Some Mighty Fine Guitars and Memorobilia

Evidently it’s auction season. I know little about the world of fine art and music memorabilia, but I do have an email alert set up with Christies to let me know whenever there’s a pop culture auction coming up. This one is a doozie with extremely rare guitars from John Lennon, Brian Jones, and Jimi Hendrix as well as a ton of Oasis, Beatles, and Who memorabilia.

The auction takes place tomorrow, July 1st, at 10am at Christie’s London, South Kensington auction house. What? You’re not in London for the two week art auction season? If you’re fascinated by this kind of event like I am, you can sign up for a free online Christie’s account and watch the auction live, or track particular lots and have the sale prices sent to you after the gavel hits. Here are few highlights…

How about John Lennon’s “private guitar” from the early 60’s, pictured left? It’s a 1958 Hofner Senator Guitar with a LOVE sticker on the back. Evidently he used it only at home for writing. John Lennon guitars with provenance are exceptionally rare and to see one from Lennon’s early career supported by documentation from fellow Beatle George Harrison is scarce indeed. It looks like it can be yours for a mere $150K – $250K. What? Madoff ran off with the trust fund you were going to use to buy it? Bummer.

Jimi Hendrixs 1970 Fender StratocasterOK, maybe you didn’t invest with Madoff, but your portfolio is down, so maybe you can only afford Jimi Hendrix’s 1970 Fender Stratocaster. This, too, has a well-documented provenance. It was purchased from Manny’s Musical Instruments in NYC and is the guitar Jimi played at the opening Party at Electric Lady Studios, New York, 2 August 1970. I’d love to see one of the guys in Erykah Badu’s entourage playing is one. HOw much would you pay for such a rare piece if psychedelic rock history? But wait – there’s more! You also get a black hardshell case stencilled on both sides in white J.H. EXP; accompanied by a selection of documents relating the the provenance. How can you resist this gem for a mere $115-$150K?

Brian Jones’ Harmony Stratotone, circa 1960 seems like child’s play in comparison to these first two auctions. Why you could get three of Brian’s Stratotones (yes, I know it’s a one-of-a-kind)for the price of the Lennon!

In my mind, the most culturally relevant bit of memorabilia at the auction is a hand-scribbled sign.

It is a hand drawn sign from John Lennon with the slogan L’Amour Et La Paix [Love and Peace] and signed by both John and Yoko, Montreal, 1969. The placard was drafted by Lennon in black felt pen in Suite 1742 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal, Canada, during John and Yoko’s historic Bed-In for Peace, 26 May – 2 June, 1969.

Lennon said, “The whole effect of our Bed-In has made people talk about peace. We’re trying to interest young people into doing something for peace.” John and Yoko recognized the power that their fame and status could yield when promoting their peace campaign.

It’s amazing to me that 30 years after this historic series of bed-ins, we’re in much the same pickle that we were back then. All I’m saying, is give peace a chance… I wish I could pony up $50K, and make it come true.