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Les Paul's Guitars and Memorabilia Fetch $5 Million at Auction

Over the weekend, an auction of guitars and memorabilia owned by the late Les Paul raised nearly $5 million for the Les Paul Foundation.

The foundation, which was established by Paul, supports music education, engineering, innovation and medical research.

The "Property From The Estate of Les Paul" auction, which took place at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, California, on Friday and Saturday, included equipment, memorabilia and instruments that spanned Paul’s career from his days as Rhubarb Red to his Monday-night shows at Iridium Jazz Club in New York City.

Julien’s Auctions said on Sunday that the auction fetched record-setting prices for guitars. A 1951 Fender No-Caster sold for $216,000; a 1982 Gibson Les Paul prototype recording model went for $180,000; a 1940s Epiphone Zephyr fetched $144,000.

Research notes, a sign for the Iridium and a custom license plate were among other items sold.

Paul and his wife Mary Ford enjoyed a string of hits in the 1940s and 1950s that included "Mockin' Bird Hill" and "How High the Moon." He was best known in the music community as an inventor of guitars and a pioneer of recording techniques. He died in 2009 at 94 from complications of pneumonia.

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Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.