David Gilmour's Black Strat Sells for Record-Breaking $3,975,000, Full Collection for $21,500,000

In what has to be one of the largest and most historic guitar collections to go to auction, 120 instruments from David Gilmour's personal collection went up for sale Thursday at Christie's in New York City, with all of Gilmour's profits being donated to charity. Guitars at the heart of The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall, and countless Pink Floyd performances and studio sessions were sold, many for historically large amounts.

Included in the sale was the Black Strat—Gilmour's iconic black Fender Stratocaster that has been with him since his earliest days in Pink Floyd. What started as an off-the-shelf '68–'69 Standard was heavily modified throughout his career.

From 1971 forward, it was his main guitar, including on landmark moments like the solo on "Comfortably Numb" and the entirety of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond." Final price? $3,975,000. Prior to the sale of the Black Strat, the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction was the "Reach Out to Asia" Stratocaster, signed by the world's biggest rockstars and auctioned off to support victims of the 2004 Tsunami. That guitar garnered $2.7 million when sold in 2005.

Gilmour's white 1954 Fender Stratocaster bears the serial number 0001. And while Fender's factory manager from that early era has said that serial numbers from that time are unreliable, Gilmour's '54 is believed to be a pre-production Stratocaster gifted from Leo Fender himself to country guitarist Rex Gallion.

This 1954 Strat would be a historic instrument whether it passed through Gilmour's hands or not, but once he got it in the late '70s, he famously used it for the rhythm guitar track on "Another Brick In the Wall (Part 2)."

When it sold early in the auction for the price of $1,815,000, it set the new record for the largest amount ever paid for a single artist's Stratocaster at an auction, only to have that new record eclipsed by the sale of the Black Strat hours later. (For comparison, Bob Dylan's Newport Folk Festival Strat sold for $965,000 in 2013.)

Two other guitars from the collection—a 1969 Martin D-35 and a 1971 Martin D12-28—were also particularly important to Gilmour's songwriting and recording. The D-35 was a trusted writing-session and studio companion to Gilmour from 1972 onward, present at sessions for Obscured By Clouds, Dark Side, and more. It can be heard on "Welcome to the Machine" and "Wish You Were Here."

Expected to fetch $10,000–$20,000, according to Christie's pre-auction catalog, it instead sold for $1,095,000, the highest price ever paid for a Martin, according to Christie's.

The 12-string opening riff from "Wish You Were Here" was written and recorded with Gilmour's D12-28, which sold for $531,000.

But those were far from the only guitars that sold for astonishing amounts. Gilmour's 1958 Gretsch White Penguin sold for $447,000, while a 1955 Les Paul Goldtop—which Gilmour used on the "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" solo—sold for another $447,000. Even Gilmour's simple Jedson steel guitar, which had an estimate of just $2,000, fetched $300,000. An '80s Gibson acoustic crested $230,000. A Steinberger went for $125,000. A 2008 Fender P-Bass sold for $52,500. And on and on.

Perhaps it was the charitable nature of the auction or perhaps Gilmour's super fans simply egged each other on to higher and higher bids, but regardless, across the board, estimates were blown out of the water. The grand total for all of the instruments is $21.5 million—all of it going to the climate change organization ClientEarth.

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