Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing's 1967 Flying V that was his main instrument on several of classic PRIEST albums — from "Sad Wings Of Destiny" to "Point Of Entry" — has sold for a whopping £150,000 (approximately $189,000). The original estimate was £15,000-18,000 ($19,000-$23,000).
International auction house Bonhams sold 11 of Downing's guitars on Tuesday (December 11) as part of the Entertainment Memorabilia auction. Other items for sale at Bonhams's New Bond Street premises in Central London included K.K. 's 1971 Gibson Flying V Medallion guitar, which sold for £81,250 (approximately $102,000). The original estimate was £12,000-14,000. Also sold were Marshall amp heads, guitar FX and a pair of leather jackets from the "Turbo" and "Screaming For Vengeance" tours.
Earlier this year, Downing sold his share of the royalty rights to 136 of JUDAS PRIEST's tracks, including classic songs "Breaking The Law", "Living After Midnight" and "Painkiller", to Round Hill Music. The deal was made following the collapse of his luxury golf course venture.
The rights, which consist of Downing's publishing and writer's share, and his artist royalties from the master recordings, were put up for sale after a number of his U.K. leisure businesses were placed into administration (similar to Chapter 11 insolvency in the U.S.).
According to administrators FRP Advisory LLP, who handled the rights sale, Downing's catalog share generates between $340,000 and $400,000 per year in royalties.
K.K. announced his retirement from PRIEST in April 2011. He has since been replaced by Richie Faulkner, who was once the guitarist in the backing group for Lauren Harris, daughter of IRON MAIDEN bassist Steve Harris.
Downing's autobiography, "Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest", was released in September via Hachette Audio as a digital download, and in print and ebook from Da Capo Press. The book was co-written by the Scottish author and journalist Mark Eglinton, whose previous collaborations include "Official Truth, 101 Proof" with Rex Brown of PANTERA and "Confessions Of A Heretic" with BEHEMOTH's Adam "Nergal" Darski.