Prince was an amazing musician, and he couldn’t have made it far without his iconic guitars. One of his prized instruments, a bright yellow, uniquely shaped specimen, is going up for auction, and the opening bid is surprisingly low at $30,000.
This is the very same guitar that Prince used to perform songs like “Cream” and “Gett Off,” two of his biggest hits. Many of Prince’s possessions have already been auctioned off with an opening bid of hundreds of thousands of dollars. A diamond engagement ring and a handwritten marriage proposal addressed to his ex-wife Mayte Garcia, for example, went to auction with a minimum bid of $100,000. It seems that his “yellow cloud” electric guitar is getting the short end of the stick, since it was something that actually took part in making Prince famous.
That doesn’t mean the “yellow cloud” guitar won’t sell for millions. It’s a custom piece built for the artist that he used consistently between the 1980s and the 1990s. An instrument that sees that much action will fetch a handsome price.
The current owner seems optimistic that he’ll get a good price out of it. Selling Prince’s merchandise so close to the artist’s death is sure to fetch high-rolling leads.
“I’ve been a Prince fan since I was a little kid, and that guitar always stuck out to me because it was super cool and stylish,” said current owner Richard Leece. “Unfortunately, as morbid as it is, when people pass, their items become more valuable. I think something as valuable as this could be is risky to continue to have in my possession.”
Leece has been the owner of the precious instrument for just over a year, and he’s ready to part for it for a better price. Richard doesn’t play any musical instruments, so the guitar is more of a keepsake than anything else. He’s interested in getting it a new home and putting some cash in his pocket.
He purchased the guitar from Heritage Auctions, the very same auction house that will be auctioning off the banana-colored instrument in June. Leece claims that the guitar comes with a letter of authenticity and a serial number from Zeke Clark, the guitar technician who dealt with Prince’s guitars for several years. Clark’s letter shows that the guitar was broken at the neck during a concert in France in 1994, but it has since been repaired.
This guitar was designed by luthier Andy Beech of D’haitre Guitars. He lives in Bellingham, Washington, and he’s the genius behind 31 of Prince’s unique instruments, including the “Cloud” and “Symbol” guitars.
“I feel unbelievably privileged,” Beech said. “When I did this many years ago, when I started doing this, he only took somebody’s word that I was capable of doing.”
Even though Beech devoted most of his career to keeping Prince in business, he actually never met the star, according to Rolling Stone.
“I had the opportunity several times to go down there,” he said. “I had good friends working for him. That opportunity, sadly, will never be available to me again.”
Since the singer died on April 21 at the young age of 57, hundreds of his possessions have been auctioned off to fans looking for the best possible price. Some items that have already sold for thousands and even millions at auction include several of his guitars, demo tapes, the handcuffs used in the performance of “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” his fashion items, and even mundane things the Purple One touched, such as a china tea set and a scarf. The lowest priced item started with an opening bid set at $1,000.
The bright yellow guitar won’t be the last item we see making its way across the auction block in the wake of Prince’s death. It might seem unfeeling, but now is the best time to auction anything that Prince may have used or touched if you want the best price.
[Image via Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images]