An electric guitar signed by Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann was auctioned for $526,000 on Sunday during the band's epic "Fare Thee Well" concert in Chicago. The commemorative six-string – played onstage by Weir during the band's June 28th show in Santa Clara, California – was sold by D'Angelico Guitars and HeadCount, a non-profit that "works with musicians to promote participation in democracy."
The instrument, featuring the words "FARE THEE WELL" and the band's skull logo on the back, was signed by the Grateful Dead members along with three guest performers – Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti (The Dead, Furthur) – who joined the band for their Chicago goodbye shows.
The auction was organized by HeadCount as part of their "Participation Row" charity effort featured throughout the 50th anniversary "Fare Thee Well" concert series. The guitar opened at $5,000 during the first show – June 27th in Santa Clara, California – but the axe's price shot up after Weir played it onstage the following night during the iconic track "Row Jimmy." It was later purchased by Bill Rathburn of Dallas, Texas.
Among the other auctioned memorabilia were signed posters (including one that sold for $21,000 and another purchased by San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy for $15,000), Remo drumheads (one of which brought over $10,000) and "pit" tickets. In total, the items sold for over $250,000. All auction proceeds will be split evenly among 17 charities connected to the pioneering jam band.