May 8, 2007 / 10:23 PM / 13 years ago

Jerry Garcia's guitars spur Grateful Dead auction

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Forty years after the Summer of Love celebrated the free-living ways of the 1960s counterculture, bidders paid more than $1.1 million (550,000 pounds) at auction on Tuesday for Grateful Dead memorabilia.

A cream-coloured 1975 Travis Bean electric guitar belonging to the band’s legendary, late lead guitar player, Jerry Garcia, brought in $312,000 in a brisk sale, auction house said.

Enthusiasts also bid $102,000 for an acoustic guitar and $39,000 for a Gibson electric guitar played by Garcia.

One of his leather guitar straps sold for $20,400, or four times its initial asking price, and his flight case filled with guitar picks, strings and other accessories sold for $16,800.

The auction house Bonhams and Butterfields held the auction in San Francisco on behalf of Rudson Shurtliff, son of Lawrence “Ram Rod” Shurtliff, the late road manager and president of the Grateful Dead’s corporation.

Formed in the mid-1960s, the Grateful Dead were a San Francisco area legend who rose to fame as the city became a counterculture mecca. The band often gave free concerts, including several during the 1967 “Summer of Love” in which thousands with little money flocked to San Francisco.

“Overall it was a very good sale,” said Margaret Barrett, director of the entertainment memorabilia department at Bonhams and Butterfields. “I think the bidders were excited.”

Last month Jimi Hendrix’s 1966 Red Fender Mustang guitar sold for $400,000 and the Gibson Les Paul guitar of U2’s The Edge fetched $240,000 at an auction.

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