Share This Page

'Holy grail of guitars' for sale in April auction

| Friday, March 7, 2014, 8:39 p.m.
A 1893 Martin guitar in a 'coffin' case is among a collection of 265 extremely rare guitars from a single individual that will auction at Guernsey's on April 2 and 3. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK — The “holy grail of guitars” is among the hundreds of rare and vintage acoustic guitars going on the auction block in New York next month.

California collector Hank Risan is offering some of his musical instruments for auction by Guernsey's on April 2 and 3. The 265 pieces from his collection are considered among the finest of vintage guitars to come to auction in terms of rarity, original construction and condition, the auction house says.

A wide range of makers are represented, including Gibson, Gretsch, Washburn, Stromberg and D'Angelico.

The earliest instrument in Risan's collection dates to 1840; the newest is a 2000 re-creation of a 1930 Martin masterpiece, an OM-45 Deluxe. Both the re-creation and the original will be in the auction.

“The OM-45 Deluxe is the holy grail of guitars,” Guernsey's President Arlan Ettinger said. Only 14 were ever made.

Among other highlights are a 1900 Manuel Ramirez Flamenco and a 1939 D'Angelico New Yorker.

John D'Angelico was a guitar maker with a studio in Greenwich Village during the first half of the 20th century; his guitars have been described by some “as the Stradivarius of guitars,” Ettinger said.

Pre-sale estimates of the instruments were still being worked out on Friday.

Several previously celebrity-owned guitars will be auctioned off: a 1941 Gibson SJ-200 played by Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; a 1967 Gibson SJN Country Western used by Mick Jagger on his 1987 album “Primitive Cool”; and a 1959 Gibson J-200 that Eric Clapton once owned.

The sale includes a handful of mandolins, including a late 1920s Style 2221 Regal Superior crafted from Brazilian Rosewood with inlaid pearl vine inserts.

“These are not simply handsome-looking, finely crafted objects. They are, first and foremost, musical instruments and were created to be played,”

Risan, of Santa Cruz, is founder of the virtual Museum of Musical Instruments and CEO of Media Rights Technologies Inc. According to his website, his first guitar was a vintage Martin purchased when he was 16.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.