Andrew writes for Guitar World, Metal Edge, Rock Candy Magazine, and many other fine music publications in print and digital.

By Andrew Daly

Heritage Auctions has long been a haven for all things grand and glorious—especially if you’re the sort who loves to accumulate fetishized musical treasures. To that end, the esteemed leaders in all things auctioneering are at it again with their current auction ending on August 11th, this time with a grouping of more than a few of the most hallowed six-strings on the market today.

The first is the 1997 Greg Rich Limited Edition Roy Rogers “King of the Cowboys” acoustic. The curio is said to be a prototype, which was initially brought to the market via Dream Guitars and Apparel Inc. Though listed as a ’97 model, in reality, the ornate and gorgeously hand-painted guitar was introduced in March of ’98 at the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum.

As the story goes, the “King of the Cowboys” was introduced alongside the 1998 Dale Evans “Queen of the West,” both of which were built by Greg Rich and Mark Taylor. Rich is known for his work with Gibson and is well-known for his flair and moxy. The “King of the Cowboys” and “Queen of the West” blend sublime craftsmanship and flash, leaving us with shimmering sights to behold.

But what’s even more astonishing—and this is considering the granular detail inherent in these utter works of art—is they’re highly playable to boot. Both guitars feature jumbo-style bodies, and hand-selected maple sides and backs, with a spruce top and forward X bracing.

Of course, the 24k gold hardware and sparkle binding on the bodies, fingerboards, and headstocks aren’t too shabby, either. But remember—these guitars are rare, meaning that only six Roy Rogers and one Dale Evans model were produced. And so, with starting bids of $10,000 and a buyer’s premium of $12,500, to be sure, if you want to own either of these pristine pieces of history, it’ll cost you.

Next on Heritage’s docket is something oh-so-sweet but perhaps a bit more affordable: a Sunburst Fender Stratocaster, which features a backstage pass signed by Stevie Ray Vaughn adhered to the lower portion of the body near the bridge.

This one isn’t nearly as expensive as the “King of the Cowboys” or the “Queen of the West,” with a current bid of $575 and a buyer’s premium of $718.75. Not too shabby for a piece of six-string history, right? But, of course, while unique, this axe is but a humble paster-caster, meaning it’s not a guitar that came straight from the factory. But still, it comes with a gigbag and would make an excellent piece for display in one’s collection.

And while we’re on the subject of Strats, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Heritage’s other piece of Vaughan Brothers-related memorabilia up for grabs: a white 1989 Fender Stratocaster signed by both Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, which, without a doubt, sounds undoubtedly tasty.

The 34-year-old antiquity is clean as a whistle and all original. But, of course, the best part is the stunning signatures lovingly scrawled across its alder top, with Jimmie’s being above the scratch plate and Stevie’s—in all its glory—boldly residing under the bridge and tremolo system. Additionally, the guitar comes with its factory-issue hard case and plays wonderfully.

Unlike its parts-caster counterpart, this dyed-in-the-wool Fender job will cost you a touch more. But if your wallet can take the hit, to be sure, a $3000 starting bid and $3,750 buyer’s premium aren’t too much to pay for a piece of Stevie Ray Vaughan-related history that surely will be a crown jewel within your collection.

Moving on to the penultimate piece of the collection, aka “The Star of the Show,” we’ve got a ’66 Fender Jaguar in gorgeous sunburst. And that’s nice, but what’s so special about it? Oh, that’s right—this particular Jag was signed by Kurt Cobain. Huzzah!

As we know, Cobain was apt to smash his poor and unassuming guitars on a whim, which is fine as it made for some truly memorable, if not hyper-emotive, moments. And so, it’s not lost on us that this ’66 Jag survived the proverbial wars it was put through via the quivering hands of Nirvana’s titular frontman.

Survival aside, this Jag is unique because it’s not only signed by Cobain, but he somehow managed to misspell his own name: “To the/Guitar Hal/o fame/Kurdt Kobain/Nirvana.” Surely, this was intentional, given the fallen vocalist’s laconic sense of humor. And no to worry—the signature has been authenticated by PSA and Roger Epperson. The COAs are included, as is a photo of Cobain holding the guitar and a gigbag.

Interested in owning this bit of grunge-related history? Better get your finances in order, as the current bid rests at $50,000, and the buyer’s premium is a hearty $62,500. But while it’s expensive, there are few instances where one can grab a piece of Cobain’s hallowed history. And so, if you’ve got the means, and pilgrimages down the halls of the house of grunge are your bag—grab this Jag before it’s gone.

Last but certainly not least is what we’d wager is probably the most gorgeous guitar in this auction: a 1968 Fender Telecaster. But not just any Tele; no, this is a prototype Rosewood Tele once owned by Elvis Presley.

Of course, George Harrison made the Rosewood Tele famous in the late-60s uptop Abbey Road studios. And you might even recall that Steve Cropper brandished one, too. But, six proto-type Rosewood Telecasters were made, and one of them went to Presley, aka “The King.” Sadly, Presley only used the Tele for a few months, as he was more apt to use acoustic and semi-hollowbody guitars, sending his Rosewood Tele back to Fender.

Thankfully, Presley’s Rosewood Tele has endured and is clean, original, and ready for its new home. In accordance with its proto-type status, there is no neck or body date. But there is a yellow “0” written on the neck. Moreover, the guitar is gorgeously preserved, with the pots and electronics all check in as original and date back to early ’64.

Want to own this pretty piece of Elvis memorabilia? The ’68 Rosewood Tele and its original Fender hardshell case are currently sporting a $75,000 starting bid and a buyer’s premium of $93,750. Wallet-bruising, to be sure, but when it comes to the legend of the Rosewood Tele, there’s a genuine argument to be made that this guitar, and its five oh-so-rare brothers and sisters like it, are utterly priceless pieces of ’60s guitar-related history.

Bidding ends on August 11th.

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