BB King’s famous ‘Lucille’ guitars to go under the hammer

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

A selection of BB King’s famous “Lucille” guitars will go under the hammer later this month in the US.

The bluesman, who died in 2015, was known for his love of Gibson guitars, affectionately referring to each one he bought as Lucille.

He was not only considered the king of the blues but was a mentor to British guitarists including Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler.

BB King’s 80th birthday Prototype Gibson​ ES-345 (Julien’s Auctions /PA)

A collection of his belongings will go on sale at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills on September 21.

Among the lot is a Prototype Gibson​ ES-345 gifted to King by the guitar manufacturer on his 80th birthday, which has a guide price of between 80,000 and 100,000 US dollars (£64,000-£80,000).

Also under the hammer will be two black Gibsons, one signed by King and the other featuring a gold plate engraved with his name.

A black Gibson guitar signed by BB King (Julien’s Auctions/PA)

A custom red leather guitar case used by King to carry his “Lucille” will also go up for sale and is estimated to fetch up to 2,000 US dollars (£1,600).

King began to call his guitars Lucille after an incident at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, in which two men who were fighting over a woman accidentally set the hall ablaze.

King dashed back in to save his guitar, which from then on he called Lucille, the name of the woman who inspired the fight.

BB King’s Hollywood​ Walk ​of ​Fame​ plaque (Julien’s Auctions/PA)

Also included in the lot will be an 18-karat gold and diamond “BB” ring, a selection of his flamboyant stage outfits and his Hollywood​ Walk ​of ​Fame​ plaque, estimated as costing between 4,000 and 6,000 US dollars (£3,200-£4,800).

King died at his home in Las Vegas in May 2015 at the age of 89, after suffering vascular dementia caused by a series of small strokes as a consequence of his type two diabetes.

He sold millions of records worldwide and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

BB King’s diamond ‘BB’ ring (Julien’s Auctions /PA)

He was awarded his 15th Grammy in 2009 in the traditional blues album category for One Kind Favour.