Eric Clapton-gifted guitar expected to fetch over £360,000 at auction

Eric Clapton's Martin D-45
(Image credit: Julien's)

A guitar once owned and played on stage by Eric Clapton and gifted to musician Dave Edmunds is set to go under the gavel via LA-based auction house, Julien's Icons & Idols: Rock 'n' Roll with the price expected to reach in excess of £350,000.

The 1968 Martin D-45 belonged to Clapton, and can be seen being played by Clapton in many photos captured behind the scenes - as well as on stage - at Derek and the Dominos' first gig at The Lyceum Theatre on 14 June, 1970.

The guitar was later given to Edmunds - who scored a Christmas No.1 in 1970 with a cover of Smiley Lewis' I Hear You Knocking and later went on to play in Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band - by Clapton himself while Edmunds visited the guitar legend at his home in 1976. The Martin will be sold with a letter of provenance signed by Clapton, detailing that he was originally planning on giving Edmunds his Gibson J-200, but replaced it with the Martin D-45 after he misplaced his Gibson.

Clapton also used his Martin D-45 while on tour with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, with Julien's adding "It's not like you're buying a signed CD. Something like this is really iconic and people can relate to it. Something like this guitar, this is a really important guitar. It's an early guitar with lots of history."

Traditionally, Clapton's guitars have a history of fetching a high price tag at auction, with the exception of his 'Slowhand' 1954 Fender Stratocaster, which failed to receive a single bid earlier this year despite its expected $1 million starting bid.

However, Julien's specialises in the sale of rock memorabilia, securing just over £6 million for Kurt Cobain's 1959 Martin D-18E, played at Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York performance.

The Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll collection also includes David Gilmour's Vintage '57 reissue Fender Stratocaster, a Martin D-28 owned by Elvis Presley and Robert Plant's handwritten lyrics for Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. 

Bidding will take place between the 19 and 20 November, for more information visit Julien's auction page. Meanwhile, check out our guide to the best high end acoustic guitars if you're after something more affordable. 

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.