Bob Dylan's Newport Folk Festival guitar breaks auction record

The Fender Stratocaster sold for $965,000 by Christie's in New York City to an absentee buyer

Bob Dylan's Newport Folk Festival guitar breaks auction record

Photo: PA

The guitar that Bob Dylan played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 has become the most expensive guitar ever to go up for auction.

The Fender Stratocaster was sold yesterday (December 6) for $965,000 (£590,430), topping the sale price for a guitar once owned by Eric Clapton which sold for $959,500 (£587,065) in 2004, reports Spin. The sale happened at Christie's in New York City and the guitar was bought by an absentee buyer. The instrument was sold with its original strap and hard shell case.

The Newport Folk Festival gig was seminal as it saw Dylan switch from acoustic folk music to a more electric rock style. The three songs that Dylan played on the sunburst Fender Stratocaster were notoriously met with boos from the more purist sections of the crowd.

For almost half a century, the guitar was in the family of the late Vic Quinto, a private plane pilot, who worked for Dylan's manager. The guitar was left in his plane and though he asked the management company what to do with the item, they failed to respond. Over this issue, a statement from Christie's read: "Representatives for Bob Dylan do not contest the sale of the guitar, and are aware of Christie's plan to bring it to auction."

Meanwhile, Bob Dylan was recently charged with incitement to hatred in France following comments he made about Croatians in a recent interview. The charges, brought forward by French judges, relate to an interview Dylan gave in the September issue of the French version of Rolling Stone magazine. In the article, he mentioned Croatia in the same sentence as the Nazi party. The American singer faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of €45,000 (£37,000) if found guilty.

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