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Ian Curtis’ ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ guitar is up for sale

The one-of-a-kind guitar used by Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in the Love Will Tear Us Apart video clip is going under the hammer.

The pentagonal shaped Vox Phantom VI Special Guitar owned by Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis is going to auction. The distinct guitar was notably used by Curtis in the Joy Division music video for Love Will Tear Us Apart.

The guitar itself has some truly idiosyncratic features. Apart from its unusual shape, there is also a host of built-in effects, including fuzz, a mysterious ‘pause unit’ and equally bizarre ‘replat’. The band would later discover that it was actually a ‘repeat’ effect that had been misspelt.

Ian Curtis guitar

According to his bandmates, Curtis liked the Vox because it reminded him of the thin, jangly guitar tones used by The Velvet Underground. The guitar was gifted by Joy Division guitarist Bernard Summer to Ian’s daughter Natalie Curtis on her eighteenth birthday. The Smiths guitarist Johny Marr has also been a previous owner. 

It’s estimated the guitar will go for a staggering AUD$110,000. Yet, this pales in comparison to some recent auctions, including the $6M USD that was paid for the 1959 Martin D-18E that Kurt Cobain used during his MTV Unplugged performance. In the same month, Prince’s ‘Angel Cloud’ from his Purple Rain tour sold for over half a million USD.

The guitar comes with a hard case and a letter of provenance from Natalie Curtis, as well as some limited edition Joy Division memorabilia and will be auctioned on October 13. For all the details, visit the Bonhams website.