Dylan's electric guitar from Newport up for sale
Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival
NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Dylan's sunburst Fender Stratocaster made rock history when he played it at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Now it is again set to make news when it goes on the auction block, where it could sell for half a million dollars.
The festival was a defining moment that marked Dylan's move from acoustic folk to electric rock 'n' roll.
Now viewed as a moment that irrevocably changed American music, Dylan's three-song electric set at the Rhode Island festival was met by boos from folk purists who viewed him as a traitor. He returned for an acoustic encore with "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue."
The presale estimate by Christie's auction house for the guitar, which is being sold Friday with its original black leather strap and Fender hard shell case, is $300,000 to $500,000. The current record for a guitar sold at auction is Eric Clapton's Fender, nicknamed "Blackie," which sold at Christie's for $959,500 in 2004.
Christie's also is selling five lots of hand- and typewritten lyric fragments found inside the guitar case — early versions of some of Dylan's famous songs. They have a presale estimate ranging from $3,000 to $30,000.
The lyrics for sale include "In the Darkness of Your Room," an early draft of "Absolutely Sweet Marie" from Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" album, and three songs from the record's 1965 recording session that weren't released until the 1980s: "Medicine Sunday" (the draft is titled "Midnight Train"), "Jet Pilot" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover."
With a classic sunburst finish and original flat-wound strings, Dylan's guitar has been in the possession of a New Jersey family for nearly 50 years. Dylan left it on a private plane piloted by the owner's late father, Vic Quinto, who worked for the musician's manager.
In this undated photo provided by Christie's Auction House, the Fender Stratocaster a young Bob Dylan played at the historic 1965 Newport Folk Festival is shown. The festival was a defining moment that marked Dylan's move from acoustic folk to electric rock 'n' roll. The guitar can bring as much as $500 thousand when it goes up on the block at Christie’s on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Christie's Auction House, File)
His daughter, Dawn Peterson, of Morris County, N.J., has said that her father asked the management company what to do with the guitar but nobody ever got back to him.
Last year, she took it to the PBS show "History Detectives" to try to have it authenticated. The program enlisted the expertise of Andy Babiuk, a consultant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and owner of an upstate New York vintage instrument shop, and Jeff Gold, a Dylan memorabilia expert. Both men, who appeared on the episode, unequivocally declared the artifacts belonged to Dylan.