Elvis Presley’s iconic “Sun Sessions” Martin D-18 is up for auction for a cool $1.2m

(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

We recently reported on Prince’s custom “Goldfinger” gold-leaf prototype Fender Stratocaster going up for sale, and now the same auction house, Gotta Have Rock and Roll, has announced another one-of-a-kind offering, this time for Elvis Presley’s historic 1942 Martin D-18 acoustic guitar.

The Martin is often referred to as Presley’s “Sun Sessions” guitar. He used the D-18 extensively while recording at Memphis’ Sun Studios and onstage between 1954 and 1956, and can be seen playing the acoustic in many photographs from the era.

According to Gotta Have Rock and Roll, Presley purchased the guitar at O.K. Houck’s Piano Store in Memphis, trading in his Martin 000-18. He decorated the body with adhesive metal letters spelling out his name, and the letters “ELVI" remain, with the "S" missing. There is also extensive wear visible on the guitar due to Presley’s hard strumming.

(Image credit: Gotta Have Rock and Roll)

The D-18 is currently on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and was featured in the 2019 Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The guitar comes with extensive documents of provenance, and is listed with a minimum bid of $1,200,000.

It is estimated to sell for $2,000,000 - $3,000,000.

For more information, head to Gotta Have Rock and Roll.

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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.