A commemorative guitar signed by the Grateful Dead sold for more than half a million dollars at the band's final 50th anniversary show Sunday at Chicago's Soldier Field.
Bids for the D'Angelico EX-DC guitar opened at $5,000 at the band's first Fare Thee Well concert in Santa Clara, Calif., on June 27 (read Times pop critic Randall Roberts' review of the show here).
Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir played the guitar during the second show before it was signed by the band's four living original members and the three guest performers who joined them.
Bill Rathburn of Dallas purchased the guitar for $526,000 during intermission of the Grateful Dead's Sunday concert in Chicago, a D'Angelico spokeswoman said.
Proceeds from the guitar sale plus an additional $250,000 raised from auctioning off signed posters, Remo drumheads and pit tickets will benefit 17 charities picked by the band -- with each organization receiving approximately $30,000 from the guitar alone.
The auction was organized by the nonprofit organization HeadCount as part of an effort called "Participation Row" that gave Grateful Dead-related charities a significant presence at the Fare Thee Well concerts.
Weir and Fare Thee Well promoter Peter Shapiro sit on HeadCount's board of directors.