According to a classic Pink Floyd song, “Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today.” But the band’s legendary guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour is turning that sentiment on its head by selling off more than 120 of his guitars to benefit his charitable foundation. They’ll be sold at auction at Christie’s New York on June 20.
“These guitars have been very good to me and many of them have given me pieces of music over the years. They have paid for themselves many times over, but it’s now time that they moved on,” Gilmour said in a promotional video for the auction. “Guitars were made to be played and it is my wish that wherever they end up, they continue to give their owners the gift of music. By auctioning these guitars I hope that I can give some help where it is really needed and through my charitable foundation do some good in this world. It will be a wrench to see them go and perhaps one day I’ll have to track one or two of them down and buy them back!”
Fans can check out the collection at Christie’s Rockefeller Center showroom until June 19. Christie’s previewed the auction with a press tour Friday.
Already generating the most buzz and expected to fetch the biggest payout is Gilmour’s 1969 black Fender Stratocaster, known simply as “The Black Strat,” which the auction house estimates at $100,000-$150,000. During Pink Floyd’s third US tour — the band’s first with Gilmour — their equipment was stolen in New Orleans. Gilmour flew to New York to buy a new guitar and bought this one at Manny’s Music on 48th Street. Gilmour played it on every subsequent Pink Floyd album through the 1980s. He recorded the solos for “Money,” “Time” and “Comfortably Numb” on it, and he has said the psychedelic masterpiece “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” “popped out of it,” explained Caitlin Graham, Christie’s pop culture specialist.
Kerry Keane, Christie’s musical instruments specialist, compared The Black Strat to Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” guitar, which sold for $850,000 at Christie’s in 2004. In 2015, a John Lennon acoustic guitar sold at auction for $2.4 million.