Bonhams is excited to announce the sale of two iconic guitars once owned by superstars Jimi Hendrix and Prince. The instruments are among the highlights in Bonhams' Entertainment Memorabilia auction on 15 December in Knightsbridge, London.
Jimi Hendrix's longest-owned guitar (estimated at £80,000-120,000) will lead the sale. An Epiphone acoustic in sunburst finish, it was in Hendrix's possession for almost three years – longer than any other guitar used in his short but ground-breaking career. Jimi paid for this 1951 Epiphone with money earned from the legendary Monterey International Pop Music Festival and subsequent American concerts. It was bought, as Noel Redding recalled, "second hand, for about $25, in New York after our first tour of the States".
Jimi's return home with new guitars was no surprise to girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. She remembered it was 'used very, very heavily, continuously, all the time' at their Upper Berkeley Street flat. Use of an amp was restricted for fear of a second eviction (they had been moved out of their previous flat following noise complaints) and so the Epiphone was vital. As Etchingham noted, "Jimi used it for almost everything he composed in this country ... He constantly played it to work out riffs and song arrangements including his own version of Dylan's All Along The Watchtower."
The Epiphone can be identified in various photographs and amateur film footage exists showing Jimi playing Elvis Presley's Hound Dog on this guitar at the after-show party following The Experience's Royal Albert Hall concert of February 1969. The following year, in March 1970, Jimi gave the Epiphone to Alan Parker, guitarist with Blue Mink. The guitar was subsequently used by Parker on numerous recordings and film soundtracks including those by Dusty Springfield, Walker Brothers, Blue Mink, Paul McCartney and on David Bowie's Diamond Dogs. The Epiphone is sold with a hard case marked A. Parker.
Prince's unmistakable Cloud Guitar, custom made and taken on the 'Act I & II, Prince and the New Power Generation Tours' of 1993, is estimated at £25,000-30,000. The star was synonymous with his custom Schecter guitars. He used the Cloud model throughout his career, re-spraying the colour to coordinate with new looks he was adopting.
The vendor won this Cloud in an MTV competition in 1993. The prize included travelling with the New Power Generation band on their tour bus during the Act II tour in Germany, watching Prince on stage and meeting the star for a private performance before she was handed the Cloud on stage by NPG guitarist Levi Seacer Jr.
The guitar features a double cutaway maple body with extended scrolling horn and 22 fret fingerboard decorated with Roman numerals. Also included in this remarkable lot is the original Paisley Park Enterprises letter authenticating the guitar and confirming its presentation to the current vendor, as well as copies of much of the touring itinerary and travelling paperwork and the programme from the Act I tour with Prince holding this guitar.
These guitars are amongst a starry line up of instruments, costumes and props in Bonhams' forthcoming Entertainment Memorabilia sale on 15 December.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com