Burglars smashed the front door to the J. Levine Auction House just hours before it was to host a New Year’s Day auction--the company's largest of the year featuring many prized possessions.
Right next to the $225,000 worth of guns and jewelry taken in the heist was a small amplifier and pedal. But this collectible wasn’t just any amplifier and pedal: it belonged to the most influential rock musician Jimi Hendrix.
The wah-wah pedal was consigned by owner Dave Weyer who custom built it for Hendrix just before his famous Woodstock concert.
“Of course he loved it because he loved every kind of gizmo that became available that might tailor or improve his sound,” said Weyer in a phone interview with ABC15.
Weyer met Hendrix back in the 1960s when Hendrix was looking for someone who could repair and improve the amplifiers for his shows
It was a very positive and uplifting experience to work for Jimi. He was like a shaman, a medicine man, a preacher. He was actually deeply spiritual,” recalled Weyer.
The wah-wah pedal is considered a priceless part of rock history, but was expected to net up to $100,000.
“I was like, 'You've got to be kidding,” said Weyer of his reaction upon learning what the pedal could fetch on the open market.
It’s enough to have the burglars wah-wahing.
“It's hard to find a place to fence the pedal because there's only one of them and everyone would know,” said Weyer.
Weyer is hoping an institution or museum will be the winning bidder at the auction, now scheduled for January 15.
“Then we can put this pedal someplace where it can continue to please people,” Weyer said.