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THE FRED GRETSCH MANUFACTURING COMPANY, BROOKLYN, CIRCA 1958
THE FRED GRETSCH MANUFACTURING COMPANY, BROOKLYN, CIRCA 1958
THE FRED GRETSCH MANUFACTURING COMPANY, BROOKLYN, CIRCA 1958
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THE FRED GRETSCH MANUFACTURING COMPANY, BROOKLYN, CIRCA 1958

A SOLID-BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR, WHITE PENGUIN, 6134

Details
THE FRED GRETSCH MANUFACTURING COMPANY, BROOKLYN, CIRCA 1958
A SOLID-BODY ELECTRIC GUITAR, WHITE PENGUIN, 6134
Inlaid at the headstock with the logo Gretsch and applied at the pickguard and engraved on the tailpiece Gretsch, with hardshell case bearing a label inscribed GRETSCH 6134 WHITE PENGUIN and SERIAL NO. 1070; accompanied by a candid color snapshot of David Gilmour playing this guitar in 2001
Length of back 17 7/8 in. (45.3 cm.)
Special Notice

Please note lots marked with a square will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) on the last day of the sale. Lots are not available for collection at Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services until after the third business day following the sale. All lots will be stored free of charge for 30 days from the auction date at Christie’s Rockefeller Center or Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn). Operation hours for collection from either location are from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday-Friday. After 30 days from the auction date property may be moved at Christie’s discretion. Please contact Post-Sale Services to confirm the location of your property prior to collection. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn). Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information.
Lots made of or including (regardless of the percentage) endangered and other protected species of wildlife are marked with the symbol ~ in the catalogue. This material includes, among other things, ivory, tortoiseshell, crocodile skin, rhinoceros horn, whalebone certain species of coral, and Brazilian rosewood. You should check the relevant customs laws and regulations before bidding on any lot containing wildlife material if you plan to import the lot into another country. Several countries refuse to allow you to import property containing these materials, and some other countries require a licence from the relevant regulatory agencies in the countries of exportation as well as importation. In some cases, the lot can only be shipped with an independent scientific confirmation of species and/or age, and you will need to obtain these at your own cost.
Sale Room Notice
Please note the accompanying hardshell case is not original to this instrument, but is a Gretsch case of the period.

Please note this lot incorporates material from endangered and/or protected species of wildlife which could result in export restrictions. Please see Paragraph H2(b) of the Conditions of Sale for further information.

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Lot Essay

Following the release of the White Falcon, Gretsch decided to target the established solid-body electric market by producing a solid-body companion to the Falcon as they had done with the 6120 Chet Atkins. The guitar would share all the gold-plated appointments and snow white finish of the 6136, but with a body built around the Duo Jet’s 13 ½ inch wide template. It would not be hyperbole to say that White Penguins are one of the rarest American vintage guitars to exist in the market. Gretsch guitar historian Edward Ball clarifies the rarity in his research on Gretsch production numbers during the 1950s. Gretsch produced these spectacular instruments intermingled within the batch numbers used for the White Falcon. Without solid numbers, he can only estimate the total output to be, at the very most, 50 guitars. Among the pantheon of rare and collectable guitars, a 1950s White Penguin would be comparable to a 1958 Gibson Korina Flying V or Explorer or a pre-war Martin D-45.
As David Gilmour had coveted a Gretsch White Penguin for some time, he jumped at the chance when longtime guitar technician Phil Taylor received a tip off from friend and guitar maker Grover Jackson. Jackson led Taylor to the Georgia based guitar dealer Tut Campbell, who managed to track one down. The White Penguin was purchased for Gilmour’s collection in July 1980 and kept for home and studio use.
Gilmour told us: At some point I heard there was a sister or brother guitar to the White Falcon and set around to find one of those. It’s a lovely instrument with something all of its own. These guitars can be so similar, same make, but they sing out in a different way. I’ve played it a lot, it’s a lovely, lovely thing.

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