David Bowie: a twelve-string electric guitar,
Lot 239
David Bowie: A Vox Mk.XII twelve-string electric guitar, late 1960s,
Sold for £13,750 (US$ 23,111) inc. premium
Auction Details
David Bowie: A Vox Mk.XII twelve-string electric guitar, late 1960s, David Bowie: a twelve-string electric guitar,
Lot Details
David Bowie
David Bowie: A Vox Mk.XII twelve-string electric guitar,
late 1960s,
with Vox-style 'teardrop' body finished in red, three pickups and three volume/tone controls, three-way selector switch, aluminium scratchplate, fingerboard with dot markers, in case, with stand

Footnotes

  • The vendor began his career in the music business as a production assistant for the Gem Group (co-founded by Tony Defries in 1966) and later worked for Mainman Limited from 1970 to 1973. He purchased the guitar in 1971 from a well-known music shop in Richmond, Surrey, on a brief to find a suitable replacement while Bowie's 12-string acoustic was being given a new, blue finish.

    This is the guitar that is shown in the photograph of David, taken in August 1972 by Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita. This same photograph is featured on p.13 of the exhibition catalogue, 'David Bowie Is', Victoria & Albert Museum, March-August 2013. It is also reproduced in 'Uncut' magazine, April 2012, a copy of which is included in this lot. Another photograph from the 1972 session, featuring this guitar, was used on a concert poster for David Bowie and Roxy Music at the Rainbow Theatre, London, 19th-20th August 1972.

    The lack of any maker's name or other identifying detail on the scratchplate and headstock, the absence of a serial number and snap-on circular pad on the rear of the body, and the usage of plastic-head Van Ghent machine heads rather than metal Vox-branded Van Ghents all indicate that this guitar was made circa 1968/69, after the demise of Jennings Musical Instruments, maker of Vox amplification and guitars. Much of JMI's guitar stock was purchased by Arbiter, who then produced Vox models, incorporating Vox's original parts, under their own name. This model appears in Arbiter's 1969 catalogue as the '4520'.
Activities
Contacts
  1. Katherine Schofield nee Williams
    Specialist - Entertainment Memorabilia
    Bonhams
    Work
    Montpelier Street
    London, SW7 1HH
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 207 393 3871
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