ZZ TOP Bassist DUSTY HILL's 1953 Fender Is Second-Highest-Selling Bass In Auction History

December 8, 2023

In celebration of its 20th anniversary as the leading rock 'n' roll memorabilia auction house, Julien's Auctions kicked off "The Collection Of Dusty Hill Of ZZ Top" Thursday, December 7, with a spectacular first evening sale presentation of the rock icon's one-of-a-kind instruments, custom made western style wardrobe worn on stage and in appearances, gear, signature style items such as his favorite cowboy hats, boots and buckles, memorabilia and more from his groundbreaking five-decade career coming directly from Dusty Hill's personal collection. The opening night featured more than 1,100 bids on 49 lots from bidders hailing from all over the globe, including Australia, Germany, Canada, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and more.

The first evening session's top auction headliner was the sale of Hill's signature 1953 Fender Precision bass guitar, the most played instrument by Hill out of all the guitars in this collection which sold for $393,700, nearly three times the pre-sale high estimate after a nearly seven-minute bidding battle (estimate: $80,000-$120,000). The bass was heavily used by Hill and served as his go-to stage guitar for numerous ZZ TOP live performances and in the studio until Dusty retired the bass in 2012.

The sale of this signature Fender is now the second highest sold bass guitar at auction behind Paul McCartney's Yamaha BB-1200 bass sold in 2021 and in front of Bill Wyman's Fender Mustang sold in 2020. Hill's wife Charleen "Chuck" McCrory Hill commented regarding the sale: "Dusty would be so pleased to know his bass is between a Beatle and a Rolling Stone!"

Another highlight of the evening was one of the most instantly recognizable instruments in all of pop culture history: Hill's fur bass guitar played on ZZ TOP's iconic "Legs" music video, which sold to a bidder in the room for $317,500 (estimate: $80,000-$120,000). The 1983 Dean Explorer style bass, in sheepskin finish with ZZ TOP logo painted on the fretboard, was attached to a rig worn around Hill's waist to make it spin.

Other highlights included:

Hill's 2000s Bolin Precision style bass guitar used during ZZ TOP's 2007 live performance in Grand Prairie, Texas that was released on their 2008 "Live From Texas" DVD and on tour in 2016 ($22,750) (estimate: $7,000- $9,000)

Hill's "I Gotsa Get Paid" music video 2000s Bolin Telecaster style guitar painted with a concrete style finish by Elwood Francis featuring a Texas Longhorn badge ($22,750) (estimate: $6,000- $8,000)

MTV Moonman award statuette for "Best Group Video" "Legs" presented to Dusty Hill and ZZ TOP at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards ceremony held in 1984 where ZZ TOP was the first group to ever win "Best Group Video" whose fellow nominees included THE POLICE "Every Breath You Take", VAN HALEN "Jump" and HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS "The Heart Of Rock & Roll" ($25,400) (estimate: $10,000- $15,000)

Dusty Hill's commissioned oil derrick gold nugget ring accented with four circular-cut diamonds ($9,100) (estimate: $2,000- $3,000)

Hill's custom sky-blue wool suit jacket with yellow and red embroidered flowers accented with stones by Nudie's Rodeo Tailors worn on the cover of ZZ TOP's 1975 album "Fandango!" ($11,430) (estimate: $6,000- $8,000)

Hill's black leather motorcycle jacket with custom painted skeleton motif, eagle head pins on lapel, and silver spike embellishments with "Streek Landslide" written on the back ($13,000) (estimate: $1,500-$2,500)

The three-day music auction event, featuring over 1000 lots from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame bass legend of ZZ TOP, continues Friday, December 8 and Saturday, December 9 starting 10 a.m. CT at the legendary musician and vocalist's birthplace of Dallas, Texas at the auction venue 915 Slocum Street and online at Julien's Live.

Leading up to the auction weekend, fans and collectors had the chance to celebrate the life and legacy of the ZZ TOP legend in his birthplace by experiencing Julien's free-to-the-public Texas-sized "Dusty Land" two-week exhibition and "Duzzty's Stash" pop-up store featuring Hill's merchandise and other collectibles at the auction venue 915 Slocum Street.

A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit MusiCares and their mission to help the humans behind music because music gives so much to the world. Offering preventive, emergency, and recovery programs, MusiCares is a safety net supporting the health and welfare of the music community.

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