Grateful Dead: Jerry Garcia’s guitar sale raises $3m for charity

Brian Halligan with WolfImage copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The winning bid was placed by fan Brian Halligan

The sale of Jerry Garcia’s favourite guitar, Wolf, has raised millions of dollars for a civil rights group.

More than 20 years after the death of the Grateful Dead founder, the auction of the custom-made guitar fetched a total of $3.2m (£2.5m).

It was bought at a New York charity concert by Brian Halligan, CEO of marketing group HubSpot and a lifelong fan of the band – or a “Deadhead”.

The money raised will go to the Southern Poverty Law Centre.

Halligan bought Wolf for $1.9m, including the buyer’s premium, and had his $1.6m pre-premium bid matched by an anonymous charity.

Image copyright Roberto Rabanne
Image caption Jerry Garcia was the best known member of the Grateful Dead

Garcia was the best-known member of the Grateful Dead and was known for his guitar sound.

Devoted Deadheads identify five classic guitars which Garcia played at different times: Alligator, Rosebud, Lightning Bolt, Tiger and Wolf. The last two were auctioned together in 2002 and made more than $1.5m (£1.2m).

Image copyright Roberto Rabanne
Image caption The wolf motif was added by the guitar’s maker when it was sent back to him for repairs

Wolf was put up for auction again on Wednesday night to raise funds for the advocacy group.

It got its name after Garcia stuck a cartoon wolf sticker on it as a joke. When the instrument went back to guitar maker Doug Irwin for repairs, he decided to incorporate the motif in a more permanent way.

Halligan is one of the Deadheads who followed the band for years, travelling from concert to concert.

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