Judas Priest legend Ken ‘KK’ Downing, formerly one half of one of metal’s all-time great guitar duos with fellow riff commander Glenn Tipton, will be selling a selection of his most famous guitars at Auction at Bonhams in London on December 11th (that’s the day before my birthday!-hopeful Ed).
Downing has been reported to be in dire financial straits since the collapse of his Astbury Hall resort complex, prompting the great man to sell his share in the publishing rights of over 130 Judas Priest songs earlier this year. The sale of these guitars will mark the end of what can only be described as an annus horribilis for one of metal’s all-time legendary personalities.
There are twenty two lots up for sale in all, including several of Downing’s trademark Flying V guitars. The most enticing – lot 160 in the Bonhams Sale Catalogue – is the Red Gibson Flying V that Downing bought in the mid seventies and used on such earth-shattering tracks albums as Sin After Sin, Stained Class and British Steel. The guitar carries an estimate of between AUD 26-32,000.
Other lots include the limited edition Medallion Flying V that Downing used in the Breaking the Law video and at the famed US Festival in 1983, (AUD 25,000) and a limited edition V (see picture) made for Downing by Luthier Dan Johnson in 2002 (AUD 12,000). A Fender strat (as used in the Live Vengeance ’82 video) and Precision bass also find themselves up for sale.
As well as these electric guitars a selection of acoustic guitars, amps and Priest-related apparel will also come under the hammer, including a rather natty Screaming for Vengeance Leather Tour jacket that would look rather nice in the Sentinel Daily office…
But joking aside, with a combined reserve across the lots of AUD 141,000 this sale will barely make a dent in the alleged debts accrued by the collapse of Downing’s business ventures. What’s sure to be a sad day for the great man will be a day of excitement and pleasure for the lucky auction victors at Bonhams on December 11th. Good luck to all concerned.