A rare 1962 Pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster sold for £25,000 (plus buyer’s premium) in Tennants Auctioneers’ Scientific and Musical Instruments Sale on 10th February, and a further example made in 1963 sold for £10,000. Pre-CBS Fender Stratocasters are considered by many to be the Holy Grail of electric guitars, and these examples attracted interest from around the world.
The Fender Stratocaster, a name synonymous with Rock and Roll, was first designed in 1953 by Leo Fender six years after he had established Fender Guitars. His first guitar, the Broadcaster (later renamed the Telecaster), was criticised for being too square and uncomfortable to use. The Stratocaster was his response, with its sleek curves and contoured body to fit snugly against the musician, and a host of new features that set its place in musical history and influenced the design of electric guitars for generations to come. Aided by the legendary Stratocaster, by 1965 Fender was one of the largest musical instrument manufacturers in the world, and Leo Fender sold his company to CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System).
The Stratocasters made by Fender before the sale to CBS are regarded as the finest Fenders ever made. Only produced during the narrow window from 1953-65, Pre-CBS Fender Stratocasters are rare and much sought-after by collectors of vintage guitars. The guitars were part of a small Private Collection of seven guitars in the sale, which sold for a combined hammer price of £44,700. Further good guitars from the collection included a 1975 Fender Telecaster Custom Guitar that sold for £2,700, and a 1969/70 Fender Jaguar Guitar that sold for £2,500.
Further highlights from the musical section of the sale included a Good Piano-Forte Two-Per-Turn Musical Box by Nicole Frères that sold for £1,600, a Concertina English System by Lachanel of London that sold for £1,500, and a set of 19 Handbells that sold for £750.