A guitar that Jerry Garcia played everywhere from San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom to Egypt’s Great Pyramids fetched more than $1.9 million at an auction Wednesday night.
The Grateful Dead frontman’s guitar, named Wolf, was sold at the Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley, restaurant and music venue. The sale price includes the buyer’s premium. The proceeds are earmarked for the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center.
The guitar was owned by devoted Deadhead Daniel Pritzker, a philanthropist, musician and film director who bought the instrument in 2002 for $790,000.
“I’ve been a fan of The Dead since I was a kid, and playing this iconic guitar over the past 15 years has been a privilege,” Pritzker said. “But the time is right for Wolf to do some good.”
SPLC President Richard Cohen said the organization is grateful Pritzker “is willing to part with this piece of music history to support the SPLC’s mission fighting hate and bigotry.”
The auctioneer says Wolf first appeared in a 1973 New York performance the Grateful Dead gave for the Hells Angels.
The instrument bears a devilish looking, cartoonlike image of a wolf’s face, eyes menacingly narrowed, ears pricked up, red tongue hanging out, fangs at the ready.
The 1977 film The Grateful Dead Movie was directed by Garcia and features extensive footage of the instrument.
Garcia died in 1995.