Marley’s guitar strums US$153,600 at auction

By Brian Bonitto,

A GUITAR owned by reggae king Bob Marley sold for a whopping US$153,600 at the December 1-2 Julien’s Auctions’ annual Icons and Idols Trilogy: Rock and Roll, which took place in Beverly Hills, California.

The guitar, a 1975 Ovation 1612-4 Custom Balladeer acoustic-electric, features a natural spruce top and shallow back and ebony fingerboard. It was estimated to fetch between US$80,000 and US$100,000.

It is the first time one of Marley’s guitars was part of the privately-held Julien’s Auctions, which was first held in 2003.

Marley, who died in 1981 at age 36, was a competent rhythm guitarist who favoured the Gibson brand that was popular during the 1970s.

The instrument was sold during the week Billboard magazine named Legend, his greatest hits album, the top-selling reggae album for 2020.

Released by Island Records in 1984, it is the best-selling reggae album of all time. Legend includes some of Marley’s most popular songs such as Three Little Birds, Stir It Up, and Redemption Song.

According to, the auction, which sold nearly 900 items, included instruments and memorabilia from a wide array of music icons.

Three guitars belonging to American musician Eddie Van Halen sold for more than US$422,000, while two Fender guitars smashed by rock singer Kurt Cobain sold for a combined US$281,600.

Van Halen and Cobain died October 2020 and April 1994, respectively.

A mid-1960s Hammond B-3 organ played by Gregg Allman garnered US$102,400. Allman died in 2017.

Main Photo: Bob Marley

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