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Guernsey’s Puts Rare Guitars on the Auction Block

Guernsey’s / Paul Schraub

New York–based Guernsey’s has presented some of the preeminent artifacts of modern music during its existence, including highly sought-after items from the Beatles, Elvis Presley and John Coltrane. The nearly 40-year-old auction house continues that tradition with the Artistry of the Guitar, an exquisite collection of 265 rare acoustic guitars from master builders of the 19th and 20th centuries. The two-day event (April 2–3) will take place at the Bohemian National Hall (321 E. 73rd St.) on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The guitars up for bidding belonged to an anonymous collector, but a quick glance through the catalogue makes it hard to believe that they were all in the possession of a single person. The collection includes vintage models from Martin, Gibson, Gretsch and many others, as well as pieces crafted by master luthiers such as John D’Angelico.

“The historical importance of these guitars is unparalleled—these are the instruments that laid the foundation of the guitar industry as we know it,” says Guitar Aficionado editor in chief Chris Gill. “This collection captures the transition as old-world handcraftsmanship merged with Industrial Revolution production techniques, creating very rare, high-quality instruments that showcase the various manufacturers’ creativity when they were really emerging and reaching their peak.”

Among the many gems for sale is a 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe, one of only 14 ever made. A guitar made by Spanish master Antonio de Torres in 1862, a 1934 D’Angelico Excel and a 1936 Epiphone Emperor are also on the block. If you can’t make it to the auction in person, bid online at, or 212-794-2280;


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