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GALLERY: The David Gilmour Guitar Collection

An inside look at 10 of the Pink Floyd legend’s most iconic guitars that will be sold at auction in New York on June 20.

1954 Fender Stratocaster

After acquiring this early Stratocaster in 1978 from a guitar shop on Denmark Street, in London’s Tin Pan Alley, Gilmour preserved it for occasional studio use. “This is a guitar that David says is as perfect as a Stratocaster gets,” Keane explains. “He’s done no upgrading.”

Christie’s historical documentation of this ’54 Stratocaster reads as follows: “Production of the Fender Stratocaster was sporadic in the months of May, June, and July of 1954. It is believed that the first true production run did not begin until October of that year. The neck date of 5-54 and the pot code, placing manufacture in the 41st week of 1953, would suggest that this guitar was one of the earliest Stratocaster bodies and necks to be completed by the Fender shop in 1954, though, the serial number, applied to the neck plate rather than the tremolo cover, might lead us to believe it was dispatched much later that year. Of special interest to Fender connoisseurs and historians are the slot-head screws used for the pickup-height adjusters and the bridge mounting. These would be quickly standardized with the use of Phillips-head screws. Another variant are the 100k potentiometers used on this instrument rather than the typical 250k normally found on Fenders of the period.”

For more than 50 years, David Gilmour has been a master artist, using the guitar as his main vehicle to create some of the most recognizable songs in the canon of rock music history. This month, he’s selling 120 of these tools in what is being hailed as the largest and most comprehensive guitar collection ever to be auctioned, according to Christie’s, the British auction house coordinating the event.

Value estimates range from $300 to $150,000 per guitar. Gilmour says he’s not retiring any time soon: Selling these instruments is his way of giving back. All proceeds from the sale will go to Gilmour’s longtime charitable foundation. (Here is a list of organizations Gilmour has supported in the past.)

“These guitars have been very good to me and many of them have gifted me pieces of music over the years,” Gilmour says. “They have paid for themselves many times over, but it’s now time that they moved on. Guitars were made to be played and it is my wish that wherever they end up, they continue to give their owners the gift of music. By auctioning these guitars, I hope that I can give some help where it is really needed and through my charitable foundation do some good in this world. It will be a wrench to see them go and perhaps one day I’ll have to track one or two of them down and buy them back!”

The David Gilmour Guitar Collection exhibit, a selection of his 10 most significant instruments, was on display in London in late March of this year, and then made a stop in Los Angeles in early May before its final viewing in New York, which will take place June 14-19. During the L.A. showcase, Premier Guitar had a chance to view these 10 selected guitars privately and up close, including the Holy Grail: Gilmour’s Black Strat. With details provided by Christie’s instrument specialist Kerry Keane and Gilmour himself, here’s a look at some of the most famous guitars in the world.

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