During a two-day auction concluding on what would have been Les Paul's 97th birthday (9 June) worldwide records were set during a white-glove auction of guitars, gear and other property from the Estate Of Les Paul auction at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills.
According to Julien's Auctions, nearly $5 million was raised to benefit the Les Paul Foundation, the charitable organization founded by the godfather of the electric guitar before his death and dedicated to music education, engineering, innovation and medical research.
Musicians, museum curators, collectors and fans all packed the auction floor in frenzied sessions of bidding on site, on the phone and online. Among the items that sold were a 1927 Gibson L-5 Cremona Sunburst guitar that sold for $87,500; a Les Paul Touring Rig, which went for $81,250; a 1968 Gibson Les Paul Recording Model prototype that fetched $180,000; Les Paul's recording console, which sold for $106,250, a 1950s white Gibson Les Paul with extensive technical notations that sold for $75,000, a custom vintage Les Paul NY license plate, which went for $10,000, the Les Paul Iridium Club Sign ($40,625); and various Les Paul guitar schematics fetched between $22,500 - $22,500.
Other highlights included a 1950s Elam 251 Telfunken microphone that sold for $28,125; a Gibson Les Paul Recording Model that nabbed $56,250; the Les Paul "paulverizer," a custom switching device created by the guitarist in 1956 that sold for $22,500; a 1951 Fender Nocaster that brought in a eyebrow-raising $216,000; and a 1940s Epiphone Zephyr, known as "Klunker #3" (with a modified headstock that says "Gibson"), which sold for $144,000.