Frome brothers expected to auction Prince guitar for £80,000

The Fender Gemini II acoustic which was played by Prince on his Diamonds And Pearls album has been in a living room in Frome, Somerset. Credit: PA

Two devoted Prince fans from Frome are selling their prized piece of Prince memorabilia.

The late rock star's Fender Gemini II guitar is expected to fetch £80,000 when it goes under the hammer at specialist music auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate in Wiltshire.

The brothers, who wish to remain anonymous, are selling the guitar because after years of shared ownership, the youngest brother is moving to Spain.

Speaking from his new home, the younger brother said: "In the six months since we bought the guitar, it's been displayed in my brother's living room - in what we call his Prince corner.

"Lots of our friends have seen it but we've not let anyone play it. But now I've moved to Spain, it's not practical for us to share the guitar so we've decided to put it up for sale."

The pair got hold of the instrument from American music producer Sylvia Massy, who engineered Prince's 1991 album Diamonds And Pearls.

Massy had brought a selection of expensive guitars in a West Hollywood studio for Prince to use but he selected Massy's own guitar, an old Fender Gemini II, which retailed around £150 new.

A recent example of a how Gardiner Houlgate hosts virtual auctions Credit: Gardiner Houlgate

Wiltshire Auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate has listed the guitar for March 10.

Auctioneer Luke Hobbs said: "The story of how Prince selected Sylvia Massy's old guitar and used it on the album is the stuff of music industry legend.

"What no one knew was that the guitar has been sitting in a living room in Frome since last year. You couldn't make it up.

"While these guitars are relatively cheap to buy new, interest in Prince from both collectors and fans is very high.

"We're certainly expecting lots of interest from America but frankly we could have a buyer from virtually anywhere in the world. Lockdown has also increased interest in music instrument sales."

The brothers, Prince fans for more than 30 years and frequent attendees at his live shows, were hit hard by Prince's death in 2016.

The younger brother said: "It was like losing a member of our family. My brother still struggles to listen to Purple Rain.

"So, when we got the guitar it was amazing. We owned something that Prince had played and touched.

"You could even see strumming marks made by his plectrum on the black pick guard."

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