A historic piece of musical memorabilia has found a new owner after the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis’ signature Vox Phantom guitar was auctioned off by Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Sale for a whopping £162,562 which equates to over $211,000.
The guitar earned its place in the history books when it famously appeared in Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ video. In addition to that, it also toured with Curtis during the band’s 1980 European tour and was used on the recording of ‘Heart and Soul’ from Joy Division’s Closer. The iconic guitar did not just belong to Curtis, however. Following his tragic death, the Vox Phantom was passed on to bandmate Bernard Sumner who eventually gave it to his Electronic bandmate Johnny Marr.
Marr then decided to give the guitar back to Sumner albeit fifteen years later and, upon receiving the Phantom, the New Order frontman decided he would gift it to Curtis’ daughter, Natalie. It had remained in her possession until she put it up for auction with Bonhams.
“The guitar came to me at a time in my life when I was keen to learn more about my late father,” Natalie said in a statement. “I’m not at all musical, yet it is fascinating to see my father’s guitar, I mean, it’s such a personal thing. Since I’m a visual person, the Phantom is especially interesting to me, as the design is rather unusual. I grew up around and have worked with musicians, and although I’ve seen a lot of guitars, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“From everything I’ve been told about my father, he was very obsessed with how things looked, and so to me the Phantom makes sense as it very much feels like Ian Curtis’s guitar. It’s obviously super cool, regardless of its previous owner, and it sounds great, and even though I wouldn’t know what the hell to do with them, the geek in me loves all the built-in effects. If I had any kind of aptitude, it’s the sort of guitar I’d want for myself! As I didn’t know my father, it’s quite special to gain this further insight and to discover that our tastes align,” she added.
Check out Curtis using the Vox Phantom in the video for ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, below.