Elvis Presley’s Guitar Among Highest-Bid Items at Rock N’ Roll Auction

by Matthew Memrick
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A played Elvis Presley guitar was one of the many Rock N’ Roll items sold at a Times Square auction this past weekend, and it sold for thousands of dollars.

Presley’s 1972 Martin D-28 acoustic guitar was recently in the Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas until recently, according to Guitar World. The music star played the guitar on stage and used it during the mid to late 1970s.

It sold for a whopping $187,500 in the auction.

Norman Taurog, who directed many of Presley’s films, gave Presley the gift guitar. Before the auction, estimates were that the instrument could get between $70,000 to $90,000.

Rolling Stone magazine followed the Julien’s Auctions’ Icons & Idols: Rock N’ Roll event and reported $5 million in sold items this past weekend. One guitar owned by rock star Eric Clapton brought in an auction-high of $625,000. It was Clapton’s stage-used acoustic guitar from his time with Derek & the Dominoes.

Presley Guitar Had a History

This particular Martin guitar was auctioned off before in 2011. It’s not known who the buyer was or how it got the Julien auction.

Heritage Auctions posted a letter of authenticity with the guitar. According to Chris Davidson, who purchased many Elvis memorabilia items, the guitar came into the hands of Hobart and Bonnie Burnette soon after Elvis Presley’s death.

During the 1960s, Elvis’s father, Vernon, bought a house at 1266 Dolan Drive behind Graceland. Elvis often visited the house after his 1973 divorce. When Vernon sold the house to move into Graceland after his son’s death, the Burnette bought the home with all its contents, including the guitar.

Davidson bought the guitar in 1999, and it was on display at the Las Vegas museum.

Other Auction Sellers Did Well Along With Presley Guitar

Guitars owned by U2 band member The Edge, Eddie Van Halen, and Clapton were also among the highest-bid items.

One guitar from Pink Floyd band member David Gilmour doubled its pre-auction estimate and sold for more than the Presley guitar ($200,000). Late singer Amy Winehouse’s played Fender Stratocaster, featured in her “Take the Box” music video, went for $153,000.  

The U2 guitarist’s 1976 Gibson Explorer Electric Guitar went for $437,500. He had played the stringed instrument during the Joshua Tree Tour in 1987. Bandmate Bono’s 2005 Gretsch Irish Falcon went for $115,000. The singer played it for “One” and “Walk On.”

Some non-guitar-related items got winning bids this weekend too, including other Elvis Presley items. And many exceeded the pre-auction estimates.

One was a 1991 scary clown painting by Frank Sinatra that netted $56,000. A mask from a 1980s band Quiet Riot album cover got $50,000 while Go-Go’s lead singer Belinda Carlisle’s Germs t-shirt sold for $22,000. The shirt that Carlisle sold for over 20 times its expected sale price.

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