The ES-345 Lucille that Gibson gave to BB King on his 80th Birthday was sold at auction on Saturday 21 September – World Guitar Day – for $280,000.
The semi-hollow electric guitar was much-loved by King, who played it extensively on tour, and was sold with the gold-embossed custom hardcase included.
The Lucille was just one of many items listed by Julien's Auctions, which is currently selling a mine of BB King treasures from his estate, with signed production model guitars having been sold alongside what seems like the King of the Blues' entire wardrobe. There are ties, shoes, cufflinks and cumberbands – even his 2010 Savana G35 touring van and signature diamond ring were put under the hammer.
King's 80th birthday Lucille was, however, the pick of the lot. It's a regal guitar, and like off-pink tuxedos, it's really only the sort of thing BB King could pull off.
The ES-345's headstock alone is a work of art, with crown inlay and "BB King 80" in MOP inlay, relegating the Gibson logo to the gold-trimmed truss-plate. The rear of the headstock reads Protoype 1, as this was the first of 80 strictly limited edition models, while the pickguard has more signature crown decoration in gold. Even the pickups are monogrammed in gold.
There are no details on the buyer as yet. The BB King auction closes on 7 October at 11am California time. You can view the catalogue here.
Now, that stuff costs a lot of money, but you can check out our BB King lesson for free here.