Today in History, June 24

2004, A Fender Stratocaster that Eric Clapton nicknamed 'Blackie' sold at a Christie's auction for $959,500 (£564,412) in New York, making it the most expensive guitar in the world. The proceeds of the sale went towards Clapton's Crossroads addiction clinic, which he founded in 1998.

In 1970, Clapton switched from Gibson guitars to Fender Stratocasters, largely due to the influences of Jimi Hendrix and Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood. His first Strat, nicknamed "Brownie" because of its sunburst brown finish, was used on his albums Eric Clapton and Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
The same year, Clapton found the Sho-Bud guitar shop in Nashville, Tennessee. He bought six 1950s Stratocasters for two or three hundred US dollars each. After giving one each to George Harrison, Pete Townshend, and Steve Winwood, he took the best parts of the remaining three (built c. 1956 and 1957) and Nashville Luthier Ted Newman Jones assembled "Blackie", so named for its black finish.[1]
Clapton first played Blackie live 13 January 1973 at the Rainbow Concert. Clapton would play Blackie for many years on and off stage (such as in his guest appearance in The Last Waltz); finally, after the Behind The Sun tour in 1985, it was retired due to issues with the neck. In 1988, the Eric Clapton Stratocaster was released, according to Clapton's specifications; he began playing his new signature model shortly after.
One of the last known occasions when Blackie was seen by the public was for a 1990 television commercial for the Japanese automobile firm Honda when, at the specific request of the company, Clapton used Blackie to record a new guitar solo on "Bad Love" in New York and was filmed for the commercial doing so. Blackie was also brought out on stage for one number during the Royal Albert Hall shows in 1991.