Jeff Beck's Fender Prototype Reaches No.1 at Bonhams' Rock, Pop & Film Sale in London

• Oasis guitar owned by Noel Gallagher, Maurice Gibb's Saturday Night Fever bass and Mike Rutherford of Genesis' 12 string amongst other impressive results

London – An important graffiti yellow working prototype Fender Stratocaster guitar, made especially for Jeff Beck by Fender and used by Beck on tour 1986-1989, was the top lot at Bonhams' Rock, Pop & Film sale on Wednesday 24 May in Knightsbridge, London. The guitar achieved a total of £76,000.

The 314-lot sale made a total of £783,000.

Claire Tole-Moir, Head of Bonhams Popular Culture Department, commented: "This unique guitar, designed and built by the Fender Custom Shop in the late 1980s, acted as the working prototype for the eventual Jeff Beck Signature model, and the eventual Strat Plus model. Beck requested that it be yellow, so as to match his replica 1932 Ford Hotrod Coupe car from the film 'American Graffiti', and he twice used the guitar on tour in Japan. A piece of guitar history as well as a part of Jeff Beck's legacy, we are delighted that it captivated collectors and achieved such an impressive price."

One of the most celebrated English rock guitarists and influential musicians of all time, Jeff Beck (1944 - 2023) was deeply admired by both fans and fellow musicians alike. Throughout his illustrious career – which included cutting his teeth in the Yardbirds – Beck pushed the boundaries of what was possible with the instrument. The guitar remained with Beck until 1994 when he met flying instructor Suzy O'Hara. She agreed to teach him how to fly, and in return Beck would teach Suzy how to play the guitar. It was at this time that he gifted her the guitar, and it remained in O'Hara's possession ever since.

Katherine Schofield, Bonhams Department Director for Popular Culture, commented: "We are thrilled that this sale incorporated such a diverse mix of celebrity-associated guitars with strong prices for new-to-the-market examples. It was of no surprise to see that handwritten lyrics from bands and artists from the 1980s to the present day also performed extremely well together with rare, signed albums. The results continue to show how discerning buyers for Rock, Pop & Film artefacts continue to be and Bonhams place as leading specialists in this field."

Other highlights of the sale included:

• Mick Rock (British, 1944-2021), David Bowie 1972-1973, A Rare Archival Box Set Of Twenty-One Photographs, June 2016. Sold for £52,000.

• John Lennon: A Rare Sequence Of Six Line Drawings By John Lennon, circa, 1970. Sold for £35,840.

• An Oasis guitar owned by Noel Gallagher and used on the album 'Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants': A Gibson Les Paul Standard, 1982 in Red Wine finish. Sold for £28,000. Owned by Noel in 1999 and used during his location recording session for the 'Standing On The Shoulders of Giants' album. The guitar was purchased by a recording technician known by the band when the album was completed. The guitar was too heavy for Noel to play on stage and so he decided to part with it. When the vendor arranged to collect the guitar at Olympic Studios in Barnes, Noel was there and signed the scratch plate for him.

• The 'Saturday Night Fever' Bee Gees' Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar used to record the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Owned and played by Maurice Gibb, signed by each member of The Bee Gees, 1970. Sold for £25,000. The guitar was gifted to BBC Radio 1 producer and documentary presenter Stuart Grundy.

• Jimi Hendrix Experience: A Rare Autographed Copy Of The Album 'Axis: Bold As Love', 1967. Sold for £24,000.

• Led Zeppelin: An Autographed Copy Of The Album 'Led Zeppelin IV (Four Symbols)', 1971. Sold for £19,000.

• Mike Rutherford/Genesis: A Rickenbacker 360-12 guitar owned and used by Mike Rutherford,1974. Sold for £28,000.

25 May 2023


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