By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 13, 2018 at 11:45 AM

The recent auction of memorabilia collected over the 30-year history of the BMO Harris Bradley Center raised more than $160,000, representatives of the venue said today.

More than 50,000 people looked at the more than 350 items, including autographed guitars, microphones, costumes, photographs and other items amassed across three decades of concerts, sporting events and other performances, auctioned online by Great Lakes Auctions.

The top selling item?

No surprise it was a paisley-decorated Fender Telecaster autographed by the late Prince at a Dec. 17, 1997 concert during his "Jam of the Year" tour. The guitar earned $25,000.

"We’ve loved collecting this memorabilia over the past three decades and now, as we end a remarkable run, it’s been great fun to open our vault and share those memories with the public one last time," said Steve Costello, the Center’s president and CEO. "We’re really touched that so many people wanted to own a piece of the Center’s history. We hope the buyers will enjoy these special items as much as we’ve enjoyed hosting fans for 30 wonderful years of concerts, sporting events and family shows."

The auctions closed on Tuesday, June 12.

Some other big sellers were:

  • $17,600 for a black Gibson Explorer guitar signed by members of Metallica in 1997 to under $10
  • $9,650 for a Gibson J200 guitar signed by Neil Diamond in October 1996
  • $3,550 for a set of five microphones autographed by *NSYNC during the 1999 No Strings Attached Tour
  • $8,650 for a 1972 Fender Jazz bass guitar signed by the members of Rush in 1996
  • $3,450 for an AC/DC autographed cymbal and drum cover set

Many items, including seats, were not auction, but are being sold in lots. Other items, including building plans and other documents, some memorabilia and historically significant artifacts, will be preserved at institutions like the Wisconsin State Historical Society, the Milwaukee County Historical Society and the Milwaukee Public Library.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.