BB King’s ‘Lucille’ guitar auctioned for $280,000

The blues icon’s prototype Gibson 80th Anniversary Lucille fetches $280,000 at the auction this weekend.

BB King used his 80th Anniversary Lucille as his main stage guitar in his later years (Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns via Getty Images)

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Update (23 Sept): BB King’s stage played Gibson ES-345 “80” prototype Lucille guitar fetches a whopping $280,000 at the “Property From The Estate of B.B. King” auction. Check out the full auction list at Julien’s Auctions Facebook page.

One of BB King’s go-to stage guitars – a prototype version of his Gibson 80th Anniversary Lucille model – is to go up for auction in Los Angeles next year, along with a host of the late blues legend’s personal effects, most notably an old Harmony acoustic guitar signed by Les Paul. 

While many guitars bore the name ‘Lucille’ over BB’s long and illustrious career, the guitar being sold by Julien’s Auctions in September was clearly one of King’s favourites. 

The modified ES-345 was created by Gibson in 2006 to celebrate BB’s 80th birthday – just 80 were made available to the public, but this prototype was kept by the King Of The Blues, and was used as his primary stage guitar up until his death in 2015. 

This 80th Anniversary Lucille differs to a standard ES-345 thanks to a lack of F-holes (as BB preferred), a special crown-logo’d gold-edged scratchplate, custom ‘BB’ pickup covers and a headstock blinged up with pearl, including the legend ‘BB King 80’. 

As you’d expect for a guitar legend, the auction features several other lots that will be of interest to guitar fans, most notably an old Stella Harmony acoustic guitar, which was given to BB by guitar and recording innovator Les Paul, and signed with the inscription, “To BB, I hate to part with this, Les Paul”.

The instruments are part of a range of personal items going up for sale in the auction, including stage outfits, jewelry, watches, and perhaps most bizarrely, his 2010 Savana G35 touring van.

Estimates expect Lucille to fetch between $80,000-$100,000 at the auction, which takes place at Julien’s in Los Angeles on Saturday 21 September 2019. 

For more information, visit juliensauctions.com. To find out more about the history of the many guitars named Lucille, read all about its complicated history here

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