Prince made a bold statement when he adopted an unpronounceable symbol as his name in 1993. And tomorrow, one of the late singer's guitars in the shape of the glyph -- commonly known as the Love Symbol -- could put it in the headlines once more when it goes up for auction in New York.
Though the official lot estimate is $100,000-$150,000, Guernsey's
auction house seems confident it could sell one of the singer's gold Love guitars for much more, encouraged by the recent sale of another of Prince's guitars for $700,000
-- the most ever paid for a Prince guitar, according to the sellers, Julien's Auctions. In that instance, the initial estimate was a relatively modest $60,000-$80,000.
"There's really no telling how much this guitar could bring," said Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's, in a statement. "With the unfortunate passing of Prince in April (2016) his legacy is stronger than ever, and collectors will do -- or pay -- just about anything to get their hands on this once-in-a-lifetime iconic symbol of one of the greatest music legends to ever live."
The Love guitar was last sold by Julien's Auctions for a mere $13,200 in 2007. According to that auction's catalog (the guitar has not been authenticated by Prince's estate), the custom-made guitar was once the prize in a TV competition. In a commercial, Prince wrote something on his cheek. The person who correctly guessed what he'd written ("Michelle is cool") was awarded the guitar at a concert at Paris' Bataclan theater.
Loose hair and bare chested -- the cover of Prince's 1979 self-titled sophomore album.
Credit: From NPG Records
Since Prince's death, several his guitars have hit the auction block. In June, a curvy yellow Cloud guitar played during the '80s and '90s sold for $137,500, and last December, another Cloud guitar sold for $117,207. Fans have also paid surprising amounts for his handwritten notes
and high-heeled boots
in recent months.
Earlier this year, Guernsey's sold a guitar that once belonged to the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia for $1.9 million
. Along with the Love guitar, the auction house's Dec. 2 "Legendary Guitars & Musical Treasures Auction" will include guitars from the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty and Madonna.