A Valencia acoustic guitar, concert-played and autographed by Johnny Cash, and other members of The Highwaymen super group, recently sold at auction in Beverly Hills, USA, for an astounding US$57,600!
The guitar, which Johnny purchased in Melbourne for AUD$199 (US$150), was signed by himself, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson (The Highwaymen) at a concert in Brisbane, Australia on 15th May, 1991.
It was then sold at a charity auction held in Australian town; Stanthorpe on 29th May, 1991 for AUD$1,200 (US$925).
The guitar was displayed for a number of years in a small, outback hotel in Winton, Queensland where, in 1998, the signature of Australian country music legend, Slim Dusty, was added to it.
In 2007, the guitar was sent to Christie’s Auctions in London where it was sold for GBP £ 9,600 (US$13,275). It is purported to have been purchased by a Las Vegas based guitar collector and displayed in a guitar museum in Las Vegas, Nevada for a number of years after the Christie’s auction.
On June 19th, 2020, the guitar was again offered for auction at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, California where the hammer finally fell on an amazing bid of US$57,600.
Amongst the more than 800 lots offered by Julien’s on the two days of the Music Icons Auction, Some notable items sold include Kurt Cobain’s “MTV Unplugged” guitar that sold for US$6,010,000.00, Prince’s guitar for US$563,500.00, a Rolling Stones guitar for US$156,250.00, an Elvis Presley stage-worn belt for US$298,000.00, and a cravat worn by Beatle, John Lennon for US$16,000. That humble Valencia guitar all the way from Melbourne, Australia was amongst some very esteemed company indeed.
Christie’s Auction Book Notes:
Johnny Cash A Valencia acoustic guitar, labelled inside Valencia….Made Expressly For Australian Music Supplies…Model J210AT, in natural finish, 20 fret fingerboard with dot inlays, wooden pin bridge and black pickguard, signed on the body in black felt pen by Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Slim Dusty; and a black hardshell contour case with red plush lining; accompanied by four colour photographs of Johnny Cash on stage playing this guitar with June Carter Cash and their son, John Junior Cash, at a charity concert in Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia, 29th May, 1991 and two photographs of Johnny Cash with the vendor holding the guitar; and an airline luggage label Ansett Australia, filled out in an unknown hand with Johnny Cash’s name and address
This guitar was purchased by the vendor at a charity auction following the performance by the Cash family in Stanthorpe, on 29th May, 1991. Prior to that, the guitar had been signed by The Highwaymen at a previous concert in Brisbane on 15th May. The Slim Dusty signature was acquired in 1998 when he stayed at the vendor’s motel in Winton, Queensland, during a tour of the region.
The label inside the guitar would indicate that this guitar was ordered specifically for Cash’s tour of Australia with the intention of then donating it to a charity auction.
Footnote to the above point:
All Valencia Guitars manufactured between 1984 and 1998 (including Acoustic Guitars) were all labelled “Made Expressly (or Exclusively) for Australasian Music Supplies”. From 1999 Valencia began worldwide distribution, so the reference to Australasian Music Supplies was removed from the soundhole label.
Founder and President of Australasian Music Supplies, Kevin Hague commented” we have no record of Johnny Cash or his management approaching us to supply him with this guitar and, as such, it was purchased from a Melbourne music shop as stated. In 1980 we decided that Valencia would return to being exclusively a Classical Guitar brand and our last shipment of J210 Acoustic Guitars arrived into Australia in October 1990, so this signed guitar would be from the last batch of Valencia Acoustic Guitars manufactured for us”.