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The pink paisley guitar in this photo, autographed by Prince, sold at auction for $25,000 this week. (PHOTO: BMO Harris Bradley Center)

Prince guitar earns $25,000 in BMO Harris Bradley Center auction

The recent auction of memorabilia collected over the 30-year history of the BMO Harris Bradley Center raised more than $160,000, representatives of the venue said today.

More than 50,000 people looked at the more than 350 items, including autographed guitars, microphones, costumes, photographs and other items amassed across three decades of concerts, sporting events and other performances, auctioned online by Great Lakes Auctions.

The top selling item?

No surprise it was a paisley-decorated Fender Telecaster autographed by the late Prince at a Dec. 17, 1997 concert during his "Jam of the Year" tour. The guitar earned $25,000.

"We've loved collecting this memorabilia over the past three decades and now, as we end a remarkable run, it's been great fun to open our vault and share those memories with the public one last time," said Steve Costello, the Center's president and CEO. "We're really touched that so many people wanted to own a piece of the Center's history. We hope the buyers will enjoy these special items as much as we've enjoyed hosting fans for 30 wonderful years of concerts, sporting events and family shows."

The auctions closed on Tuesday, June 12.

Some other big sellers were:

  • $17,600 for a black Gibson Explorer guitar signed by members of Metallica in 1997 to under $10
  • $9,650 for a Gibson J200 guitar signed by Neil Diamond in October 1996
  • $3,550 for a set of five microphones autographed by *NSYNC during the 1999 No Strings Attached Tour
  • $8,650 for a 1972 Fender Jazz bass guitar signed by the members of Rush in 1996
  • $3,450 for an AC/DC autographed cymbal and drum cover set

Many items, including seats, were not auction, but are being sold in lots. Other items, including building plans and other documents, some memorabilia and historically significant artifacts, will be preserved at institutions like the Wisconsin State Historical Society, the Milwaukee County Historical Society and the Milwaukee Public Library.


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