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Les Paul guitars, items fetch $5 million at auction

NEW YORK -- A rare guitar designed and owned by renowned guitarist Les Paul sold for $180,000 as part of a two-day auction of his instruments and personal effects that raised nearly $5 million, Julien's Auctions said on Sunday.

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Vintage guitars owned by guitar maker Les Paul on display at Julien's Auctions in Los Angeles on May 29.

The guitar, a rare 1982 Gibson Les Paul prototype recording model, was among several of the iconic guitarist's instruments that sold in Los Angeles over the weekend.

Other models included a 1951 Fender Nocaster that brought in a whopping $216,000 and a 1940s Epiphone Zephyr, known as "Klunker #3," which fetched $144,000. Research notes, a sign for the Les Paul Iridium Club, and a custom license plate were among other items being sold.

Paul and his wife Mary Ford enjoyed a string of hits in the 1940s and 1950s that included "Mockin' Bird Hill" and the influential "How High the Moon." He was best known in the music community as an inventor of guitars and a pioneer of recording techniques. He died in 2009 at age 94 from complications of pneumonia.

Sometimes called the father of the electric guitar, Paul produced one of the first solid body versions and commissioned the first 8-track tape recorder, revolutionizing the way music was produced and distributed.

The auction's proceeds benefited the Les Paul Foundation, which the guitarist founded to support music education, engineering, innovation and medical research.

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