MACON, Ga. — Most folks around here are familiar with the Big House, the Allman Brothers' museum in Macon.
Duane Allman's gold top guitar just pulled in a big number at an auction in New Jersey.
Richard Brent is the Big House Museum Director. "The Big House is more than one piece of memorabilia -- we have thousands of pieces," he calculated.
But one piece once owned by Duane Allman got national attention after it sold at an auction in New Jersey recently.
"Oh, man, every time I touch that guitar, electricity runs through you," Richard said with a sigh.
It was up to Brent to guard the 1957 Les Paul Gold Top, a guitar with a rich history.
"Then, he would use it on the first two Allman Brothers records, "Self-titled," "Idlewild South," and then, of course, with Derek & the Dominoes, so it's known as the "Layla" guitar because he recorded "Layla" with it before he traded it away, seven days after he recorded "Layla," he said.
That kind of a resume can fetch a pretty penny.
"And it recently sold at auction for a million dollars. After all the fees were tacked on, it wound up being about $1.25 million," he recalled.
The previous owner wanted the guitar out in the world and played on stage and lent it out to some famous artists.
The guitar, now nicknamed "Layla," became an ambassador for Macon.
"You know, you think about it -- when Chris Stapleton plays that guitar in front of 5,000, 10,000 people, whatever, you know, and gives a 'thank you' to the Big House Museum, so that just does wonders for us -- so that's really what the guitar was doing, was promoting not only the museum, but Macon," Richard explained.
The new owner wants to remain anonymous, but he's a pretty unselfish guy. For six months every year, the guitar is coming back to the Big House to go back on display, which means the wood that dates back over a century will keep on giving to Central Georgia.
"People come from all over the world to see this guitar, Richard said with a smile.
The guitar will return back to the big house in late November.
Richard says on rare occasions, he takes the guitar out of the display case and lets people see it up close.
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