There are 2.5 million new guitars sold in the United States each year and another 750,000 in the United Kingdom. But a massive (and growing) user base appreciates the craftsmanship, tone, and provenance of a vintage guitar.

It’s not surprising almost all the guitars in the top 10, by price paid at auction, have been played by some of the most famous musicians of the last century – from Eric Clapton to Paul McCartney.

Our list below has been drawn from publicly available resources online – generally auction house websites. We’ve also listed a few private sales of some particularly outstanding guitars (OK we cheated a little bit, it’s not just auctions).

1. Fender “Reach Out to Asia” Stratocaster


Reach Out to Asia Fender Stratocaster

2. 1962 Gibson J-160E (John Lennon)


1962 Gibson J-160E

3. 1968 Fender Stratocaster (Jimi Hendrix)


1968 Fender Stratocaster

4. Washburn 22-Series Hawk (Bob Marley)


Washburn 22-Series Hawk

  • Sold: ?
  • Auction house: Private sale (unconfirmed)

5. 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard (Keith Richards)


1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard

6. 1964 Fender Stratocaster (Bob Dylan)


1964 Fender Stratocaster

7. Fender ‘Blackie’ Stratocaster Hybrid (Eric Clapton)


Fender Blackie Stratocaster Hybrid

8. Doug Irwin Tiger (Jerry Garcia)


Doug Irwin Tiger

  • Sold: May 2005
  • Auction house: Guernsey’s

9. 1964 Gibson ES335 TDC (Eric Clapton)


1964 Gibson ES335 TDC

10. 1939 Martin 000-42 Acoustic (Eric Clapton)


1939 Martin 000-42 Acoustic

Other Guitars (not owned by celebrities)

Guitars once owned by celebrities will always command very high prices. But guitars produced in limited runs or holding particular significance can often exchange hands for hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars. We have a number of guitars in our database of which only 1 of that model was made.

We have 1000’s of guitars priced below $500 if your budget doesn’t stretch that far.