Guitar played by gypsy jazz legend Django Reinhardt in his most iconic photograph fails to sell at auction

Despite the guitar having eight bids, the auction closed with no buyer.


Image: William Gottlieb/Redferns

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A guitar played by gypsy jazz legend Django Reinhardt in his most iconic photograph has failed to sell at auction.

The archtop acoustic Levin De Luxe guitar that was pictured in the photo failed to sell at an auction last week, with no bidder reaching the minimum amount.

The auction took place at London’s PropStore Auction on Friday (10 November), and despite reaching eight bids, closed with no buyer.

According to the listing, the guitar was owned by Duke Ellington’s guitarist, Fred Guy, who bought the six-string from Waidele Musik while visiting Goteborg Sweden with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in April of 1939. It wasn’t until 1946 when William Gottlieb famously photographed Guy and Reinhardt each playing the Levin at the Aquarium jazz club in New York City.

This Levin De Luxe guitar, built around 1938, features a sunburst-finish spruce top with two f-holes and a faux tortoise shell pickguard, a flame maple back and sides, faux mother-of-pearl fret markers, and brass-colour metal hardware.

Also included are two finger picks, one thumb pick, one standard guitar pick, six additional antique strings with some string segments, one brown leather strap, and the guitar’s original black leather hard shell guitar case with a red plush interior.

The estimated price for the guitar was £70,000 – £140,000, however as no one bid more than £65,000 the lot has been closed and the guitar remains unsold.

It is unknown as to whether the guitar will be showcased in another auction. However considering the axe’s rich history, it will probably be under the hammer again soon.

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