Press Release

For Immediate release!


Prince’s Primary Performance Cloud Guitar Used at the Height of his Career in the 1980s & 1990s to Headline Julien’s Auctions Music Icons Event June 19-20, 2020

Played by the Rock/Soul Music Titan during the "Purple Rain" "Sign o’ the Times," and "Diamonds and Pearls" Tours, and Some of his Most Seminal Television Appearances Including, Saturday Night Live’s "15th Anniversary Special," MTV Video Music Awards and The Arsenio Hall Show as well as in Music Videos "Get Off" and "Cream"


Los Angeles, California – (May 20th, 2020) – Julien’s Auctions announced today that a historic discovery has been made about their previously announced marquee item in their upcoming Music Icons auction - Prince’s 1984 blue Cloud electric guitar - which has been confirmed to be the seven-time Grammy award winning artist’s long lost "blue angel" guitar. It will be sold at the previously announced MUSIC ICONS to take place on Friday, June 19th and Saturday, June 20th live in Beverly Hills and online at

From 1984 until the time that Andy Beech began making Cloud guitars for Prince in 1993, this was Prince’s primary performance Cloud guitar. It is considered one of the most historically important guitars played by Prince that will ever come up for auction and used during the height of his career in the 1980s and 1990s. Prince's Cloud 2 Blue Angel Guitar The legendary guitar was played by The Purple One in his most iconic career performances on stage and screen including: his tours for "Purple Rain" (1984-1985), "The Parade Tour" (1986), "Sign o’ the Times," (1987), "Lovesexy," (1988-1989) and "Diamonds and Pearls" (1992), Saturday Night Live’s "15th Anniversary Special," (September 24th, 1989), the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards, his legendary 1991 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show in a 20-minute set that included his performances of "Let’s Go Crazy", "Cream," and "Purple Rain," music videos for "Get Off" and "Cream," as well as photo appearances on the covers of Spin magazine (September 1991) and the film poster for the 1987 music documentary Sign o’ The Times.

The original white guitar is currently painted an electric blue and has been painted and refinished a number of times in white, peach, light blue, and yellow. The guitar neck is cracked from between the 6th and 7th frets up to the headstock and no longer has strings attached. The builders of the guitar include O’Hagan Guitar Company, Tommy Stinson, Dave Rusan, Mark Sampson and Barry Haugen.

After the guitar’s auction was announced, the world-record breaking auction house to the stars was contacted by John Woodland, who performs conservation work on Prince’s guitars at his fabled headquarters and home, Paisley Park and had been searching for the mythic "blue angel," whose moniker is named after its color. Woodland has spent a year and a half researching the origin and creation of all original Cloud guitars. He is also currently writing a book with former Knut Koupeé Music employee Gerald Ronning on the subject.

Julien’s Auctions contacted Westside Medical Imaging in Beverly Hills who conducted an unprecedented series of CT scans on this Prince guitar to go beneath the surface details of the instrument. Julien’s also consulted former Knut Koupeé employees as well as former O’Hagan guitar employee Dave Seaton to help them with their research.

Prince’s long association with the custom-made Cloud guitars famously began when the artist embarked on his most ambitious project to date, his starring role in the 1984 film Purple Rain. The script called for a scene showcasing a guitar in a shop window that would serve as "The Kid’s" object of desire. For this, Prince enlisted the help of legendary Minneapolis guitar shop Knut Koupeé Music. According to all accounts, Prince brought his Sardonyx bass, and explained that he would like to commission a guitar version of the instrument in white, with EMG pickups and gold hardware for use in the upcoming film. The team at Knut Koupeé set to work on creating Prince’s first Cloud guitar which would be featured in the film and would go on to became part of Prince’s iconography. While this first white Cloud Purple Rain guitar is on display at the Smithsonian Museum, this "blue angel" guitar is said to have been Prince’s favorite to use during live performances and was commissioned for the Purple Rain Tour.

The original estimate for the guitar was appraised at $100,000-$200,000; however, due to this recent discovery, the estimate has been raised to $400,000 - $600,000. It is accompanied by an oversized Calzone purple guitar road case.

"Not only is this a Prince guitar but of all his guitars that he played this is one of the greatest and most important Prince guitars that will ever come up for auction," said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien’s Auctions. "Julien’s Auctions is honored to have made this remarkable discovery of the "blue angel" that launched Prince’s stratospheric rise as a superstar and took center stage in some of his most legendary performances. We thank John Woodland for sharing his knowledge and research archive with us in this once in a lifetime find."

"This is the most comprehensive research on an instrument that I have ever been involved with and it has yielded the most conclusive and exciting results that we could have hoped for," said Laura Woolley, consulting specialist for Julien’s Auctions on this guitar.

"This is an exciting discovery as it’s been the missing piece of the puzzle. I’m beyond impressed at the in-depth work Darren Julien and his team have done in such a short time since its discovery," said John Woodland. "I hope Prince fans will enjoy the story of this guitar as much as I have enjoyed finding it."

In November 2017, Julien’s Auctions achieved the world record for the highest price ever paid for a Prince guitar sold at auction in its sale of a teal Cloud guitar which sold for $700,000 and Prince’s custom made played yellow Cloud guitar which sold for $225,000 in May 2018.

Photos, videos and full catalog containing the research of the guitar discovery available upon request.


Julien's Auctions
257 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Public Exhibition
Monday, June 15th – Friday, June 19th, 2020
Daily: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time
Free to the Public

Julien's Auctions Beverly Hills
257 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Music Icons

Friday, June 19th, 2020
Session I: (Lots 1-214) 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time
Session II: (Lots 215-428) 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Saturday, June 20th, 2020
Session III: (Lots 429-620) 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time
Session IV: (Lots 621-832) 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time

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About Julien's Auctions

Julien’s Auctions is the world record-breaking auction house to the stars. Collaborating with the famous and the exclusive, Julien’s Auctions produces high profile auctions in the film, music, art and sports markets. Julien’s Auctions has received international recognition for its unique and innovative auction events, which attract thousands of collectors, investors, fans and enthusiasts from around the world. Julien’s Auctions specializes in sales of iconic artifacts and notable collections including Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Lady Gaga, Banksy, Cher, Michael Jackson, U2, Barbra Streisand, Les Paul, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Hugh Hefner, Pelé and many more.

In 2016, Julien’s realized $5 million in the historic auction of the Brazilian soccer icon, three-time World Cup Champion and FIFA Player of the Century’s collection of memorabilia, personal property and awards, which featured the sale of Pelé’s 3 World Cup Gold medals, sold for a combined total of US $970,992 (£674,300), including his 1970 World Cup winner’s medal sold for $427,100 (£346,000), which set world records for the most expensive Pelé item and the most expensive soccer medal ever sold at auction. In 2020, Julien’s shattered multiple records of sports jerseys sold at auction in the sale of a trio of historic #23 basketball jerseys worn by Michael Jordan (his historic 1984 “Signing Day” official Chicago Bulls rookie #23 which sold for $320,000, a new world record sale for a jersey worn by the 14 Time All-Star and five-time MVP legend), Barack Obama (the forty-fourth U.S. President’s 1979 #23 Punahou School jersey which sold for $192,000, a new world record selling price for a high school jersey) and Lebron James (the NBA legend’s 2003-2004 official Cleveland Cavaliers rookie year NBA jersey rookie season which sold for $128,000) which combined totaled $640,000 as well as Colin Kaepernick’s official San Francisco 49ers rookie jersey which sold for $128,000, a new world record for most expensive NFL jersey sold at auction. Other notable Sports memorabilia sold by Julien’s Auctions include Babe Ruth’s 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers coaching uniform which sold for $187,500 and NASCAR legend Richard Petty’s 1974 Dodge Charger Daytona race-winning car which sold for $500,000.

In 2016, Julien’s Auctions received its second placement in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sale of the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction, The Marilyn Monroe “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress which sold for $4.8 million. Julien’s Auctions achieved placement in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 for the sale of Michael Jackson’s white glove, which sold for $480,000 making it the most expensive glove ever sold at auction. In 2020, Julien’s Auctions received its third Guinness Book of World Record placement for the sale of Kurt Cobain’s “MTV Unplugged” 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic-electric guitar, which sold for $6 million making it the world’s most expensive guitar ever sold at auction. In 2022, Julien’s Auctions sold the world’s second most expensive guitar ever sold at auction with Kurt Cobain’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” music video 1969 Fender Mustang electric guitar, which sold for $4.5 million.

Based in Los Angeles, Julien’s Auctions has a global presence bringing their auctions and exhibitions to targeted destinations worldwide including London, New York, Las Vegas, Japan and China. Live auctions are presented for bidders on-site and online via live streaming video and mobile technology. For more information on Julien’s Auctions, go to

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