Colts owner Jim Irsay to display collection of historic rock guitars in NYC next week

Courtesy of The Jim Irsay Collection

In recent years, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has purchased some of the music world’s most historic guitars, as well as many other famous memorabilia items. He will be putting his collection on public display in New York City for the first time on Friday, June 3, at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

The Jim Irsay Collection includes guitars played and owned by Bob Dylan, members of The Beatles, Prince, Eric Clapton, The Grateful Dead‘s Jerry Garcia, Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour and many other famous musicians.

The collection also features other instruments, as well as autographed photos, handwritten lyrics and more. The most recent addition to Irsay’s trove of memorabilia is the guitar that late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain played in his band’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, which he purchased at an auction for over $4.5 million.

Some non-music-related items are also part of the collection: an original “wanted” poster for John Wilkes Booth, a baseball bat used by Jackie Robinson and a robe worn by Muhammad Ali.

The public event will run from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Free tickets can be reserved at

Meanwhile, a private, invite-only reception will be held June 2 at 7 p.m. ET at the Hammerstein Ballroom that will give attendees the chance to check out the collection. It will also feature a performance by The Jim Irsay Band. Described as a group “which has never existed and will never exist again,” the band will feature Irsay backed by founding R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, longtime John Mellencamp guitarist Mike Wanchic, John Fogerty/ex-Mellencamp touring drummer Kenny Aronoff and others.

Former 10,000 Maniacs singer Natalie Merchant will be a guest performer with the band.

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