A guitar owned by ERIC CLAPTON has become the most expensive ever sold at auction after fetching $959,500 (£526,048) in New York last night.
The Fender Stratocaster, which Clapton called Blackie, went six times over its expected price of $150,000 (£83,000) following a frenetic bidding war at Christie’s.
The guitar, first used by Clapton in 1973, was bought by the Guitar Center – a US chain of shops. Proceeds will go towards Clapton’s Crossroads addiction clinic.
It was a night of massive sales. The Guitar Center also bought Clapton’s 1964 cherry-red Gibson ES-335 for $847,500 (£465,150) – more than 10 times its $80,000 (£43,892) estimate. And an acoustic guitar he played during his MTV Unplugged appearance in 1992 sold for $791,500 (£434,356).
A staggering $7.4m (£4.03m) was raised during the auction – which also saw donated guitars from Brian May, BB King and Pete Townshend.
“I am thrilled at the result which is going to be of enormous help to us in achieving our long-term aims at the centre,” said Clapton.
Clapton made Blackie from a number of different Stratocasters originally bought in Nashville, Tennessee. He decided to “retire” it when it began wearing out in 1991.
“I feel that that guitar has become part of me,” he said Clapton. “It is still playable. It’s immensely playable, but I suppose I was concerned that I was probably doing it more harm than good.