Prince’s famous “Yellow Cloud” guitar sold at an auction for $137,500 this weekend. The bright, uniquely shaped guitar was custom-made with gold tuning keys, tremolo and knobs, and was used by the late musician in the early 1990s.
The highest bidder was Jim Irsay, better known as the owner of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Along with his arsenal of big dudes in shoulder pads, Irsay boasts ownership of a sizable collection of music memorabilia, namely instruments. The “Yellow Cloud” guitar will find its home among Bob Dylan’s 1965 Newport Folk Festival guitar and John Lennon’s “Paperback Writer” Gretsch guitar. Irsay also recently paid $2.2 million for Ringo Starr’s drum set. Said Irsay to Rolling Stone on his collection in December: “I feel I’m just a curator of history. I’m going to pass this thing on as time goes along. It’s just a privilege and an honor.”
Prince’s former guitar technician, Zeke Clark, wrote the letter of authenticity for the instrument, verifying that the guitar had been used from 1988-1994 in most of his music videos, live performances and studio recordings. Clark also noted that the guitar neck had been broken on the set of a French TV show in 1994. He fixed it upon Prince’s return to the U.S., and Prince continued to use it for recordings until the invention of the musician’s symbol guitar.
The “Yellow Cloud” guitar was sold on Saturday via Heritage Auctions’ Music Memorabilia Signature Auction with other high-profile items, including a lock of David Bowie’s hair, which sold for $18,750.
Watch Prince’s 1982, pre-”Yellow Cloud” performance of “Controversy” via the Paste Cloud below.