Eric Clapton’s personally owned and played Masterbuilt 2014 Fender Stratocaster Sunburst Solid Body Electric Guitar — auctioned solely to benefit friend and musician Johnny Nicholas of the group Asleep at the Wheel — sold for $45,000 (more than twice its pre-auction estimate) at a public sale of Vintage Guitars and Musical Instruments held by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, ArtDaily reported Wednesday, July 26.
The proceeds were intended to help Nicholas’ wife Brenda, who died recently after a long battle with leukemia just weeks before the auction. Nicholas will now use part of the money to pay remaining medical bills and make a sizable donation to Leukemia treatment research charities.
Built by Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Todd Krause, the 2014 Fender Stratocaster was designed to Clapton’s specifications. It was one of two played by Clapton at his “Slowhand at 70 Birthday Concert at Royal Albert Hall” in London, England, in May 2015. Prior to the auction, Clapton autographed the guitar’s pickguard specifically to increase its value to fans and guitar collectors. It was originally expected to sell for $20,000.
“Heritage Auctions and the Nicholas family greatly appreciate the thoughtful consideration of Mr. Clapton,” said Isaiah Evans, Consignment Director, Vintage Guitars at Heritage Auctions.
Nicholas, a member of the Grammy Award-winning American blues group Asleep at the Wheel, took a 10-year hiatus from music to raise his family with Brenda. The two owned and managed the Hill Top Café, a well-known roadside restaurant and attraction west of Austin, Texas.