10 Guitars So Expensive They’ll Make You Faint (Sold At Auction)

10 Guitars So Expensive They’ll Make You Faint (Sold At Auction) | Society Of Rock Videos

via PMTVUK / YouTube

When a famous guitar used by a legendary guitarist goes up for auction, the price can be incredibly high. Over the years, more and more rock stars have sold their beloved guitars, leading to record-breaking sums being paid at auctions.

For example, at a recent auction at Christie’s, Mark Knopfler’s guitars were sold and every piece went for much more than expected. One standout item was a 1983 Gibson Les Paul Standard that Knopfler used to create songs like “Money For Nothing” and “Brothers In Arms.” This guitar was estimated to sell for $19,000, but it ended up fetching a staggering $753,231 (£592,200). Despite this impressive sale, it didn’t make it onto the top earners list of the day. In fact, another guitar Knopfler acquired in 1999 sold for an even higher amount of $880,186.

Elvis Presley – ‘Sun Sessions’ 1942 Martin D-18 ($1,300,000)

Elvis played many guitars during his career, but one of the most special and famous ones is the Martin D-18. He used this guitar from 1954 to 1956 when he recorded songs at Sun Studios in Memphis. Some of his well-known songs like “That’s All Right (Mama)”, “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, and “Good Rockin’ Tonight” were recorded with this guitar. Surprisingly, it sold for less money than expected, reaching a price of $1.3 million instead of the estimated $3 million.

Kurt Cobain – ‘Sky Stang 1’ 1993 Fender Mustang ($1,587,500)

Kurt Cobain had many guitars, but this specific one called ‘Sky Stang 1’ was important to him. It was the main guitar he used during Nirvana’s final In Utero tour and was heavily played during their last show in Munich on March 1, 1994. The guitar was custom-ordered by Kurt from Fender Japan in 1993 because the US Custom Shop didn’t make left-handed necks at that time. After Kurt’s passing, the guitar was sold to a Japanese businessman named Mitsuru Sato in late 2023 for $1,587,500.

David Gilmour – 1954 Fender Stratocaster ($1,815,000)

David Gilmour, a member of the band Pink Floyd, owned a 1954 Fender Stratocaster guitar that sold for $1,815,000. This guitar is iconic and somewhat controversial because people initially believed it was the first Strat ever made due to its serial number. However, it turns out that it was not the first, but it is still one of the earliest prototypes.

Jerry Garcia – Wolf Guitar ($1,900,000)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jerry Garcia (@jerrygarcia)

Jerry Garcia, famously associated with the band Grateful Dead, had a unique and eccentric guitar called the Wolf. It was created by Doug Irwin and featured a body made of strong purpleheart wood with maple on the back and front. The guitar also had an innovative system for mounting the pickups, allowing Garcia to change their configuration. The Wolf was auctioned in 2017, and the proceeds were donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

John Lennon – 1962 Gibson J-160E ($2,410,000)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Beatles Fans (@beatles_fans_)

One of John Lennon’s preferred guitars was a 1962 Gibson J-160E. This guitar had volume and tone knobs that resembled an electric guitar, and its sound was amplified by a P-90 pickup. Lennon used this guitar on songs like “Love Me Do” and continued to play it throughout his career. It was sold for a whopping $2,410,000.

Reach Out to Asia – Fender Stratocaster ($2,700,000)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SesçiBaba (@sescibabacom)

This guitar holds a place of interest on the list. It is not associated with a famous artist but rather a regular Fender Stratocaster made in Mexico. However, it gained significance because it was signed by many legendary musicians including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and more. The guitar was auctioned to raise funds for the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami victims and was sold for $2,700,000.

Eddie Van Halen – Hot For Teacher Kramer ($3,932,000)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Eddie (@eddie_van_halen_)

Eddie Van Halen is known for his iconic guitar designs, but it’s rare for one of his guitars to be available for sale. This particular guitar was used by Eddie in the music video for “Hot For Teacher,” which made it highly sought after. As a result, it was sold for a high price of $3,932,000.

David Gilmour – Black Fender Stratocaster ($3,975,000)

David Gilmour’s most famous guitar is called the “Black Strat.” It was originally a Sunburst color but was refinished in black when Gilmour bought it in 1970. Over the years, he made many modifications to the guitar, including changing the necks and other parts. Despite these changes, the Black Strat is still considered Gilmour’s most iconic instrument. It was sold as part of the Jim Irsay Collection for $3,975,000.

Kurt Cobain – Smells Like Teen Spirit Fender Mustang ($4,550,000)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Atom (@grungerock94)

In the music video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Kurt Cobain played a left-handed Lake Placid Blue Mustang guitar with a competition stripe. This guitar gained immense popularity due to the video’s impact on pop culture. Although it wasn’t one of Kurt’s personal favorites, its significance in rock history led to its sale for a whopping $4,550,000 as part of the Jim Irsay Collection.

Kurt Cobain – Martin D-18E ($6,010,000)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rivington Guitars (@rivingtonguitars)

One of Kurt Cobain’s most iconic guitar moments was his performance on MTV Unplugged. For that performance, he used a Martin D-18E guitar that he had purchased in 1992. This guitar originally came with DeArmond pickups, but Kurt didn’t like the sound and had it modified. After Kurt’s passing, the guitar ended up with his daughter and eventually was sold to Peter Freedman, founder of RØDE Microphones, in 2020. It holds the record for the highest sale price among Kurt Cobain’s guitars, reaching $6,010,000.

Don’t Miss Out! Sign up for the Latest Updates

Premium Partners

Society of Rock partner World War Wings
Society of Rock partner Daily Rock Box
Society of Rock partner Country Music Nation
Society of Rock partner Country Rebel
Society of Rock partner I Love Classic Rock
Society of Rock partner Rock Pasta

Interested in becoming a partner?

Contact us for more info.