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100 Clapton guitars auctioned for charity

NEW YORK (AP) -- Slowhand was a fast mover on the auction block.

Eric Clapton, parting with some of his favorite possessions in the name of drug rehabilitation, raised more than $5 million for charity Thursday in an auction of 100 guitars.The buzz at Christie's was that only 99 of the instruments actually wound up in the hands of strangers. Clapton himself was believed interested in getting one guitar back, a 1930 Gibson L-4.

Christie's declined to confirm whether Clapton did in fact bid on the guitar, which he had been quoted as saying is a "very personal" instrument he used at home rather than in the studio or on the road.

It went to an unidentified buyer for $57,500 -- a sum that didn't even make Thursday's top 10.

A 1956 sunburst Fender Stratocaster brought $497,500, far surpassing the $320,000 auction record for a guitar that belonged to Jimi Hendrix.

"Brownie," as Clapton called it, was said to be one of his favorite guitars and was used to record his renowned love song "Layla."

In addition, Clapton sold a 1954 Fender Strat for $211,500 and a 1974 Martin 000-28 for $173,000. Both were used for recording and stage work during the 1970s. A rare, solid-body 1958 Gibson Explorer went for $134,500.

Clapton wrote in the Christie's catalog that his guitars represent his life's journey through music.

"They all have a place in my heart and my life," he wrote. "It is no easy thing to say goodbye to them."