A treasure trove of Prince memorabilia is going on the auction block, items provided by his first wife and his original manager that include her diamond engagement ring and wedding dress, never-released recordings and a classic Gibson acoustic guitar that the Twin Cities musician played to cut demos.
There will be 95 pieces up for online bidding from Mayte Garcia and Owen Husney next Thursday at Nate D. Sanders Auctions, which proposed the sale to Garcia and Husney.
The ring that Prince gave to Garcia before their Valentine’s Day 1996 wedding at Park Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis has a 2.2-karat diamond and comes with five pink heart-shape notes that were handwritten by the musician.
“The notes were used by Prince to lead Garcia on a romantic journey to discover the ring,” according to the Los Angeles auction house. Bidding on the ring and notes starts at $100,000.
Along with the wedding dress, other items from the ceremony up for grabs include: sets of china featuring Prince’s love symbol design and a pair of engraved goblets, all used during the wedding reception.
Garcia, a onetime belly dancer who was most commonly referred to as Mayte, and Prince divorced in 2000.
Husney, a former Twin Citian who now lives in Los Angeles, quit his job running a Minneapolis advertising agency to become Prince’s first manager and help him land a recording contract with Warner Bros. in 1977. Husney said Thursday that the auction house reached out to him about the items, but he declined to say more.
A gem for music buffs among the memorabilia is a cassette demo tape of Prince performing three songs he would later release and three untitled tracks that have remained under wraps, said Michael Kirk, who is managing the auction. The bid for the tape opens at $20,000.
Kirk said two of the untitled songs have “explicit, sexually charged lyrics, and the other one has a cool distortion vibe to it.”
The other three he eventually released are: “So Blue,” “Got a Broken Heart Again” and “Sometimes It Snows in April.”
Given the decades that have passed and the medium being used is a cassette tape, Kirk said “I still think it sounds pretty good, pleasantly good.”
Kirk said it’s always possible that the winning bidder will try to make commercial hay from the tape, but he said the auction house makes it clear that the recordings are for private use only.
The acoustic guitar is a 1959 Gibson he used in the 1970s to compose and record early demo tracks. The guitar comes with a black case and a letter of authenticity from Husney. Five percent of the proceeds will support the charity Our House LA’s Camp Erin for Grieving Children. Bidding begins at $60,000.
“Owen said Prince really loved the sound of this guitar and loved to play on it,” said Kirk, who is anticipating enthusiastic bidding for the instrument because “People already love Gibson guitars and then you layer Prince on top of it.”
Also being auctioned:
• A Scorpio diamond necklace worn when Prince met Prince Charles in 1998.
• A three-piece electric blue outfit worn by Prince on the cover of his 1999 album, “Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic.”
• A long, black sequined stage coat and matching platform shoes worn during a performance and rhinestone handcuffs used during the performance of “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” among others.
• A pair of stage handcuffs.
For those looking to get in on the auction at the bottom end, $1,000 can get you a china plate from the wedding or a Prince scarf.
It appears that Mayte, who lives in the Los Angeles area, tried to unload some of these items earlier at a Beverly Hills pawnshop. She gave the shop about 10 items about a year and a half ago that included gold-plated, crystal-studded handcuffs and various flashy outfits.
Nate D. Sanders Auctions has conducted sales since 1990. He specializes in sports, historical and Hollywood memorabilia. For more on the auction of Prince-related items, visit natedsanders.com.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482