Bob Dylan’s Newport Festival guitar to go up for auction

By Daniel S Levine,

The infamous sunburst Fender Stratocaster Bob Dylan used at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival during his first electric public performance is going up for sale at Christie’s today. It is expected to sell for half a million dollars.

When Dylan began playing his three-song set, he was reportedly booed by the folk purists. He left the stage, but did return to play “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” on an acoustic guitar. Still, he had changed the course of music history by “going electric.”

The guitar had actually gone missing, but it was discovered in New Jersey and featured in a PBS History Detectives episode last year.

According to The Associated Press, Christie's is selling the guitar with the original Fender hard case and black leather strap. The auction house expects the guitar to sell for between $300,000 and $500,000. However, that would fall short of the all time record for a guitar, which goes to Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Fender. That guitar went for $959,500 in 2004.

Christie’s is also going to auction off handwritten lyrics and drafts for songs written during the Blonde on Blonde era.

While Dylan and his reps did not comment on the sale, Christie’s told the AP, “Representatives for Bob Dylan do not contest the sale of the guitar, and are aware of Christie's plan to bring it to auction.”

UPDATE: The AP now reports that it did break the record, selling for $956,000.

image: Wikimedia Commons


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