The Fender Stratocaster played by Bob Dylan at his groundbreaking, furor-causing Newport Folk Festival appearance in 1965, was sold for $965,000 on Friday, December 6, 2013 at a Christies auction in New York City that also saw the sale of Dylan hand-written lyrics for $20,000, which were found inside the Strat’s guitar case.
Rolling Stone said in their reporting of the story: “The buyer of Dylan’s Stratocaster remains unnamed for now, but the story of its prior ownership is fascinating: Dylan left the guitar on a private plane, and when the pilot notified the songwriter’s management, he never received a response. The Strat has remained in the pilot’s family for nearly 50 years, and it was authenticated last year when his daughter, Dawn Peterson, brought it on the PBS program ‘History Detectives.’”
Dylan’s sunburst Strat gained its notoriety as the electric guitar being played by Dylan when he incited the wrath of folk purists who thought his use of an electric instrument was sacrilegious (even though the use of electric public address systems to amplify vocals and acoustic guitars was not questioned or considered heretical).
At the almost one-million dollar selling price, Dylan’s Strat becomes the most expensive guitar ever auctioned, eclipsing Eric Clapton’s “Blackie,” which sold for $959,500 in 2004, andlike its former owner, the newly crowned most expensively auctioned guitar does not come without its own share of intrigue and mystery, as the story surrounding its travels creates its own share of mystique and myth.