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Bob Dylan’s Famous Fender Electric Guitar To Be Auctioned Off

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The Fender Stratocaster guitar Bob Dylan played when he notoriously “went electric” at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival will soon be put up for auction, according to a New Jersey woman whose family has had the instrument in their possession for decades. Rolling Stone reports that the woman, Dawn Peterson, decided to sell the guitar after a legal settlement was reached with the folk-rock legend.

“Mr. Dylan will participate in the sale to the extent that he will be signing off on any ownership interest after the sale,” Peterson’s lawyer Christopher DeFalco explains to the magazine, adding that the buyer “will receive a bill of sale that will be signed both by the Petersons and Mr. Dylan or his representatives.”

The story behind the guitar was the focus of a 2012 episode of the PBS series History Detectives, whose researchers concluded that the instrument was the same Stratocaster that Dylan had used at the ’65 Newport fest, even though reps for the singer/songwriter claimed he still had the guitar.

Peterson says her late father, Vic Quinto, was a private pilot for Dylan in the 1960s who told her that the star left the guitar in his plane.  The instrument wound up sitting in her attic for years, until she contacted History Detectives to see if they could verify that it was the one the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer played at Newport.  In addition, a set of Dylan’s handwritten lyrics was found the guitar’s case.

Peterson say’s that she hasn’t decided exactly how she’ll put the Stratocaster up for bid, noting that she plans to contact Sotheby’s, Christie’s and History Detectives investigator Wes Cowan, who has his own auction house.

The guitar has been estimated to be worth as much as $500,000, while the lyrics have been valued at $50,000.

Asked why she decided to part with the guitar, Peterson say’s, ”I would feel unsafe hanging it on a wall now, after all this went on.  I would have to pay to keep it locked up, and I want somebody else to enjoy it.”  She adds that she hopes the instrument will end up in a museum “so it can be shared with everybody.”

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