3 Eddie Van Halen guitars sell for $422,000 at auction

Eddie Van Halen auction
(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

Back in October, we reported on two Eddie Van Halen electric guitars – an EVH Charvel Art Series electric and a red-black-white Kramer built by Ed himself – that were expected to fetch between $40,000 and $80,000 each at Julien’s Icons & Idols Trilogy: Rock ‘n’ Roll auction.

That auction took place on December 1 and 2 in Beverly Hills and online, with the guitars selling, respectively, for $140,800 and $231,250.

The customized Kramer was top selling item of the event. Built by Van Halen with his guitar tech Matt Bruck at the guitarist's 5150 home studio, it was gifted to Van Halen's friend Bryan Cush, the owner of Cush's Centenary Oyster House in Shreveport, LA in 1991.

It is inscribed 'Yo - / Bryan / Let's get / shucked / up / Eddie Van Halen / 5150' and was displayed at the bar where it was played by Van Halen when he visited. The guitar also included a white Van Halen guitar pick and 2 backstage passes, one labelled Bertinelli Guest.

Eddie Van Halen

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

The 2004 EVH Charvel Art Series, meanwhile, features a Strat-style headstock numbered on the back #54, has the white and black abstract design in the style of Ed’s 1978 Van Halen guitar and is signed Eddie Van Halen, initialed VH 04 and is inscribed in Van Halen's hand San Antonio Texas / 9-28-04.

The guitar also features an EVH humbucking pickup with evidence of a cigarette burn to the front.

And there was more EVH news at the auction: A scaled-down, non-playing version of an a red, black and white striped prop guitar, used by child actor Bryan Hitchcock while playing a young EVH in the Hot For Teacher music video, sold for $50,000.

The guitar was accompanied by Hitchcock's 'Young Eddie' three-piece outfit from the video (white T-shirt with "No Bozos" graphic print to the front; a pair of "Sergio Valente" torn jeans and an "Oleg Cassini" denim vest) as well as production documents including a script, three call sheets from the video shoot, a large color photograph of Hitchcock and Eddie Van Halen posing with their guitars at the shoot and more.

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One person who was less than thrilled with the auction was Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, who took issue with how the instruments were characterized.

“The headline should read: Three guitars that are striped were sold at an auction for charity,” he wrote on Twitter. “They weren’t stage guitars. I had nothing to do with this. I don’t EVER plan on selling any of my father’s iconic guitars. The only place they’d possibly belong in is a museum.”

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.