Two electric guitars played by Eddie Van Halen are headed for auction. The late guitar legend’s custom axes will headline a new music-oriented auction being held by Julien’s. Other items up for bidding include a Kurt Cobain concert-smashed Fender Stratocaster, a David Bowie manuscript, and more.
The two Van Halen guitars resemble his iconic Frankenstrat. Like the original, they were assembled and decorated by Van Halen himself, as seen in the above image supplied by Julien’s.
The first guitar is the 2004 EVH Charvel Art Series, touting a maple neck and fingerboard with a Strat-style headstock. Its black & white body is signed by Eddie Van Halen and initialed “VH 04” alongside an inscription in his own hand that reads, “San Antonio Texas / 9-28-04”, signifying the show at which he played the guitar. The EVH humbucker pickup shows evidence of a cigarette burn.
The second guitar was a collaboration between Van Halen and his guitar tech Matt Bruck. Its red design and stripes are in obvious homage to the original Frankenstrat. Eddie Van Halen gifted the guitar to close friend Bryan Cash in 1991 after playing the axe at the latter’s Cash’s Centenary Oyster House in Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s inscribed: “Yo – / Bryan / Let’s get / shucked / up / Eddie Van Halen / 5150”.
Van Halen only custom-crafted a few guitars, so it’s no surprise that Julien’s estimates for each instrument are $40,000 to $80,000. As for the original Frankenstrat, the guitar and rig was most recently displayed in an April 2019 exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
“As we were preparing for our annual Icons & Idols: Rock and Roll auction lineup, we were stunned to hear the sad news of Eddie Van Halen’s passing,” Julien’s Auctions President Darren Julien said in a press release. “We are honored to include at this event two iconic guitars from his brilliant and blazing career as one of rock’s greatest and most gifted guitar heroes.”
The auction lineup is stacked with other rock and roll treasures. Another guitar piece comes in the form of a Fender Stratocaster Kurt Cobain smashed onstage during a Nirvana show in February 1994. Cobain gifted the guitar to an audience member following the set at the Palais Omnisport de Rennes in Rennes, France. Now, the guitar is estimated to fetch $60-80k.
Other notable items include a white nylon right-hand glove worn by Michael Jackson on the “Victory” tour; a jacket worn by Lady Gaga; an Aerosmith 1993 MTV Video Music Award statue; David Bowie’s “US Tour IV” manuscript from his 1974 tour; a vintage cocktail dress worn by Madonna in 1987; and Elvis Presley’s black cotton macrame Zodiac signs belt. More are to be announced.
The “Icons & Idols: Rock and Roll” auction will be held (online and in-person) from December 4th through 6th. For more information and registration, visit Julien’s website.
Check out close-ups of the Eddie Van Halen guitars below. If the auction price is a bit too steep, and you’re looking to buy a “Frankie” style Eddie Van Halen guitar at a more affordable cost, click here.