value of famous players gear ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pfschim, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    inspired by this ...
    Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman’s colossal Steel Wheels bass amp rig goes up for auction | Guitar World

    I thought I would ask about the valuation of famous players gear. I have no interest whats-so-ever in this kind of stuff, but it's interesting (and kind of entertaining) that (in the Bill Wyman example above) the auction house has appraised what amounts to $2-3k, $4k at most, of gear at current used prices at $2m US (!). It's all for a good cause, so I suppose it hardly matters but still.

    I get that Bill is a famous guy .. even though he has not been part of the band that made him famous for close to 30 years (departed in 1993), so he's been gone almost as long as he was actually in the band ('62 - '93). But still, I get he's a bass icon and all that.

    Does anyone have any solid info on what other famous players gear has sold for, and who might possibly pay such an astounding premium just to have that stuff ?
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  2. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    ... I have a 62' precision I bought in Detroit with the word "funk" carved into neck heel.....

    Any takers?? :rollno:
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It's interesting that the auction estimate is 200K, but the 'appraisal' is 2m. Possibly because the person who donates gets a tax break based on the appraisal value rather than the sale price. That's not an unusual scam.

    Judging by the auctions of Pink Floyd and Steely Dan equipment in the last few years, people will pay crazy amounts for guitars that are documented as being used to record the solos on a big album or used extensively on stage. Like a player's #1 or #2 that they were associated with for decades. But amps and basses? You can look at the Reverb stores bands have been doing recently to clean out their storage units. They don't go for all that much more than they would if not owned by a famous person. Maybe double or triple.

    A stage-only rig used for one tour by a bass player? If not for the charity aspect it wouldn't go for much. Even still I'll be shocked if it gets half the auction estimate. What would someone do with it? A lawyer with a ton of money can buy a Clapton owned guitar and hang it on the wall. Takes up very little space in the house of someone who can throw $100k+ at a charity auction. But three 90's bass cabs and two heads? What do you do with that?
  4. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    The only amp I own with any sort of provenance is my Epifani UL902C. It was listed as Alphonso Johnson's amp on Ebay, and sold for $450. Only one person bid on it because it was marked local pickup only. A short time later it popped up on Ebay again. I eventually paid about $950 including shipping. I think I let the listing expire at least once as the original reserve was more than I was willing to pay.

    The guy who sold it to me said he met Alphonso at some parking lot to pick up the amp and a pair of Epifani speakers.

    I had been looking for a UL902C for a couple of months, and I believe the price I paid was fair market at the time, considering shipping would have been around $100 or so. The amp came with the footswitch and was pretty much mint. The guy who flipped it made a nice little profit.

    There was another rig with a bit of provenance I should have bought, but I had pretty much stopped collecting when it was available. The amp in question was Noel Reddings "Fat Mattress" Ormat rig which included an Orange OR200 head and an OR200 slave.
    I believe these eventually sold for $4,500 plus $300 shipping which is way below what they are worth IMHO. The OR200 head alone should have pulled more.

    I sort of regret not pulling the trigger, but at least a Talkbass member who really appreciates fine amps gave them a good home. Matamp heads
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    :laugh: they replenish every minute.
    lomo likes this.
  6. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    Wealthy people with more money than they know what to do with often buy these things at auction. A charity is a good cause but buying equipment like this is no more than bragging rights for the owner. Less people seem to be impressed by this these days.

    Many years ago when the world opened up because of the internet, the values of some instruments went through the roof. Buyers in Japan helped fuel that. I’ve seen doctors, bankers, and lawyers who didn’t even play buying instruments as an investment. It would sit in storage. The bottom has fallen out of that market. It will never return to what it was.

    Musicians can buy spectacular new gear these days. There is no real need to resort to the vintage market.
    Justinian, lomo and johnpbass like this.
  7. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    I think it's only a few select acts - The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and maybe one or two others where the gear would have ridiculous valuations. Guitars or basses owned by legends who have passed, like Elvis, Prince, Jimi Hendrix etc would probably also have their own stratosphere. Amps seem far less likely to command a premium.

    Bass rigs for very popular players probably wouldn't get a huge bump IMO. Multi-million dollar valuations exist due to wealthy collectors who are fans, not because there are bass players with excessive commas in their bank statements.
  8. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I almost kind of get the jacked-up value of a guitar/bass or other instrument that a famous person has used ... like McCartney's Hofner or one of Entwhistle's basses, that does seem much more personal.

    but a bass rig that was used on a single tour ?

    anyway, it seems pretty clear that in the case of the Wyman rig, it's all about him getting to dump some useless stuff, with low personal sentimental value, from his storage bin and help a good cause in the process. It's not like he is putting up one of his Framus or Vox basses. ;)
    Omega Monkey and Wasnex like this.
  9. See the price of Baseball items used only once...

    Music, TV, Film, Entertainment, Sports they all have fans willing to pay for a piece of someone they admire.

    You are either one of them or not.
    Justinian and Low8 like this.
  10. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    The bottom line is what will somebody actually pay as the implied value is simply that. Implied.

    I was surprised when my friend Gill Southworth had Mick Ralph's burst for sale along with all the documentation like that it was used on "Feel Like Making Love", blah, blah, woof woof, etc.
    And it was a great playing guitar too (just because they are old doesn't make them great as evident by the dead mint 58' burst I had that was OK but not great).
    I don't remember the exact figure as this was the mid 80's but celebrity ownership did not add much if anything at that time. They were going for somewhere between $75 - $100K back then.

    Agreed that the Japanese really did buy a lot of vintage guitars then and I doubt if many ever made it back to the US. There is a song by the Bottle Rockets (White Boy Blues) that talks about a lawyer and an old Fender that "paid its' dues".
  11. BarfanyShart


    Sep 19, 2019
    DC Metro
    People with more money than they know what to do with keep the musical gear industry profitable. We should give thanks to them for keeping our favorite manufacturers in business ... because if they depended on poor musicians for their sales...
    Guild B301 likes this.
  12. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile, ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥੀ Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Memorabilia markets are notoriously volatile. A touring bass rig that Wyman probably rarely saw, much less touched is almost laughable as a piece of rock history, but JRA said it:

    A used touring rig is just dead weight, IMO, even if Wyman sweated on it and even turned a nob once. I get a little P.O.ed thinking about all the nice vintage instruments scooped up by collectors who don't play, but honestly who cares about a touring bass rig when you can build a better one for an order of magnitude less scratch.
    JRA likes this.
  13. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    Not interested unless it will make me sound a lot better....and if I can lift it.
  14. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

  15. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Justinian likes this.
  16. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I've been to charity auctions where folks with loads of money were pining over items on display, one of those being a guitar that Jimmy Page himself donated.
    They're just normal folks with a lot of money. I donated a signed Motörhead CD at one of those events & then got legless on Kilkenny!
    StevieMac likes this.
  17. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Actually, he is...
    About Auction
  18. bobyoung53

    bobyoung53 Supporting Member

    There have been an awful lot of vintage basses on ebay from Japan lately. I'd like to see the old tube hifi equipment start coming back.
    Jim C likes this.
  19. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    ah, well there you go. This seems to be an entirely different auction though, not connected to the charity thing in my OP (which someone else posted earlier).
    and the one you gave a link to has no discussion of astronomical "appraisals" or huge suggested opening bids, just the list of Wymans basses and some amps too ('69 B15N).

    And all I said was that, with instruments that someone famous actually used, some kind of premium is at least kind of understandable.

    still, as someone said above about collectors; you are either are one of them or your not .... and I'm definitely not :cool:

    Hope Mr Wyman makes a pile off his old gear. Of course with the pitiful royalties he must get from his old buds in the RS, I'm sure he's hurting for scratch :laugh:
    Jim C likes this.
  20. MVE


    Aug 8, 2010
    Wasn’t the first prototype SVT given to Wyman in like ‘69?

    Now THAT I could see going for big bucks.
    donahue likes this.