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David Gilmour's fabled Black Strat sets world record at auction

David Gilmour playing his beloved Black Strat © Getty

Pink Floyd legend David Gilmour's iconic guitar, The Black Strat, has set the world record for the most expensive guitar sold under the hammer.

The fabled guitar was famously played on the ‘Comfortably Numb’ solo and was integral to the recording of the Pink Floyd albums ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ (1973), ‘Wish You Were Here’ (1975), ‘Animals’ (1977) and ‘The Wall’ (1979), together with Gilmour’s solo albums.

At the David Gilmour Guitar Collection auction at Christie’s in New York last night (Thursday 20th June), The Black Strat was the last lot of the sale and fetched $3,975,000 (£3,134,000) obliterating its asking price of $100,000 to $150,000.

The Black Strat surpasses the previous record holder at auction, Fender’s ‘Reach Out To Asia’ Stratocaster, which sold for $2,700,000 in 2004 raising money for the Indian Ocean tsunami relief effort.

The first lot at the auction yesterday — a 1966 solid-body Fender Stratocaster bought by Gilmour in 1970 – set the benchmark early on fetching $423,000, far in excess of its estimate of $10,000-15,000. 

Other star lots include Gilmour’s Martin D-35 acoustic guitar used on ‘Wish You Were Here’  and ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ that had an estimate of $10,000-$20,000 but sold for $1,095,000. 

Another Martin acoustic, a D12-28 12-string guitar that Gilmour bought from a friend in 1974 was estimated at $5,000-10,000 but reached $531,000.

Gilmour’s 1954 White Fender Stratocaster #0001 used on ‘Another Brick in the Wall (Parts 2  and 3)’ went for $1,815,000 on an estimate of $100,000-150,000. For a few fleeting hours it was the most expensive Fender ever until The Black Strat kicked it out of the park. 

In total, the 127 instruments in the David Gilmour Guitar Collection auction sold for $21,490,750.

As David Gilmour revealed earlier this week, all proceeds from the sale are going directly to the climate change charity ClientEarth.

Gilmour explained: “The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face,’ he wrote, ‘and we are within a few years of the effects being irreversible.

“As Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, said in a speech earlier this year, “Either we choose to go on as a civilisation, or we don’t”. The choice really is that simple and I hope that the sale of these guitars will help ClientEarth in their cause to use the law to bring about real change.

“We need a civilised world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung.”


David Gilmour's Black Strat on display © PA Images

ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: “This is a truly humbling and extraordinary gift, which goes beyond our wildest expectations. It’s difficult to express just how deeply grateful we are to David for choosing ClientEarth as the beneficiary of this historic auction.

“The law is one of the most powerful tools we have to tackle the world’s increasing environmental problems. This gift is a phenomenal boost to our work... It will allow us to play an even greater role in addressing the climate crisis and securing a healthy planet for future generations.”

Christie’s say that such was the intense interest in Gilmour’s collection, more than 2,000 bidders from 66 countries registered for the sale, which took place at Christie’s Rockefeller Center HQ.

Additionally, over 12,000 Pink Floyd and David Gilmour fans flocked to see the instruments on display in London, Los Angeles and New York over recent months.

Here's David Gilmour performing 'Comfortably Numb' on The Black Start in Pompeii in 2016. Enjoy!

 

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