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Vintage George Harrison guitar set to be auctioned

A Rickenbacker guitar used by George Harrison on two early TV appearances are among several Beatles items to be sold by Julien's Auctions, the auction house announced March 17.

George Harrison's guitar.
Courtesy Julien's Auctions
The catalog cover for Julien's Auctions upcoming sale with Beatles items.
Julien's Auctions

According to the auction house, the 1962 Rickenbacker 425 guitar was purchased by George Harrison in 1963 in Mount Vernon, Ill. while on a two-week visit to see his sister, Louise. The guitar was originally purchased at Fenton’s Music Store and refinished by the owner from a Fireglo finish to the black George requested to match John Lennon’s similar Rickenbacker. The estimated value is $400,000-$600,000.

The guitar was reportedly used during The Beatles' appearances on “Ready Steady Go!” in October, 1963, on “Thank Your Lucky Stars” that December, and during a week-long tour of Sweden. It was also used by Harrison when the Beatles recorded “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” John Lennon also played the guitar backstage in Glasgow, Scotland on Oct. 5, 1963, according to a 1964 photograph in Beat Monthly.

According to the auction house, Harrison gave the guitar to George Peckham, who had an early association with George Harrison as a member of the Renegades, who played on bills with the Beatles, and later as a member of the Fourmost. He also worked for Apple Records as chief disc cutter, known for putting “A Porky Prime Cut” and other messages in run-out grooves.

Peckham had borrowed a different guitar from Harrison for his own appearance on “Top of the Pops.” Upon returning it, Harrison asked him if he would like to keep a guitar and showed him the Rickenbacker 425. Peckham kept the guitar on the condition it would never be modified. The guitar case was given later to Peckham by Noddy Holder of Slade after Holder said he could not bear to see a Beatles guitar carried around without one.

Other items included in the auction are a Paul McCartney-used Hofner Bass (estimate: $30,000-$50,000) circa 1966 with mother-of-pearl pick guard that was rented by Paul McCartney from Harris Hire in Beckenham, England several times, a copy of “Beatles ‘65” album signed by all four Beatles (estimate $200,000-$300,000) and an autographed “Please Please Me” album (estimate: $40,000-$50,000).

The Music Icons Legends & Rebels auction will take place May 16 and 17. A public exhibiton will be held at the Hard Rock Café New York from May 12-16. For more information, see the auction website.

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