Bonham’s Clapton Auction Takes It To The Limit

March 15th, 2011

by Tom Beaujour

Now let me start out by saying that I am not a miser. We’ve all gotten the bug once or twice in our lives and paid too much for something because we absolutely had to have it—and were afraid that if we let it slip away, our lives would be forever incomplete due to the absence of an object that was once within our grasp.

I also fully comprehend that the ultimate goal of a charity auction like last week’s Eric Clapton Sale of Guitar and Amps In Aid of the Crossroads Center hosted by the auction house Bonham’s is to raise money for a good cause, and that therefore, the more you bid, the more you give.

Still, I can’t get over the fact that at last week’s, a Danelectro Honeytone HT50 amp fetched no less than $4,880 dollars. Now these little Danelectros are cool practice amps, and for the money, they’re quite a good buy. Of course, when I say “for the money” I mean 100 bucks. At just shy of 5 grand… not so much

But again, I know I’m missing the point. The success of the auction was a testament to the massive impact that Clapton’s artistry on so many music lovers. I can’t think of another guitarist who could multiply the value of something 50 fold by having it collect dust in a storage unit for a decade… or for that matter of an artist who puts the irrational fervor of his most wealthy fans to better use.

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  1. Posted by Jack Hofna on March 18th, 2011, 12:18 [Reply]

    As you suggest, all of this defies rational thought. Who would pay $5000 for something used that you could buy for $50 down the street? This NY Times article on the Bonham auction suggests there’s another psychology working here — with some folks willing to pay whatever they must to get as close to the star they adore as they can. So if that used amp was used by Eric, well then for $5000 you too can have something touched by the hand of the great one! Here’s the NYT link:


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