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©AP / George Harrison's guitar
© AP / George Harrison's guitar
Early George Harrison guitar fetches $657,000 at Beatles auction

(Reuters) - An electric guitar played by George Harrison on British television before the Beatles' U.S. "invasion" fetched $657,000 at auction on Saturday in New York, topping pre-sale estimates, Julien's Auctions said.

Harrison, who died in 2001 at age 58, played the black-and-white 1962 Rickenbacker 425 electric guitar on 1963 appearances on the British TV shows "Ready Stead Go!" and "Thank Your Lucky Stars" with the Beatles.

Harrison also played the guitar during the sessions when the Beatles recorded "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy" in October 1963, months before they brought "Beatlemania" to the United States, launching the British Invasion of rock bands.

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The guitar was estimated to sell between $400,000 and $600,000, Julien's said ahead of the auction.

Harrison bought the guitar in 1963 in Mount Vernon, Illinois, while visiting his sister in the United States, the auction house said.

Also sold at the auction was a handwritten placard with doodles signed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono from their 1969 anti-war "bed-in" in Montreal, which fetched $187,000. A Hofner bass rented by Paul McCartney in the mid-1960s sold for $125,000.

Other notable sales from the auction included a white jumpsuit worn by Elvis Presley during a 1971 concert that fetched $197,000, and 1990 red Rolls-Royce Corniche III convertible owned and used by Lady Gaga that sold for $125,000.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Matt Driskill)

38Comments
May 19, 2014 4:31PM
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Of course the value of the guitar is based on the history and the fact George Harrison played it and it is well documented.  It will never be played and will be in a museum or in some rich persons house until he is bored with it.  Then another rich dude or museum will buy it.  Don't know the sound of that guitar but it is old and would need major restoration to make it playable and that would reduce its value anyway.
May 19, 2014 1:50PM
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in the very early days the beatles stayed away from fender guitars - because they didn't want to sound like the british 'surf' band, 'the shadows', who were very, very popular in britian. later on, after they were popular in america and well established, they switched to almost entirely fender guitars and amps for recording.
May 19, 2014 1:44PM
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he played this back in the very early days before ed sullivan. as a solidbody 6 string ric, it's not a very good sounding guitar. he pretty much abandoned it. ric actually sent him one of their first 360/(370?)12 strings off the production line. he played in 'a hard day's night' and went on to use it a lot. that's a cool, trippy-sounding guitar.

 

solidbody ric 6 strings have almost no resale value unless there's some history (like this) associated with them. tom petty likes ric solidbody 12 strings, but i've never seen him play a 6 string model.

 

for ed sullivan george played a gretsch chet atkins type electric, which he continued to use, and kind of became his signature guitar for a time.

May 19, 2014 9:37AM
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I HAVE RICKENBACKER WANNABE 12 STRING AND I LOVE IT!! I PAID $400.00 ON LINE FOR IT!!!
May 19, 2014 8:16AM
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Frankly .. anyone who pays these ridiculous prices on things like this, Baseball cards and such are fools .. but that is their business .. no guitar or glove or anything else used by an accomplished person is worth $$$$$$$$$$$$$ ... it wasn't the item that was great, it was the person using it, and Harrison playing My Sweet Lord  would be perfection on anything ... this, his acoustic or any other guitar
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