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The Most Expensive Acoustic Guitars Ever Sold

Guitars are one of the most popular string instruments. They are commonly found in bands, and can be played solo. Guitars come in an array of types, sizes, styles and colors. They are thought to originate back in the middle ages when a guitar-like instrument, something like a lute, was played, but it wasn't until the renaissance era when guitars as we know them today, began to come into play.

Of course, over time, the typical guitar was soon taken to another level when the electric guitar was born. It is one that is most often heard in rock bands, and some musicians have really perfected the instrument, with some of the biggest names in music, being electric guitar players.

Acoustic guitars rely on the strings and sound box that amplifies the strumming and sound of the strings. It can either be played using the fingers only, or a pick. Guitars are so poplar, in fact, that some people will pay a great deal of money for certain guitars.

It isn't unheard of for certain guitars to go for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and if you have ever wondered what the most was that was spent on a guitar, then you're in luck. We have a list of five of the most expensive acoustic guitars ever sold.

5. 11930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe - $300,000

This is considered the Holy Grail of guitars and is a highly sought after instrument. When collector and founder of the virtual Museum of Musical Instruments, Hank Risan, set up an auction in New York to auction off some of his collection, which included this instrument, an instrument that helped to build the foundation of the musical industry as we know it today.

There was high hopes that the guitar would fetch a big sum, however, this would not be the case, in the end. Some of the guitars that were a part of the auction along with the Martin OM-45 Deluxe, included the 1941 Gibson SJ-200, played by Stephen Stills of Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, and an 1967 Gibson SJN Country Western, played by Mick Jagger. The Martin ended up selling for just $300,000, a disappointing low, compared to the hopeful $1.750M-$2M they were hoping for.

4. 1936-’42 Martin D-45 - $320,000 to $400,000

Martin guitars are some of the most  prominent guitars and many are owned by famous singers. The most expensive models are those that are known as, "pre-war Martins," meaning, those that were produced between 1933 and 1942. The 1936-42 Martin D-45. This guitar is constructed of Brazilian Rosewood, a very expensive wood, which is considered a has been listed as a "vulnerable" species.

The Martins that are pre-war dated, have all been valued at a much higher value than the more recent Martins, such as the D-45. They are selling for about 20 times more than recent issues, despite there being very little difference in the instrument's design in all these years. This specific model has been valued between $320,000 and $400,00.

3. D’Angelico New Yorker Teardrop - $500,000.

Back in 1957, a musician by the name of Pete Giardi, who was a member of the band, The Teardrops, was looking for a guitar that was in the shape of a teardrop to coincide with his band's name.

He went to John D'Angelico and asked if he would design and construct a guitar of this nature, and the result was this stunningly impressive guitar that dons a fin-like protrusion from the right corner of the instrument.

This is a one-of-a-kind guitar and was a highly sought after instrument for years. In 1993, a collector by the name of Scott Chinery got hold of the guitar, only paying $150,000 for it, an instrument that is said to now be valued at over $500,000.

Since the original teardrop guitar was designed, two more have been replicated and all three wound up in a guitar exhibition in New York in 2011, the only time all three teardrops have ever appeared together.

2. Martin OM-45 Deluxe - $554,500

In 2009, at an auction held in New York at Christie's, Rogers', Martin OM-45 Deluxe guitar was up for auction. It was estimated that the guitar would sell for anywhere between $150,000 and $250,000, however, the final sale amount was far more than expected and was made by anonymous bidder who ended up paying $554,500 for the coveted instrument.
 
The guitar was the first production for Martin Guitars in 1930. It was originally sold in 1930 for $225.00 but wound up in a pawn shop where in 1933, a man by the name of Leonard Sly purchased it for just $30. This is the man that would one day be known as Roy Rogers.

1. Eric Clapton’s CF Martin & Co, circa 1939 - $791,500

Eric Clapton is one of the most popular musicians and rock n' roll hall of famer. He is also a recovered addict who holds the addiction disease close to his heart and always working to help others struggling with the same issues, which is why he founded the Crossroads Rehabilitation Center.

In an effort to bring in money for the center, an auction was held which featured Clapton's guitar, the Eric Clapton CF Martin & Co, circa 1939.
There was a goal of bringing in about $80,000 for the sale, but the goal was not only surpassed by a little, but the instrument brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars more than anticipated.

The guitar was ultimately sold for $791,500, making this the most expensive guitar.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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