Clapton guitar auction raises $2.15 million

Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:42am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - British rock star Eric Clapton raised $2.15 million at a New York auction of 75 guitars and 55 amplifiers on Wednesday, more than triple the pre-sale expectations, auctioneers Bonhams said on Thursday.

The proceeds from the sale at which every lot found a buyer will go to the 65-year-old guitar legend's Crossroads Center drug and alcohol treatment facility in the Caribbean.

The auction total without the buyer's premium was around $1.8 million, and the sale also included instruments donated by Clapton's musician friends Jeff Beck, J.J. Cale and Joe Bonamassa.

Among the top lots was a 1948 Gibson L-5P, which had been expected to fetch $20-30,000 but raised $82,960. A 2005 Zemaitis S22BP 3S, estimated at $12-18,000, sold for $75,640.

The top amp of the sale was a pair of 1997 Fender Twin Amps, estimated at $9-12,000, which sold for $42,700.

"Eric Clapton inspires an ever-expanding fan base, many of whom made the journey to Bonhams in New York over the past few days and joined us for this remarkable auction," said Jon Baddeley, worldwide head of collectables at Bonhams.

"We were delighted to play our part in raising funds for The Crossroads Center, a charity with a noble mission and a cause that remains very close to Eric's heart."

Clapton, who did not attend the auction as he and his band were scheduled to perform in LA, is considered one of the greatest guitarists in rock history, and is recognized as a solo artist and for his collaborations with The Yardbirds and Cream.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>Guitars belonging to British music icon Eric Clapton are displayed at the Bonhams auction house in New York March 4, 2011. More than 70 guitars belonging to Clapton will go on the auction block in New York next week to raise money for his drug and alcohol treatment center in the Caribbean. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>