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Eric Clapton’s “The Fool” guitar becomes one of the most expensive ever at auction

One of Eric Clapton‘s iconic guitars – named “The Fool” – has become one of the most expensive guitars ever at auction.

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On Thursday, November 16, the musician’s 1964 custom-painted psychedelic Gibson SG was sold for $1.27 million (£1.03 million) at Julien’s Auctions. The six-string instrument was sold as part of the three-day music auction event “Played, Worn and Torn: Rock N’ Roll Iconic Guitars and Memorabilia” at the Hard Rock Café in Nashville.

Per Guitar World, the guitar is the same ’64 SG that Clapton played when he and his Cream bandmates were creating their second LP, ‘Disraeli Gears’. The six-string was painted by the Dutch art collective from whom the SG got its name. It became an influential emblem of the psychedelic era as well as a  symbol of the Summer of Love in 1967.

Martin Nolan, Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, and a principal of Julien’s Auctions shows Eric Clapton’s Fool guitar during the media preview for Julien’s “Played, worn, torn rock’n’roll iconic guitars and memorabilia” in Gardena, California, on October 10, 2023. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Planet Rock, Clapton gifted the guitar to George Harrison following the disbandment of Cream. Harrison then passed it down to Jackie Lomax. It was also owned by Todd Rundgren in the 70s and 80s who gave it the nickname “Sunny” after Cream’s track ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, until he sold it at auction in 2000.

A portion of the proceeds of “The Fool” guitar will go towards Kicking The Stigma, The Indianapolis Colts and Irsay Family’s mental health awareness initiative.

Speaking about the instrument, Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien’s Auctions said: “Eric Clapton’s The Fool, one of the most important guitars in all of rock music history has made history once again tonight at our auction.”

He continued: “To have this legendary guitar that created and defined the classic rock sound that is an art masterpiece and symbol of the psychedelic ‘Summer of Love’ era go to Jim Irsay’s renowned memorabilia collection is another great privilege and hallmark of my career and a highlight of Julien’s Auctions twenty-year anniversary celebration this year.”

Studio still life of a 1963 Gibson SG Les Paul Standard guitar owned by Eric Clapton and painted by The Fool, photographed in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Nigel Osbourne/Redferns)
Studio still life of a 1963 Gibson SG Les Paul Standard guitar owned by Eric Clapton and painted by The Fool, photographed in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Nigel Osbourne/Redferns)

In other Eric Clapton news, back in September, the musician helped raise millions of dollars for the Presidential campaign of controversial Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

At a private fundraising event in Brentwood earlier this week, rock icons Eric Clapton and Stephen Stills helped Kennedy raise millions for his campaign.

According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, Clapton performed with his band at the fundraiser and helped raise a total amount of $2.3million (£1.85million).

Of this amount, $1million (£805,000) went to benefit Kennedy’s campaign, while the remaining $1.3million (£1.05million) went to a political action committee (PAC), which supports Kennedy Jr.’s candidacy.

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