June 28, 2004 09:00 AM

A guitar played for 15 years by rock legend Eric Clapton has drawn a record price of nearly $1 million, reports the Associated Press.

The Fender Stratocaster, dubbed “Blackie,” served as Clapton’s only stage and studio guitar from 1970 to 1985. Christie’s auctioned off the guitar (and 55 other Clapton instruments) late last week in a sale benefiting the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a drug treatment center that the guitar great founded in 1998.

An unidentified buyer stopped just shy of the seven-figure mark, shelling out $959,500 for the instrument (which, sadly, didn’t come with the talent to play like Clapton, 59). The price tag was enough to set an auction record, according to Christie’s.

The previous record was set in 2002 with the $957,500 sale of a guitar that had belonged to the late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia.

The auction, which also featured fierce bidding for several other guitars, raised more than $7.4 million for the center. A 1964 cherry-red Gibson ES-335, along with its case, sold for $847,500; while “Lenny” – a guitar played by Stevie Ray Vaughan from the 1970s until his death, and donated by Vaughan’s estate – sold for $623,500, Christie’s said.

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