Authenticity has been in dispute
The sunburst Fender Stratocaster reputed to be the one Bob Dylan used to go electric at the Newport Folk Festival can be yours — if you have about half a million dollars.
Dylan drew derision but changed American music forever when he switched from acoustic folk to plugged-in rock ‘n’ roll at the 1965 festival. The guitar purported to be the one he played is expected to fetch up to $500,000 at a Dec. 6 auction.
Christie’s, the auction house, is also offering handwritten and typed lyric fragments found inside the guitar’s case. The early versions of some of Dylan’s songs have a pre-sale estimate ranging from $3,000 to $30,000.
The guitar has been in the possession of a New Jersey family for nearly 50 years. The owner, Vic Quinto, was a pilot who worked for Dylan’s manager and said Dylan left the guitar on his plane sometime after the festival. Quinto died in 1977.
“According to his family, Mr. Quinto contacted Dylan’s representatives upon finding the guitar case in an attempt to return it, but received no response,” Christie’s said.
Last year, PBS’s “History Detectives” called in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame consultant Andy Babiuk and Dylan memorabilia expert Jeff Gold to authenticate the guitar. Both were certain it was the one.
But Dylan’s lawyer, Orin Snyder, said before the episode aired that the singer still had the guitar.
“He did own several other Stratocaster guitars that were stolen from him around that time, as were some handwritten lyrics,” Snyder told The Associated Press at the time. “In addition, Bob recalls driving to the Newport Folk Festival, along with two of his friends, not flying.”
Snyder did not immediately return a call for comment from TheWrap on Tuesday.
Dylan and Quinto’s daughter, Dawn Peterson, recently settled a legal dispute over the guitar and lyrics. The terms were not disclosed, but allow Peterson to sell them, according to Rolling Stone.
“One term of the agreement that I obviously can disclose is that Mr. Dylan will participate in the sale to the extent that he will be signing off on any ownership interest after the sale,” Peterson’s attorney, Christopher DeFalco, told the magazine. “The person who buys it will receive a bill of sale that will be signed both by the Petersons and Mr. Dylan or his representatives.”