When you’re rich, you can buy what you want. And Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, has done just that.
At a Christie’s auction for guitars and other memorabilia owned by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, Irsay spent over $5 million total, and nearly $4 million was spent on a single guitar. According to the Indianapolis Star, Irsay spent $3.975 million on a 1969 black Fender Stratocaster known as “The Black Strat.” And if a guitar has a nickname, you know it’s special (and also very expensive).
“The Black Strat” is a special guitar. Gilmour used it to record some of Pink Floyd’s greatest music. He played it on “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Animals,” and “The Wall.” According to the Indy Star, the pre-auction estimate for the guitar was between $100,000 and $150,000, and the final bid obviously shattered those expectations. In fact, $3.975 million shatters the record for guitars bought at auction. The previous record was $2.7 million, held by a guitar signed by the Rolling Stones and sold to benefit Asian tsunami relief.
In addition to “The Black Strat,” Irsay bought the carrying case for the guitar for $175,000, and a 1969 Martin D-35 acoustic guitar for $1.095 million. All belonged to Gilmour. The acoustic guitar was played on “Wish You Were Here.”
Spending over $5 million on used guitars is something that’s reserved for the well-off, but it was for a good cause. Gilmour auctioned off over 120 of his guitars and amps to benefit ClientEarth, an environmental law organization that fights climate change. In a video posted on ClientEarth’s website, Gilmour explains why he wanted to donate the proceeds of this auction to their organization.
“The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible. I hope that the sale of these guitars will help ClientEarth in their cause to use the law to bring about real change. We need a civilized world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung.”
Irsay tweeted about the guitar he bought on Thursday night, delighted about the opportunity to display it to the public and about the record-shattering price.
The incomparable David Gilmour.. the greatest “phrasing” guitarist in the world!! Honored to bring The Black Strat to the public. The most expensive guitar EVER purchased. And for charity!!!
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) June 20, 2019
Irsay collects classic and famous guitars. He already owns guitars that belonged to John Lennon and Prince. Several from his collection are currently on display at an exhibition of Rock & Roll memorabilia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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