Eric Clapton’s Guitar Auction Raises $5 Million For Drug Treatment Center

A charity auction of 100 vintage guitars used by Eric Clapton brought in more than $5 million in bids yesterday at Christie’s International auction house in New York City.

The guitar on which Clapton wrote “Layla,” a 1956 Fender Stratocaster dubbed “Brownie,” sold for a record $497,000 to an anonymous phone bidder, according to “The New York Post.” That amount easily shattered the previous guitar auction record of $320,000 for an instrument that Jimi Hendrix used at the original Woodstock Peace and Music Festival in 1969.

Several other instruments fetched six-figure sums, including a 1954 Fender Stratocaster that went for $211,000, and a 1974 Martin 000-28 sold for $173,000. It wasn’t known, however, if Clapton snatched up one of the instruments he regretted putting up for auction, a 1930 Gibson L-4 that was bought for less than $60,000 by another anonymous phone bidder.

Clapton did not attend Thursday’s auction, but thanked those for participating in a statement released
by Christie’s. “Thank you on behalf of all the patients who will get free treatment as a result of this sale,” Clapton wrote.

The proceeds of the 100-guitar auction were to be donated to the Clapton’s Crossroads Center drug rehabilitation facility in Antigua. On June 30, Clapton will stage a benefit show for the Crossroads Center at Madison Square Garden in New York City, where he’s scheduled to be joined by Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige and D’Angelo.