Eric with Cream.  Please see also a rather ridiculous 2005 shot of the Great Man either sharing a genuinely enjoyable moment (a troubling thought) or a slightly uncomfortable one with HRH Prince Charles, musician/television presenter Jools Holland and comedian/actor/author Stephen Fry.


  1. I remember seeing that picture of Clapton and HRH and thinking, "God, how incongruous," and then, "Of course, it makes perfect sense".

    By, the way, among people I know, you are definitely one of the most iconic. No question about it.

  2. You're too kind. It's been done before, but I would love to see a Clapton image gallery from earliest days. He used to change his appearance constantly and had many good "looks", even after he blanded out totally and reached early middle-age. The HRH Photo is not a good look at all for him. But he probably looks ok at the moment. Except for him music, unfortunately, he's as changeable as the English weather. Curtis