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An axe to die for – guitars at auction this December

Drummers, I’m sorry to say this, but in the grand scheme of things…nobody cares.

You’re instrument may be the glue that holds a band together, but when it comes to fan favourites, you’re last on the list.

I guess you all ready knew that; it’s an old adage that’s been bandied around since man first began hitting things with sticks.

Bassists, likewise. In the eyes of the adoring crowds, you are the drummer’s girlfriend, or a failed guitarist. Unless you have virtuosic slap-bass skills, you can take your place in that dark area at the back of the stage.

I’m sorry to bring you these truths. Even Paul McCartney – writer of some of the best-known bass lines in history – didn’t want to be a bassist.

Regardless of talent, we all know that it’s the guitarist that’s the coolest member of almost any band – next to the singer, that is. If you happen to do both, you’ve reached the pinnacle of performing prowess.

Its why guitars, signed or not, are some of the most sought after instruments by collectors. Everyone remembers Hendrix’s white Stratocaster, but can you remember the bass that Noel Redding was playing beside him at Woodstock? Thought not.

The double-necked Gibson played by Jimmy Page is something of rock legend, but Jon Paul Jones’ bass? Not a clue.

In December, the auction world will be hit with an influx of guitars played by the top axe-wielding heroes.

The most important of these is the Fender Stratocaster that Bob Dylan controversially played at Newport Folk Festival in 1965.

Dylan's use of an electric guitar caused outrage among folk purists

Dylan’s use of an electric guitar caused outrage among folk purists

The guitar is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of music memorabilia, marking a pivotal moment in the career of perhaps the most celebrated songwriter of all time.

Also selling is Van Halen’s Frankenstrat, a custom made 1982 Kramer that was used throughout the 1982-1983 Diver Down Tour, and bears the scars of 1980s rock n’ roll excess to prove it. Instantly recognisable to anyone that plays, the Frankenstrat is nothing less than an icon.

The original Frankenstrat was handmade by Van Halen himself from two different guitars

The original Frankenstrat was handmade by Van Halen himself from two different guitars

With Deadheads still as dedicated to the California psych-rockers as ever, two almost identical guitars from the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia will appear at Bonhams and Julien’s Auctions just days apart from each other.

The guitar features a sticker that read, "There is Nothing Like a Grateful Dead Concert".

The guitar features a sticker that read, “There is Nothing Like a Grateful Dead Concert”.

Garcia’s guitars are legendary, and there are no shortage of them to keep collectors interested. The two best-known examples, nicknamed Tiger and Wolf, sold for $957,500 and $789,500 respectively in 2002.

Comparatively, Ginger Baker’s drum kit, a fantastic piece from one of the top-rated and best loved drummers of all time, is valued at just $24,166-32,222 in the Bonhams auction. Sorry drummers, its nothing personal.

Elvis played the acoustic live on stage in Denver

Elvis played the acoustic live on stage in Denver

Completing the line-up of axes at auction this December is Elvis’ limited edition NBN acoustic guitar, which is selling for more than $50,000 at Heritage auctions.

Yet it looks like I spoke to soon on the bassist’s behalf…

One of Paul McCartney’s trademark Hofner basses is  also coming to auction with an estimate of $150,000-200,000; far more than most I’ve listed already.

The violin-shaped Hofner bass is McCartney's trademark instrument, yet there's no proof he ever played this example

The violin-shaped Hofner bass is McCartney’s trademark instrument, yet there’s no proof he ever played this example

But don’t get your hopes up just yet bassists, you’ve a lot of catching up to do before you can compete with a Beatle! On the plus side, whether drummer or bassist you are likely to be less egotistical and likely to live for longer than your limelight-loving guitarist – at least you can take comfort in that.

See our music memorabilia for sale, and take a look at our top five electric guitars at auction list.

Joe

PS, if any readers fancy buying me one of the these for Christmas, in thanks for my fascinating posts, I’ll take the Dylan Strat or Elvis Acoustic! Thanks!

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October’s auction highlights – top consignments for collectors

Following the summer vacation, the auction world is back in full swing, with an exciting line-up of consignments announced at the world’s top auction houses. Paul Fraser Collectibles looks at what October has to offer for collectors:

Record-breaking diamonds

Premier Blue, Diamond, Sothebys, Fancy Blue,

The Premier Blue is the world’s biggest fancy vivid blue diamond and looks set to see a new record pre-carat price

Sotheby’s will kick off its Fall season in Hong Kong on October 7 with a selection of the world’s finest diamonds, including the Premier Blue, the world’s largest “fancy-blue” diamond, which is expected to see around $19m. Also starring is the huge 118.2-carat flawless white diamond, valued at $30m.

Original condition classic cars1918, Locomobile, Bonhams, Preserving, Automobile, Model 48, Classic Car,

Bonhams presents its second annual Preserving the Automobile auction on October 7, returning to the Simeon Automotive Museum.

The auction showcases early classic cars in original condition, with collectors jostling for a select-group of survivors.

Among the stunning consignments is an 1903 Oldsmobile Model R, a 1910 Sears Model P, and a 1934 Packard 1101, each of which is offered without reserve.

Elvis Presley’s spiritual ringElvis, Elvis Presley, Spiritual Ring, Ring, Memorabilia, Jewellery, auction

It’s not all high-end offerings in October, with Ahlers & Ogletree selling a ring given to Elvis Presley when he visited the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles in the 1960s.

A bizarre but fascinating addition to the sale, it isn’t going to fetch much, but will undoubtedly excite dedicated Elvis lovers.

George Orwell’s Spanish civil war scarvesGeorge Orwell, Spanish Civil War, Homage to Catalonia, Scarves, Memorabilia, Rare, For Sale,

My personal favourite of October’s offerings, the scarves that George Orwell wore while fighting fascists in the Spanish civil war, will be sold for just £800-1,200 at Bloomsbury Auctions on October 3.

One of the scarves is the same that the great writer (and literary hero of mine) wore when shot in the neck by a sniper. It still bears his blood and a bullet-hole.

A trio of sublime stamp collections

1869 Pictorial Issue, Invert, 15 cents, 15c, stamps, philately, collecting, United States

The 1869 15c Invert – valued at a cool $1.2m

On October 9-10, Robert A Siegel will offer a trio of astonishing US stamp collections, including the Dr Irvin Heimburger Collection of 1869 Pictorial Issues and the Beverly Hills Collection of US Inverts.

While out of the reach of most of us (few will have a spare million or so lying around), the stamps are a brilliant ogling opportunity for those aiming for the top. Some of the finest offered for decades, the catalogues alone are worth a look – if you can deal with the jealousy!

Of course, if none of these take your fancy, there’s sure to be something to suit your tastes in our online store.

by Joe

The Champagne Lanson Bonnet Collection of $20 Gold Coins

Imagine the scene…

You’re a builder, working on a reasonable wage for one of the world’s leading Champagne companies, Lanson-BCC Group.

They’ve asked you to renovate an old grape drying facility on their beautiful old property in France. It’s a fantastic spot and you’ve worked with them before, so you take up the job and set to work in the sunshine.

Before long, you’re busy working on the crumbling ceiling when, without a moments notice, it collapses…

Yet you’re not buried behind a pile of rubble, instead you’re now sitting amid a pile of hidden treasure.

Champagne Lanson Bonnet, coins, auction, Bonhams, France, find, discovered, $20, gold coins, US, double eagle

What’s more, the coins are almost all in mint state

497 rare US coins, minted between 1852 and 1928, have just landed in your lap…literally.

And so goes the story of the Champagne Lanson Bonnet Collection of US $20 Gold Coins, which are due to be sold at Bonhams on June 3.

It’s not certain how the coins got to be stashed away in the vineyard, but the building was once owned by a wine merchant who traded with the US and England, and was possibly a collector.

The honest workman who “discovered” the cache nobly handed them to the owners of the property shortly after. He’ll be rewarded by getting half of the profits – not bad, considering the collection is valued at $1m in the sale.

Anyone know of any building jobs going in France?

by Joe

Scottsdale collector car auctions 2013 – the top lots so far

With the classic car collecting community all fired up to head to Scottsdale, AZ for a legendary week of auctions at the end of January, Paul Fraser Collectibles presents the best lots consigned to the mega-sale so far…

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You can find more information on all of these and more in our Classic Cars news section. We will be bringing you all the results from Scottsdale 2013 as soon as they happen, so make sure to check back with us regularly.

Joe

Collecting Meissen porcelain – a new found appreciation

Now, contrary to popular opinion, working at Paul Fraser Collectibles isn’t always fun and games. Sometimes we have to write about collectibles that we just don’t appreciate in the interests of providing you with the latest news, regardless of subject matter.

My personal dislike is Meissen porcelain. It’s colourful, ostentatious designs do not appeal to me in the least – I can’t really pinpoint the reason for this, but it is certainly not to my taste.

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That is, until I took a well-earned break to visit Berlin. While in the German capital, I took the chance to take a trip to Charlottenburg – a 17th  century summer palace built for the wife of Frederick III, the city’s great founder.

Gazing round the palace’s lavish Baroque-style rooms was all rather pleasant, so imagine my horror when I turned a corner to find a monumental display of Meissen porcelain, plastered from wall to wall.

However, I forced myself to enter (mainly due to the exit being on the other side of the room) and it was within this grandiose setting that I learned to appreciate the skill and level of detail that adorns each piece, and saw how the ceramics could find their place in a collection.

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This revelation has certainly made my life a lot easier. The Marouf Collection of 18th Century Meissen porcelain, the world’s most important amassment, has sold over at Bonhams and I was only too happy to share my new found appreciation…

Joe

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