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Julien’s Auctions 'Music Icons' lot, featuring Eddie Van Halen and Prince-played guitars, rakes in nearly $5 million in three days

Julien's Auctions Music Icons lot
(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

A recent online auction held by Julien’s Auctions brought in nearly $5 million in three days, after it sold a series of signed six-strings, artist-played electric guitars, unique items of music memorabilia and some rare pieces of artwork.

Chief among the artifacts sold as part of the company's ‘Music Icons’ lot was a collection of five Charvel Art Series guitars that had been stage-played and signed by the late guitar god Eddie Van Halen, which sold for a total of $210,225. 

Two black-and-yellow Bumblebee-inspired models, sold for $38,400 and $41,600, were up for grabs alongside a red-and white-Frankenstein Mark II-styled six-string, which ultimately sold for $40,625.

A reverse-colorway Charvel sold for $38,400, with the final black-and-silver striped EVH-signed Art Series guitar fetching $51,200.

As per the original line's spec sheet, each axe was hand-striped by Van Halen himself during production, and sought to reproduce the feel and tones of his most iconic guitars.

The models in question were wielded at a series of shows between 2004 and 2012, and came with extensive photographic evidence, video footage corroboration and letters of authenticity.

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Eddie Van Halen Charvel Art Series guitars

(Image credit: Julien's Auction)
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Eddie Van Halen Charvel Art Series guitars

(Image credit: Julien's Auction)
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Eddie Van Halen Charvel Art Series guitars

(Image credit: Julien's Auction)
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Eddie Van Halen Charvel Art Series guitars

(Image credit: Julien's Auction)
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Eddie Van Halen Charvel Art Series guitars

(Image credit: Julien's Auction)

Elsewhere in the six-string department, a Prince Blue Cloud guitar from 1984, which was commissioned by the pop guitar icon and built by Andy Beech, fetched a whopping six-figure sum of $281,250.

The Prince-played offering sold nearly five times its original estimate of $60,000, and sported a pickup cavity signed by Prince’s former guitar tech Zeke Clark. A Paisley Park inventory tag was also included, as was a hardcase adorned with “PRN Productions”.

Prince Cloud guitar

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

Other noteworthy guitar sales include a 1995 Fender Telecaster played and signed by Tom Petty, which sold for $37,500, and a Cort GA-MEDX OP acoustic guitar signed by Paul McCartney and Idris Elba, which brought in $22,400. 

The auction was not wholly resigned to the six-string sphere and featured an array of unique music artifacts from all corners of the music world.

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Julien's Auctions Music Icons

Cort GA-MEDX OP signed by Paul McCartney and Idris Elba (Image credit: Julien's Auctions)
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Julien's Auctions Music Icons

1995 Fender Telecaster signed by Tom Petty (Image credit: Julien's Auctions)

An Alex Van Halen-owned Ludwig drum kit, which featured during the 1980 World Invasion tour and at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, sold for a staggering $230,400.

One of the auction's biggest sellers was Kurt Cobain’s ultra-rare self-portrait caricature. Despite carrying an estimated value of $10,000, the sketch sold for an eye-watering $281,500 – over 28 times its original price.

The picture, drawn on a piece of TNT Music Centre-watermarked paper, sports a sketch of Cobain wielding a guitar, and carries the inscription, "I don't know how to play and I don't give a hoot!!"

To peruse the comprehensive catalog of pieces sold in the recent Music Icons auction, head over to Julien’s Auctions.

Kurt Cobain sketch Julien's Auctions

(Image credit: Julien's Auctions)