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Eric Clapton's "Heir to Blackie" Guitar Up For Sale

In 2004 when Eric Clapton's coveted Blackie sold at Christies at a then-record-breaking price of $959,500, the guitar world was astounded. That guitar was Eric's favorite "sidekick" for more than 15 years and was known to music fans throughout the world.

 In the years since, major guitars have now sold into the multi-millions, but that sale of Blackie at nearly $1 million 14 years ago provided a tipping point in the perception of value for such historic instruments.

Offered in that same auction was another very special guitar that Eric personally collaborated in designing in order to replace Blackie several years after its retirement. It was created in Blackie's image, ultimately with the famed black and white two-tone colors, and upon its completion in 1990 it became Eric's standard go-to instrument throughout the period 1990-1993.

Of course, it was Blackie that was the big newsmaker at the Christies auction that night, but another story was brewing. The replacement "Blackie" now being offered also received serious attention that evening with bidding going to $200,000. As it turned out, the successful bidder was not able to follow through, and the guitar was then offered by Ericpersonally, over the phone, to the second highest bidder. That bidder was greatly surprised and delighted when he answered to hear Eric's voice on the line asking him if he'd like to maintain his original offer. He agreed to follow through and that's what led, 14 years later, to him now requesting that San Francisco Art Exchange represent it for resale.

Highlights of the guitar's pedigree:
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Eric played "Sunshine of Your Love" on the guitar during the induction of Cream into the Rock Hall of Fame in 1993.

  • Royal Albert Hall 24 Nights: This is the same guitar Eric utilized throughout the famed Royal Albert Hall "24 Nights" concert performances during1990-91.
  • George Harrison: Clapton used this guitar when he and his band backed George Harrison on their tour of Japan in December 1991 and continued as his main stage instrument during the 1992 European and US Tours.
  • Bob Dylan: Eric used this guitar when he played a version of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" to a standing ovation during the four-hour Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden, October 16, 1992.
  • Smoking Guitar: This is reported to be the last known "smoking" guitar, as Eric gave up smoking in 1993. It has the characteristic cigarette burns on the headstock.
  • Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster, the guitar has been referred to as the first officially sanctioned Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster.
The guitar is being immediately publicized and offered for sale worldwide by San Francisco Art Exchange with full details available by emailing, or by calling the gallery at 415-441-8840. The guitar is physically located at the gallery and can be previewed by those who wish to bid. The guitar will be sold to whomever first provides an offer deemed acceptable. This is not an auction per se, but an opportunity for someone to make an offer which is impossible to turn down. The minimum acceptable offer is currently placed at $325,000, although it is anticipated that the guitar will sell for a considerably higher amount. Some estimates have placed it in the $500k to $600k range.

SFAE has sold original artwork of iconic album covers by the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, among many others. The gallery has also concluded landmark sales of rare photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King, Jr., Johnny Cash and Muhammad Ali, just to name a few. In addition, SFAE has represented treasured music and movie-related artifacts from private and celebrity archives such as the Playboy Collection and the Brown Derby Collection, among others.