Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Steely Dan: Walter Becker estate auction raises $3.3 million

An estate auction of music equipment owned by late Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker raised $3.3 million during an event this past weekend in Beverly Hills, CA.

According to Billboard, Julien’s Auctions hosted what they billed as “the largest assortment of guitars and amps ever sold in its 17-year history” with 600 guitars and 400 amps up for grabs by fans, collectors and fellow musicians.

One of Becker's favorite guitars to play at concerts, a green sparkly Strat-style guitar purchased from New York based guitar maker Chihoe Hahn in 2011, sold for the event’s highest bid at $68,750; other significant items included a signature 1959 Gretsch Tennessean hollow body electric guitar signed in white marker by country music legend Chet Atkins sold for $12,800 (valued at $2,000-$3,000); a 1957 Fender Duo-Sonic electric guitar seen in the liner notes of Steely Dan's 1977 hit record “Aja” sold for $57,600 (valued at $4,000- $6,000); a pedal board set up that had been used at Becker's apartment sold for $32,000 (valued at $800-$1,200); and a red Sadowsky Telecaster-style solid body electric guitar nicknamed "Josie" played by Becker in 1995 on The Late Show with David Letterman and, nightly, on his 1996 Art Crimes tour sold for $25,600 (valued at $3,000-$4,000).

The weekend event surpassed initial estimates of $1-$2 million on opening day.

"It's phenomenal," said Darren Julien, owner of Julien's Auctions. "Who else had this many guitars and this many amps? Who else had a collection like this? It's unbelievable. And he didn't just buy them because they looked great. He literally played all of them and that's what made this collection unique."

Becker died of esophageal cancer at age 67 in 2017; his partner, Donald Fagen, continues to perform under the Steely Dan banner.

Fagen is currently wrapping up a six-night residency at New York’s Beacon Theater as part of a fall US tour; he’ll begin a five-show run at the Orpheum Theater in Boston, MA on October 25.

See also:

Steely Dan add New York residency to fall US tour
Steely Dan: Walter Becker honored with New York City street naming ceremony
Steely Dan detail Walter Becker street naming ceremony
Steely Dan announces tour of the UK and Ireland
Search Steely Dan at hennemusic