Eric Clapton guitar

Eric Clapton’s 1974 000-28 Martin acoustic guitar, estimate £300,000-400,000 at Bonhams.

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Eric Clapton’s 1974 000-28 Martin acoustic guitar is to go on sale at Bonhams on June 12 with an estimate of £300,000-400,000.

Used as Clapton’s primary guitar in the 1970s and the one from which he wrote the song Wonderful Tonight, he parted ways with it at a 1999 charitable auction and it has remained in the current owner’s possession since.

The guitar features a sticker on one side reading 'She’s in Love with a Rodeo Man' – a reference to songwriter Don Williams – and cigarette burns on the headstock resulting from cigarettes being lodged under the strings.

Eric Clapton guitar

The guitar at Bonhams has a 'She’s in Love with a Rodeo Man' sticker, a reference to the songwriter Don Williams.

“This guitar is a one-of-a-kind collectable of immense cultural significance,” said Claire Tole-Moir, head of Bonhams’ popular culture department. “Written in 1976 by Clapton while waiting for his then-girlfriend (and future wife) Pattie Boyd to get ready for a night out, the song Wonderful Tonight is an ageless anthem.”

The song symbolised the romantic rivalry between Clapton and George Harrison, who was married to Boyd at the time of Wonderful Tonight was being written.

Boyd’s collection of letters and photographs shedding a light on the love triangle sold for £2.8m at Christie’s on March 23. The former fashion model divorced Harrison in 1977 and married Clapton in 1979.

The lot follows a string of guitar sales at auction. In November 2023, a 1964 Gibson SG electric guitar played by Clapton while he was in the band Cream sold for over $1.2m (£1m), which the auction house claimed at the time was the most expensive Clapton guitar ever sold at auction.

In February, Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler’s guitar collection struck a chord at auction, selling for just over £7m at Christie’s, while John Lennon’s long-lost acoustic guitar used in the recording for Help! goes under the hammer in New York on May 29-30.

Clapton's guitar will be part of Bonhams’ Rock, Pop & Film sale.