South KensingtonAn amazing selection of guitars from the legends of rock and roll highlight this June’s Popular Culture: Rock and Pop Memorabilia sale at Christie’s South Kensington, to be held on 24 June, including unique and customized pieces. The instruments used by the legends of rock and pop provide us with tangible links to the most significant moments in music history, making them the most coveted of all popular culture memorabilia items.

Leading the guitar selection on offer is a once in a lifetime acquisition opportunity for any Beatles fan: an acoustic Yamaha FG-340 guitar, played by George Harrison whilst on holiday in Goa, India, 1984 (estimate: £50,000-60,000) illustrated right. Signed twice by the star, the provenance of the piece is extremely well-documented – there is a photograph of Harrison signing the instrument, as well as a recording of Harrison playing the guitar. Sold without copyright, the informal jam session has never been released, meaning that only a few people in the world have ever heard the tape, which features George Harrison playing the guitar and explaining the chord structures, whilst singing two alternate renditions of Beatles’ songs You’re Gonna Lose That Girl and A Hard Day’s Night, as well as a newly self-composed song.

Four iconic guitars feature from Brad Rodgers at – the largest single-owner collection of The Who memorabilia to ever appear at auction – two previously owned by Pete Townshend, and two by John Entwistle. The most striking example is the Peter Cook custom-made bass guitar, of flame design (estimate: £15,000-20,000) illustrated right. Owned by John Entwistle, this guitar was played by him during the Top of the Pops The Who performance circa 1976. An earlier example, synonymous with Pete Townshend, is a 1970 vintage Gibson SG. Played by Townshend on the first leg of the 1971 U.S. tour, this guitar was displayed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame from April 1998 to January 2007, and is also included in the sale (estimate: £20,000-30,000) illustrated right; as well as Pete Townshend’s Takamine acoustic guitar from The Who’s 1989 tour and following few years (estimate: £6,000-8,000). The other Entwistle guitar is the 1962 Fender Precision Bass – one of his earliest basses (estimate: £8,000-10,000).  

An important guitar from the formative years of the Sex Pistols is also on offer in the sale (estimate: £10,000-15,000) illustrated right. The Gibson Les Paul guitar with sunburst finish was once owned and played by Steve Jones, circa 1975/76, and features in well-known photographs of the group in concert at the 100 Club, London in their heyday – specifically of Jones smashing the guitar against an Amp in a Punk-fuelled outburst. The images were taken by Ray Stevenson and are available through Rex Features, reference 581295au RST. The guitar is inscribed by Wally Nightingale of The Strandthe band that would later become The Sex Pistols.

Two Fender Stratocaster guitars, formally from the collection of ‘guitar-god’ Eric Clapton also feature in the sale, the most significant being Clapton’s owned and played 1996 Fender Stratocaster, 50th Anniversary Issue, Master Built Eric Clapton. Signature model with 23 carat gold leaf body finish (estimate: £20,000-30,000) illustrated right. This guitar served as Eric Clapton's main stage guitar throughout 1997, and made the front page of the world press when Clapton joined Paul McCartney, Elton John, Sting and Mark Knopfler for the Music For Montserrat concert at the Royal Albert Hall, organised by Sir George Martin, on 15th September Courtesy of Moriyasu Aono   1997. On this occasion Clapton used it for The Same Old Blues, Layla and Hey Jude with the all-star cast. It went on to serve as the main guitar on the tour of Korea and Japan in October, 1997 and was used as a back-up guitar during the 1998 Pilgrim World Tour.

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Images and interviews available upon request


Notes to Editors:

Public Viewing:
Saturday 19 June:         10.00am - 4.00pm
Sunday 20 June:           10.00am - 4.00pm
Monday 21 June:          9.00am - 7.30pm
Tuesday 22 June:          9.00am – 5.00pm
Wednesday 23 June:     9.00am – 5.00pm                           

Auction:           Thursday, 24 June at 12 noon

Ecatalogue:     Available online from 20 May 2010 at


Christie’s South Kensington
Christie’s South Kensington caters for every collector – from the seasoned connoisseur to those discovering the pleasure of buying at auction for the first time. Specialised sales are broken down into individual departments. Sales are usually held twice a year dependent on category, offering rare and important works of art, decorative objects and collectibles ranging from Old Master and 19th Century Art to Popular Culture Memorabilia. Interiors sales and single owner collections are held more regularly and encapsulate a wide-range of categories in one sale. With items usually offered at a lower price point these sales often appeal to those buying items for the home. Every item featured in a Christie’s sale is valued and fully researched by our experienced experts who possess extensive knowledge of the market and their specialist areas. Trade and private buyers alike are drawn to the welcoming and brightly lit saleroom in South Kensington by the treasures on offer throughout the sales calendar year.


85 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 3LD
Monday:  9.00am – 7.30pm 
Tuesday – Friday:  9.00am – 5.00pm
Saturday & Sunday:  10.00am - 4.00pm


Prices do not include buyers’ premium

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in 2019 that totalled £4.5 billion / $5.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.