Rare Prince memorabilia up for auction

Rare Prince memorabilia is currently up for auction at Nate D Sanders. A 1959 Gibson L-Series guitar, demo tapes, handwritten lyrics, wedding items and more are all on the auction block. Five percent of the net proceeds will be donated to the Our House LA’s Camp Erin for Grieving Children charity.

Among the items is the 1959 vintage Gibson L-series 6-string acoustic guitar Prince used in the 1970s to sketch out and record early demos. The Gibson Acoustic Guitar has all original hardware except for tuning pegs (original tuning pegs available), and has 2 F-slots and a raised tortoise shell pick guard. Prince is seen holding the guitar in photos from 1977 taken at photographer Robert Whitman’s studio in Minneapolis, and at Owen Husney’s house, the man who discovered and formerly managed Prince (photos courtesy of Robert Whitman). Guitar comes housed in a black case with gray cushion lining. Normal wear with minor nicks and scratching to body, in very good condition. With an Letter of Authenticity (LOA) from Owen Husney.

princetape-auctionAlso available is an incredibly rare cassette tape from 1978, giving a unique window into Prince’s early creative process, just as his career was starting to soar. Upon one side of the tape, spanning approximately 23 minutes, are six songs by Prince, three of which are unreleased and three are unique versions of songs that Prince would ultimately release. This piece of pop music history comes directly from Prince’s collaborator and guitarist, Dez Dickerson, who says of the tape’s origin.

“Prince originally gave me the cassette in late 1978 because he wanted me to listen to a record he had recorded on side A (a female-fronted funk band whose name I don’t remember now),” states Dickerson. “Sometime during the next year or so, I used the A side to record some scratch bass and guitar parts for songs I was going to be recording for a rock/power pop demo I was doing, recording over the original content (you can still hear a snippet of the funk record at the end of the side). On side B, Prince had his work versions of six songs, which I left intact for, at that time, unknown reasons (obviously, we now know it preserved a piece of musical history).”

Side B, containing Prince’s songs, opens with an early, acoustic version of “So Blue”, followed by two unreleased love songs with bouncy, upbeat choruses and risque lyrics. Next is an early version of “Gotta Broken Heart Again”, which later appeared on Prince’s seminal Dirty Mind album. The fourth track features heavy guitar distortion and a chorus that include very candid sexual pleas from Prince. The tape ends with a very early, virtually unrecognizable version of “Sometimes it Snows in April”, with only a couple of lines from the chorus making the final cut onto the later version of the song that’s featured on the Parade album, released some eight years after this tape was created. The audio quality on the tape is very good, with Prince’s voice very clear and the overall sound still quite sharp.

The tape is offered as collector’s piece only and does not come with rights for reproduction, manufacturing or distribution. Cassette is housed in its plastic cover with “Prince Worktape ’78” handwritten on it by Dez.

Many other items are available for auction which runs through Thursday, March 17th at 5 pm PDT.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com