BACK in the early 1970s, a teenage Dave Evans bought himself a guitar for a quid in a local jumble sale.
This acoustic guitar was nothing special in itself, but it was enough to get him started. A few years later, he moved on to a better instrument. The old acoustic guitar moved on too. Dave's mum gave it to a colleague for her son to learn on.
But the guitar's new owners noticed that Dave 'The Edge' Evans was making a bit of a name for himself with a band called U2. The new owner hung on to the humble instrument and, somewhere along the line, asked Mr Edge to sign it. This month it's up for auction at Whyte's auction of Rock, Pop & Movies on March 28 where it's expected to make between €3,000 and €5,000 (www.whytes.ie). But it could make considerably more of course.
Because when The Edge put up his 1975 cream-colored Gibson Les Paul for auction to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2007 (at The Icons of Music Sale), it brought in a staggering $240,000 (€254,000).
The same Whyte's auction also includes guitars signed by Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney (€500 to €700), David Bowie (€300 to €500) and Cream (€800 to €1,200). All these guitars are accompanied by certificates of authenticity - that means that the signatures are real - but there's no claim the musicians had any real history with the instrument. It's just a cooler form of autograph.
There's a big difference between a guitar that's been signed by a famous musician and one that they've actually owned and played.
At Christie's of New York in 2004, a composite Fender Stratocaster once owned by Eric Clapton sold for $959,500. It's still quoted as the highest price ever paid for a guitar. That was Clapton's beloved 'Blackie', his studio and solo instrument of choice between the late 1970s and 1985.
There's a sense, and this is reflected in the price, that the power of the musician has somehow transferred to the instrument. And when a vinyl LP came with a cover and a lyric sheet, it gave you something to touch and something to look at as well as the music. An old album is a nice nostalgic thing in itself, but if the band has signed it, then the value soars.
At Whyte's, Thin Lizzy fans might be interested in Vagabonds Of The Western World (1973) signed by Phil Lynott and the band, as well as Jim Fitzpatrick who designed the fantastic Celtic space age cover (€300 t0 €400).
Whyte's is also selling a poster for the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival (€100 to €200), the legendary line-up includes the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jethro Tull, The Doors, The Who, and Joni Mitchell.
Whyte's forthcoming auction also includes a photograph signed by Bob Marley in 1980 when he played at Dalymount Park in Dublin. Marley signatures are rare, so this is estimated at €1,000 - €1,500. It was signed for the owner, who was volunteering for St John's Ambulance at the gig and the photo is accompanied by a towel used by the Wailers on stage in Cork in 2004.
There is also a football shirt worn by Malcolm Young on AC/DC's 1980-81 world tour (€300 to €400) along with a photo of him wearing the shirt at a charity football match, and a decorated leather strap - allegedly made for Jimi Hendrix by a fan and frequently "worn around his thigh when he played". It's accompanied by a letter from his US manager, Bob Levine, stating the strap is genuine, but there are no photos.
The auctioneers are quite open about the fact the connection between the rock star and the object can't be proven, but Hendrix relics are so rare that, if it is real, it will be worth a great deal more than the estimate of €1,800 t0 €2,200. So I wouldn't be surprised if it performed miracles too.