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Prince Performs

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Someone wanted a piece of music history and was willing to shell out thousands to get it. A French businessman and collector put his trove of Prince-related memorabilia up for sale via RR Auction in Boston.

Among the items was a certain ruffled shirt, which Purple Rain fans will remember that Prince wore on the subsequent tour in 1984 and 1985. Prince performed 98 shows across the U.S. and Canada from Nov. 4, 1984, to April 7, 1985, then performed “Purple Rain” at the American Music Awards at its conclusion.

A press release describing the auction said it was “curated by a French businessman who cultivated ties with Prince’s inner circle two decades ago… The extensive collection showcased the evolution of Prince’s wardrobe throughout his career.”

The shirt was part of a collection that ultimately earned the collector $675,000. Dubbed The Fashion of Prince, it included his blue Schecter Cloud guitar from the NPG club, a pair of his custom boots, his chain hat from the Act II tour, a waist chain and a Black jumpsuit.

Initial estimates for the shirt were $15,000, but it went for more than double that. But despite its prominence as one of Prince’s most recognizable tour looks, it wasn’t the item that generated the most money. The Cloud guitar, expected to sell for $4,000, went for $64,000.

The Minneapolis-born singer/songwriter/composer/producer and multi-instrumentalist died at his Paisley Park entertainment complex on April 21, 2016. Last month, Diamonds and Pearls, the third of his posthumous super deluxe edition box sets, was released with 47 new-to-the-public tracks and a Blu-Ray video of a 1991 performance at Prince’s Glam Slam club in Minneapolis.

The original 1991 release was one of Prince’s most commercially successful projects, selling over 2 million albums and netting several hit singles, including the title track with Rosie Gaines, “Cream,” and “Get Off.” The music from his legendary vault, where he stored thousands of unreleased songs, is expected to continue to anchor future releases of both live and studio recordings.