EST: $30,000 - $50,840
LOT 33 CHRISTIE’S 2004
Body: Rosewood back and sides, cedar top, decorative back stripe with heart inlays, inlaid heart motif on top’s lower bout, natural finish
Neck: Seven-ply laminated maple and walnut, 18 frets, bound ebony fingerboard with silver heart inlays, silver nut
Headstock: Three silver four-leaf clover inlays, silver heart-shaped truss rod cover engraved ‘Eric Clapton’
Bridge: Ebony pin bridge with silver four-leaf clover inlays, silver engraved bridge pins and saddle
Soundhole: Heart-shaped with purple heart amaranth heart inlays, ebony edging
Label: ‘Engraving D. O’Brien/Zemaitis/Hand-Made Guitars/Commissioned & Co. Designed/By/Eric Clapton esq/London/1969’, signed and dated by maker ‘Antonius Casimere Zemaitis 1969’. Label is heart-shaped and made from hand-illuminated parchment
Case: Anvil hardshell case with adhesive tape inscribed ‘Auction #54/Zemaitis ‘Ivan’ 12 St.’
ERIC: "I finally got to meet Tony Zemaitis in the mid-Sixties. I asked him to make a 12-string for me, bigger than he’d ever done before and inlaid with silver. I wanted it to be incredibly ornate. I wanted to explore everything we could. The heart shape and the four-leaf clover on the headstock were my ideas.
"So he made this guitar, it probably took about a year, and it was massive. It’s reputed to be the biggest 12-string in the world. It’s about the same dimensions as a mariachi bass. Tony really did a beautiful job. I used it with Blind Faith and I did some other material with it.
"I was involved in a very, very stormy relationship at the time. During one of our big rows, I took the guitar and I demolished it. I took it by the neck and I banged it against the wall until there was nothing left. Then about five years later – I still had the neck – I took it back to Tony and said, ‘I’ve got to tell you a terrible story, forgive me I can’t bear to be without it,’ and I apologised and made all the excuses I could think of. He was shocked, but he understood, so he built another body onto the neck. So this is Mark 2 – the first one was destroyed, but the neck is original."