First, it was B.B King’s “Lucille” guitar that was auctioned for big money, then Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, auctioned part of his guitar collection. In October 2019, the estate of late Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker auctioned his whole guitar collection for around $2,000,000.
Now, as Reuters reports, the turn has come for another iconic guitar to go up for auction. It is the well-traveled Fender Stratocaster played by The Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia. This guitar, like B.B. King’s instrument, has a nickname, Alligator, “because of the distinctive green alligator sticker on the front.”
It got its iconic status since it is the instrument Garcia used to play on the Grateful Dead’s 1972 European tour and “other live performances between 1971-1973.” This is considered The Grateful Dead’s prime time, witnessed, among others on Europe ’72, considered by many to be one of the best live sets around.
The guitar will be auctioned on December 10, 2019, at Bonham’s Los Angeles, and is expected to fetch up to $400,000. Giles Moon, director of music memorabilia at Bonhams, told Reuters that, “it is very special because it was the first guitar that (he – Garcia) ever named. He had a reputation for naming his guitars.”
Moon added that the guitar, made in 1955, is believed to have been given to Garcia by British musician Graham Nash. “Jerry played guitar on one of his albums and as a thank you present Graham bought the guitar. Supposedly, he found it in a pawn shop in Texas and gifted it to Jerry in 1970 and then it was Jerry’s favorite guitar for about 3 years.”
The Alligator guitar is one of 70 lots up for sale from the personal collection of Garcia and so is his collection of EC Comics Crime SuspenStories from the 1950s.