Tuesday 13 November 2018

Irish pop memorabilia dealer hoping to fetch $80,000 for last guitar played on stage by Prince

Prince playing the guitar on stage for the last time before his death. PIC: Twitter
Prince playing the guitar on stage for the last time before his death. PIC: Twitter
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

An Irish pop memorabilia dealer is hoping to fetch between $80,000 at auction for the last guitar played on stage by the late, great Prince.

Lawrence Carpenter of Pop Icons is selling the guitar via Julien's Auctions at the Hard Rock Cafe on Times Square in New York on Saturday for a reserve of $60,000 to $80,000.

A bid of $60,000 has already been made and Carpenter hopes the bids will escalate as the most recent sale of a guitar from the music legend fetched $750,000.

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on RTE Radio 1 this week, he revealed that the guitar did not belong to Prince but he played a song including three guitar solos on stage with it just weeks before his death on April 21 2016.

He surprised fans at a Ray Charles tribute concert in Chanhassen, Minnesota on March 12 by taking to the stage and playing a guest guitar solo.

Lawrence explains, "Prince's people contacted the venue 24 hours before the gig and said that Prince was planing on attending the concert so in order to prepare for Prince the concert venue knocked down a wall so that Prince could be close to the stage and have access to a stairwell so he could get in and out of the building without anybody causing him any problems."

The venue did not know that the singer wanted to perform.  However, during the concert he made his way down to the stage and spoke to the guitarist, Steve, in the band.  Later on his bouncer approached to request the use of a white guitar for Prince to perform.

"He played one song with the band and it contained three guitar solos and the audience went crazy.  He walked off stage and walked back up to his private area and that was the last time he performed on stage," said Lawrence.

He added that the provenance on the item is "watertight", "It comes with a letter of provenance from Steve, the guy playing the guitar on stage."

Regarding how much the guitar will sell for, he said, "anything is possible.  I have my fingers crossed but I'm realistic as well."

Other memorabilia up for grabs at the Icons & Idols Rock'n'Roll New York auction on Saturday include three of U2’s signature guitars including lead guitarist Edge’s 1976 Gibson Explorer electric and two of Bono’s Gretsch guitars including a green Irish Falcon and black Falcon electric guitar.

There will also be more than 100 items from Milton Verret whose collection includes items from Madonna, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.  A portion of proceeds of sales of Verret's collection will go the Recording Academy's MusicCares.

Eric Clapton’s red Roland G-505 electric guitar used on the Never Make You Cry track from the album Behind the Sun from 1985 is also going under the hammer.

For more info check out www.juliensauctions.com

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