If you ever wanted to own a piece of musical history, here's your chance. Hundreds of rare guitars -- Martins, Gibsons, Fenders and more -- are being auctioned off in New York on Saturday. There will be centuries-old acoustics, and eclectic electric guitars.
"We do have electric guitars played by some of the most famous rock-and-roll artists who ever lived. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen. We have a guitar owned by Ringo Starr but played by John Lennon," said Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's, the auction house handling the bidding.
Estimates for each guitar vary widely, depending on who owned it, who played it and how rare it is. For example, a Gibson Super 400CES, one of only two 7-string Super 400's ever made, has an estimate of $60,000 to $70,000. Tony Mottola played the guitar with Frank Sinatra and with the Doc Severinsen Orchestra on the "Tonight Show."
Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar, signed by him in 1990 the same year he died, has an estimate of $250,000 to $500,000. About two-thirds of the guitars in the auction will be sold without minimum reserve, according to Ettinger, which means some might sell for less than the estimate.
"For people who say this might be too rich for my blood and therefore they don't take part, they may kick themselves the day after realizing that some things went for more affordable prices than they might have imagined." Most guitars have more reasonable estimates, like the $200 to $300 range for an Oscar Schmidt Delta King owned by jazz guitarist Robert Yellin. Many others are estimated at a few thousand dollars.
Perhaps one of the most unusual instruments is the Marilyn Guitar, which was designed to look like a naked Marilyn Monroe. It is one of only three guitars of its kind that were ever made, and it is signed by over 35 artists, including rockers Frank Zappa and Alice Cooper. The top end of the Marilyn Guitar estimate is one million dollars.