A Martin D-28 left-handed guitar signed by Paul McCartney is up for auction, with proceeds going to the Nature Conservancy's African Elephant Initiative. Bidding began on Wednesday on eBay with a starting price of $10,000.
Along with his signature, McCartney paid tribute to Woody Guthrie's famous, fascist-slaying six-string, by scrawling, "This guitar saves elephants" on the Martin as well. Money from the auction will go to the Nature Conservancy's efforts in Africa, China and other locations to increase security and protection for elephants, as well as reduce the demand for ivory. If bidding on the McCartney-signed guitar is out of your price range, though, the campaign still welcomes any and all donations.
"To have Sir Paul’s support and working with Martin Guitar is a real honor," David Banks, managing director of the The Nature Conservancy's Africa Program, said in a statement. "This caliber of collaboration will make a difference to help end the worst poaching crisis in history."
The primary efforts of the African Elephant Initiative will go not just to protecting elephants in Africa, but working with members of the private sector in China to decrease the country's affinity for ivory. Most illegal ivory is trafficked to Asia, specifically China, where it is made into everything from jewelry to chopsticks; the Nature Conservancy hopes to educate consumers and mitigate the spread of misinformation about the source of the ivory. Learn more about these efforts and more at the Nature Conservancy's website.
As for McCartney, the former Beatle was forced to postpone a string of shows in Asia and the United States after falling ill this May, but bounced back with a massive 40-song set in Albany last month. McCartney's current set of dates will wrap up at the end of August, but he'll be back on the road to finish up his trek in October.
The day after he returned to the stage, McCartney spoke with Rolling Stone about a trip to Ibiza with his wife, the first concerts he saw as a boy in Liverpool and his most recent studio concoctions: "Over a week, I did a couple of tracks, and that reawakened my musical taste buds," he said. "I was really happy with those. They were just funky little experimental things, instrumentals. The first one I did was kind of African, so I gave it the working title 'Mombasa.' The next one was faster, and that one I called 'Botswana.' It was a good week. It was funny, I was talking to Joe Walsh about this. He said, 'Yeah, man, that's the best — when it's for nothing and it's not important and it's just experimental, you have the most fun. It's really good for your soul, that stuff.' And I agree. It was very freeing."