April 22, 2007 / 7:18 AM / in 12 years

U2 donates instruments to help Katrina victims

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The beloved Gibson Les Paul guitar of U2’s The Edge fetched $240,000 and Bono’s sunglasses pulled in $20,000 at an auction on Saturday to benefit musicians who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.

In this file photo, U2's guitarist The Edge performs during the band's first of three Sydney concerts November 10, 2006. The beloved Gibson Les Paul guitar of U2's The Edge fetched $240,000 and Bono's sunglasses pulled in $20,000 at an auction on Saturday to benefit musicians who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

The auction at New York’s Hard Rock Cafe by Julien’s Auctions raised $2,436,900, including a 20 percent buyer’s fee, for Music Rising, a charity set up by The Edge and other musicians after the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricane. It marked the first time such a wide selection of U2 memorabilia was available to collectors, organizers said.

Among the more than 200 items sold were Jimi Hendrix’s 1966 Red Fender Mustang guitar, which fetched $400,000, former President Bill Clinton’s saxophone ($54,000) and a pair of John Lennon’s round, blue-tinted sunglasses ($30,000).

“I have to say that it is a strange feeling to see some of your stuff up here,” said The Edge.

In addition to the Les Paul, which was acquired by an anonymous buyer, The Edge donated his 1958 Gibson archtop guitar, which sold for $105,000 and an assortment of accessories worn on stage, including a pair of sneakers ($7,000) and one of his signature cotton knit caps ($11,000).

The autographed Irish Falcon Gretsch Guitar of U2 frontman Bono sold for $180,000, while U2 bassist Adam Clayton’s Fender Active Jazz Deluxe went for $22,000 and the tom tom used in the U2’s Vertigo tour by drummer Larry Mullen Jr. sold for $19,000.

The most emotional sale of the seven-hour auction involved The Edge’s Les Paul guitar, which he had used on every U2 tour since 1985.

Dallas Schoo, the Irish rock band’s longtime guitar technician, told Reuters he regretted the sale of the guitar.

In concert, “whenever Bono yells that he wants to go into free form,” Schoo said, “that has always been my go-to guitar” to hand off to The Edge.

“It looks like it’s been through a war,” said Ralph Trenke, an avid U2 fan who took home The Edge’s 1958 Gibson archtop but came up short in bidding on the Les Paul.

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