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'Holy grail of guitars' for sale in April auction

AP
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)

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By The Associated Press
Friday, March 7, 2014, 8:39 p.m.
 

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.

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