A collection of guitars owned by the late British blues guitarist Peter Green sold for prices far exceeding expectations in an auction at Bonhams of London, 16-28 June.
Among the items and leading prices in the 192-lot Man Of The World: The Peter Green Collection auction were a National Duolian Resonator, which sold for £38,400 against a pre-sale estimate of £3,000-5,000, and a 1968 Gretsch White Falcon 6137 Stereo, which sold for £38,400 against an estimate of £6,000-8,000.
Other highlights included a 1995 Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III, which sold for £28,800 (estimate £4,000-5,000), a 1999 Fender Stratocaster USA Custom Shop Relic which sold for £23,000 (£5,000-6,000), a Fender Stratocaster, circa 1996, sold for £21,800 (£3,000-4,000), a Fender Stratocaster USA Vintage Series, circa early 2000s, sold for £16,600 (£1,500-2,000) and a 1993 Martin D-28, sold for £15,400 (£2,500-3,000).
The catalogue also included “Peter Green: “An Important And Rare Set Of Handwritten Lyrics For The Single Man Of The World, early 1969” which was estimated at £40,000-60,000 but remained unsold. Bonhams described the work as “three lined notebook pages in Peter Green’s hand, blue ballpoint and black felt-tip pen, each page with title, a few deletions/amendments but almost completely as per the released version, the third page with notes on the instrumentation/arrangement”. The recording of the song was released in the UK in April 1969, reaching No.2 in the charts in June that year and staying in the listings for 14 weeks. Other of Green’s writings as well as some artwork were sold.
In a film published on YouTube in 2013, Green takes an interviewer to see his guitar collection, caged in a storage facility, and discusses a number of the instruments. A 2009 BBC documentary, Peter Green: Man of the World, tells Green’s story and contains clips demonstrating Green’s especially lyrical touch on the blues guitar.
Green, who died in 2020, and whose jazz connections were explored in JJ, joins a long line of rock luminaries whose instruments have fetched prices far exceeding the value of non-celebrity equivalents. The trend may have begun when Jimi Hendrix gear sold for then surprisingly high prices some 20-30 years ago.
Better-known jazz players have also featured on the London auction scene. Several years ago a sale of Charlie Parker memorabilia had British saxophonist Peter King demonstrating Parker’s plastic alto saxophone.