KISS Memorabilia Expands Hard Rock Cafe's Music Memorabilia Collection Worth Nearly $32 Million

ORLANDO, Fla., July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Hard Rock Cafe ( acquired more than 20% of the 800+ items offered for sale at the first-ever KISS memorabilia auction in Hollywood. The $300,000 acquisition expands upon Hard Rock Cafe's 63,000-piece music memorabilia collection now worth nearly $32 million. Tentative sites for the recently acquired KISS memorabilia include several newly-designed Hard Rock Cafe restaurants and the new Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando scheduled to open in January 2001.

The auction was organized jointly by Butterfields, a unit of eBay Inc., and Greg Manning Auction Inc. KISS fans as far as Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom bought an estimated 200 items over the Internet. In total, music fans and collectors spent $876,000 on KISS items, which spanned the group's three decades of fame.

``KISS is a unique band because it appeals to so many different generations,'' said Barrie Lapins, Hard Rock Cafe's acquisitions manager and music memorabilia expert, who scans through thousands of music memorabilia pieces each year looking for items to add to Hard Rock Cafe's vast collection.

``The new KISS memorabilia expands on our existing collection of a complete set of KISS costumes, guitars, dolls, drums from Peter Chriss, a tail worn by Peter Chriss, a blacklight poster and photographs of the band,'' said Lapins. ``We are constantly looking to expand the music experience that guests have in our cafes.''

On behalf of Hard Rock Cafe International, Lapins spent about $300,000 on 22 KISS memorabilia items, including a set of four life-size mannequins dressed in black leather from the group's 1998 Psycho Circus Tour. In addition, nine original prototype KISS guitars were acquired, including the original Gene Simmons guitars used on the Psycho Circus Tour and the Hot in the Shade Tour as well as the Paul Stanley guitars used on the Alive Worldwide Reunion Tour and the Crazy Nights Tour.

Hard Rock Cafe is the world's original curator of music memorabilia with the most far-reaching collection. The company's collection encompasses 63,000 pieces worth nearly $32 million. The Hard Rock Cafe collection, which celebrates new and legendary music icons, is showcased at Hard Rock Cafes, Hard Rock Live venues and Hard Rock Hotels around the world. A full-time staff oversees all aspects of the Hard Rock collection -- from the initial procurement of an artifact to its maiden installation at a Hard Rock location.

Among the pieces in the collection are photos, guitars and other instruments, clothing and costumes, platinum and gold LPs, posters and album art, and other rare artifacts. Hard Rock Cafe updates the memorabilia displays in its cafes every five years to ensure customers have the best rock music memorabilia and entertainment experience.

In addition to cafes and memorabilia, the Hard Rock brand delivers the ultimate rock experience to music enthusiasts through, Hard Rock Live performances, Hard Rock Records CDs and Hard Rock Hotels. Hard Rock Cafe International USA, Inc. owns and/or franchises a worldwide network of 105 Hard Rock Cafes in 36 countries. The company and its affiliates are subsidiaries of London-based The Rank Group Plc. Hard Rock Cafe is scheduled to open six new locations and one hotel in the year 2000.

SOURCE: Hard Rock Cafe International