Eric Clapton is auctioning off 70 guitars from his formidable collection to raise money for his Antigua drug and alcohol rehabilitation center Crossroads.
Among the items at the sale — which will also include amplifiers and will take place on March 9 at Bonhams in New York — are a black Fender "Eric Clapton Signature" Stratocaster he played at the Cream reunion shows in 2005 (expected to go for $20,000 to $30,000) and a pair of Marshall speaker cabinets he used with Derek and the Dominoes during the 1970s (estimated to sell for $8,000 to $10,000). Guitars donated by Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa are also part of the 150-lot auction.
Clapton held similar auctions in 1999 and 2004. The latter event raised more than $7.4 million and saw three of Clapton's guitars sell for astronomical figures: a Stratocaster he called "Blackie" went for a record-breaking $959,000; a 1964 Gibson ES-335 he'd played with the Yardbirds and Cream sold for $847,500; and a 1939 Martin acoustic he played during his MTV Unplugged appearance went for $791,500. The first two items were purchased by music chain the Guitar Center.
Clapton had set the previous record price for a guitar at the 1999 auction when a 1956 Strat ("Brownie") sold for $497,000.
Clapton opened Crossroads in 1998. Last summer he held his third annual benefit concert for the center in Chicago, where he was joined by B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Buddy Guy and others.