Reuters reports that California-based collector Hank Risan is putting 265 of his 700 guitars on sale in the biggest such auction in recent years.

Up for sale are electric and acoustic guitars from the 1890s to the 1950s, a period many collectors see as a golden era of guitar making.

Standouts from Guernsey’s Artistry of the Guitar auction are a 1959 Gibson J-200 previously owned by Eric Clapton, and a 1941 Gibson SJ-200 once owned by Stephen Stills. Each is expected/hoped to fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of the many Gibsons are vintage Super 400s, SJ-200s, L-5s, Nick Lucas models and a one-of-a-kind Super 400 Flattop.

“This is the first time in six years, basically, that there has been this sort of opportunity to see whether there has been a recovery (in the vintage market),” says Peter Szego, a collector and former architect who has edited a history book on American guitars.

Vintage Guitar Magazine recently estimated that up to 30 percent of values had fallen in the vintage market. This huge auction will test that. Risan’s collection is not all celebrity-owned, most are just older guitars.


Risan is the CEO of intellectual property protection company Media Rights Technologies in Santa Cruz. He started collecting guitars as a young adult in the 1970s. He planned, at one point, to open a museum to house them but says that project was too time consuming. As the collection became hard to manage, the 59-year-old Risan has now chosen to auction just some of his guitars off.

Flex your credit cards for the April 2-3 auction in New York at Guernsey’s. We’ll report back with the selling prices.