Neil Young Sells Guitars, Studio Gear, and Trains at Auction

When Neil Young first found financial success with 1970's After the Gold Rush, he bought land in Northern California, named it Broken Arrow Ranch, and set about memorializing it in songs.

"Old Man," featured on 1971's Harvest, was inspired by the property's caretaker, Louis Avila, who took "care of all the cows and fences and everything," as Young said in a BBC special. "Journey Through The Past" (opening line: "When the winter rains come pouring down on that new home of mine") was also written around that time. Later, he'd record "Country Home" with Crazy Horse for 1990's Ragged Glory.

But not all of Young's friends were as keen on the place as he was. Producer David Briggs once derided it as a "velvet cage," a hermitage where Young could surround himself with only those things he cherished and neglect the rest of the world. Over the decades, Young has indeed amassed a collection—not only of the obvious guitars, amps, and recording equipment, but also classic cars and many, many Lionel model train sets.

Luckily for the buyers at Los Angeles-based Julien's Auctions, which held a live auction on December 9 and continued an online sale through December 17, Young parted with more than 200 items, or, one imagines, just a few of his favorite things.

Sold at the auction were:

  • A 1935 Martin F-7, a hollowbody archtop made of Brazilian rosewood sold for $25,000.

  • A 1977 Martin D-19 played on 1978's Comes A Time sold for $43,750.

  • 1935 Martin F-7
    1977 Martin D-19
  • A 1958 Neve/Telefunken U47 sold for $42,500.

  • 1958 Neve/Telefunken U47
  • One set of 16 Universal Audio 610 preamp modules sold for $68,750, and another set of 11 for $56,250. (Young owned a Bill Putnam-built 610 console he called the "Green Board," used to record parts of Harvest and many other albums. The set of 11, which sport the same green color, could have been part of this board, though it was not made clear in the catalog.)

  • Universal Audio 610 preamp modules

The lack of information could be partly explained by something Martin Nolan, Julien's executive director, told the New Yorker: "He didn’t worry at all about the guitars and the equipment. But he said, ‘I want to be involved with the trains. Collectors of trains are fanatical, and they’ll want the right information."

All together, the models trains fetched more than $300,000, according to Reuters.

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