Guernsey’s Guitar Auction 2/27/16

If you are a guitar, rock, music, or history buff, here’s some music for your ears …

The largest collection of guitars dating back to 1880—approximately 300 lots of sensational electric guitars, and the guitar Robert Blake played in the iconic film, “In Cold Blood,” will be auctioned off on February 27th in New York City.

The event will be featuring several private collections including approximately 20 instruments coming directly from the great guitarist, George Benson. From the noted Henry Lowenstein Collection will be a presentation of early (and extremely rare) guitars and mandolins made by Joseph Bohmann, while the collection of more than forty guitars from the late arranger and jazz musician Robert Yelin features pristine examples by Gibson, D’Angelico, Benedetto, and Buscarino. Though less well-known than a fine company like Martin (of which there will be many instruments in the auction), guitars from the Larson Bros. have long been coveted by collectors. This auction will be featuring an assortment of these almost impossible-to-find instruments.

Rolling Stones, Clapton, Kiss Collage

Among the many guitars worth noting is a 1938 Larson Bros. Euphonon Dreadnought that was owned by Johnny Cash who gifted it to a young Bob Dylan. A photo of Bob playing the guitar along with a note from Johnny when making the gift is included in the lot. In the early 1980’s, Eddie Van Halen was famous for playing extraordinary looking Charvel guitars customized just for him. Included in the Auction is a yellow and black instrument ordered, owned and played by Eddie and then seen with him in an Entertainment Tonight video.

The approximately three hundred lots in the sale are roughly divided equally between fine acoustic instruments dating as far back as 1880 right through beautiful, recently-made examples, and sensational electric guitars, many of which are associated with well-known musicians. Bidders will encounter instruments from Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tony Mottola (accompanying Frank Sinatra) and Franny Beecher who, following years with Benny Goodman’s big band, became the lead guitarist for the legendary Bill Haley and the Comets. The “In Cold Blood” pair of guitars in the auction must constitute one of the most unusual musical offerings ever: those who vividly recall the legendary Truman Capote book and movie will remember that Perry Smith, the much-analyzed killer, toted his guitar everywhere. A single lot in this auction will contain both the instrument used by Robert Blake playing the role of Smith in the Academy Award-winning film, and the actual guitar used by the real-life killer!

guernseys guitar auction Collage

This is only a sampling of the wildly diverse collection that will be up for auction on February 27 at New York City’s East 73rd Street Bohemian National Hall and online at both and

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