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Jerry Garcia’s Legendary Wolf Guitar Sells for $1.9 Million at Auction

Jerry Garcia‘s famous Wolf guitar sold at auction for over $1.9 million Wednesday, AP reports. “Wolf” was Garcia’s go-to instrument for over two decades. The Grateful Dead singer-guitarist first wielded the instrument during a 1973 show for the Hell’s Angels in New York City.

Brian Halligan, Chief Executive of software company HubSpot and an avid Deadhead (he co-authored the book Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead) purchased the guitar at a Guernsey’s auction benefiting the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Halligan’s bid was also matched with a $1.6 million donation, raising $3.2 million total for the SPLC. The $1.9 million price Halligan paid included a $300,00 buyer’s premium.  

Wolf’s previous owner was Daniel Pritzker, a philanthropist, musician and filmmaker, who originally purchased the guitar anonymously in 2002 for $790,000. At the time, it was the highest bid for a guitar in history. “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 in a statement before the auction. “But the time is right for Wolf to do some good.”

Wolf was the first of several instruments that famed luthier Doug Irwin designed for Garcia. The musician, however, made his own modification to the guitar’s unique purple heart and curly maple body, affixing a sticker of a cartoon wolf below the bridge. Wolf prominently featured in the 1977 concert film The Grateful Dead Movie, which Garcia directed. Garcia last played the guitar with the Grateful Dead at the Oakland Coliseum February 23rd, 1993. 

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