Clapton guitar tops $600,000 in rock memorabilia auction

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Eric Clapton's 1968 Martin D-45 acoustic guitar is on display during a press preview November 15, 2021 in New York to promote Julien's Auctions Icons & Idols

A vintage Eric Clapton guitar sold for $625,000 in New York at a weekend auction of rock memorabilia that fetched nearly $5 million in total, Julien Auctions announced.

Heralded as the highlight of the sale that concluded late Saturday at the city's Hard Rock Cafe and which also took bids online, the acoustic 1968 Martin D-45 instrument was played by Clapton in 1970 during the debut live concert of his band Derek and the Dominos.

The group was behind the classic song "Layla."

Julien's had estimated the instrument would sell for $300,000 to $500,000.

While outperforming expectations, the price came up well short of the record $6 million that was paid in 2020 for the acoustic guitar that late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain strummed during a famous "MTV Unplugged" appearance in 1993.

The 76-year-old Englishman Clapton, a rock and blues legend, in recent years has made a very public turn to far-right conservatism, taking ardent stances against Covid-19 vaccination and lockdown measures and facing accusations of racism.

Other guitars that went under the hammer include a 1976 Gibson Explorer stage-played by U2's lead guitarist The Edge that brought $437,500, and a Fender Stratocaster used by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, which sold for a cool $200,000.

Nearly 1,000 lots of memorabilia were sold in the "Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll" auction, which featured objects owned or connected to The Beatles, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Elvis Presley, and the Rolling Stones.

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