Chet Atkins? guitars head to the auction block

A selection of guitars owned, used and/or designed by legendary country guitarist Chet Atkins are heading for the auction block in Dallas.

The guitars are the keynote lots of the 621-lot music portion of Heritage Auction Galleries’ Signature Music & Memorabilia Auction, which will be held Feb. 21-22.

Atkins was a fixture on the American music scene for almost 60 years. The list of musicians with whom he played or produced reads like a Who’s Who of mid-20th Century American music: Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Perry Como, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson, Jim Reeves, Jerry Reed, Skeeter Davis, Connie Smith, Bobby Bare, Jerry Reed, John Hartford and Charley Pride, just to name a few.
Even now, almost eight years after his death, Atkins is just as revered, if not more revered, than he was in his lifetime. 

“For the truly discriminating guitar collector it simply can’t get much better,” said Doug Norwine, director of Music and Entertainment for Heritage. “Just to be able to hold one of Chet’s guitars is an amazing thing, let alone being given the chance to acquire one he himself owned, played or personally designed … that’s a pretty special thing.”

The guitars come from the Russ Cochran Collection. The Atkins’ guitars featured in the auction include:

• A Gretsch Country Gentleman owned and played by Chet Atkins (1971) in very good condition, estimated at $15,000;

• A Gibson Country Gentleman original prototype guitar, owned and played by Chet Atkins (1986) in very good+ condition, estimated at $15,000;

• A Gibson Chet Atkins Super 4000 Limited Edition Guitar (1978) in near mint condition, estimated at $25,000;

• A Gretsch Model 6120 Archtop Guitar owned and modified by Chet Atkins (1958) in very good condition, estimated at $15,000;

• A Gibson Octobass Modified Country Gentleman Guitar owned and played by Chet Atkins (1991) in excellent condition, estimated at $6,000;

• A Martin HD-28 Chet Atkins-owned acoustic guitar (1987) in excellent condition, estimated at $2,000; and

• A D’Angelico Excel Guitar (1950) in very good condition, which is just one serial number away from the very same guitar Atkins used throughout 1950-1954 when he played with The Carter Family, estimated at $30,000.

Other artists’ memorabilia, instruments, records and more featured in the auction include: Buddy Holly; Bruce Springsteen; Bob Dylan; The Beatles; Janis Joplin; The Beach Boys; Frank Zappa; Hank Williams Sr.; Tim Buckley; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; The Who; Led Zeppelin; Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley. A selection of Woodstock items also are offered.

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