A guitar played by George Harrison while The Beatles recorded I Want To Hold Your Hand could sell for $600,000 at auction this week.
He bought it in the USA while he was visiting his sister then used it in the UK as the Fab Four cut the single that would break them on the other side of the Atlantic.
And when he gave it away to a friend, who sold it years later, Harrison let it be known he was “disappointed” and that he’d think twice about giving similar presents in the future.
Auctioneers Julien’s have also confirmed the Rickenbacker 425, serial number BH439, appeared on TV show Ready Steady Go in October 1963. The following night it was played by John Lennon backstage in Glasgow, before being used at Abbey Road on October 17.
Harrison eventually gave the guitar to his friend George Peckham of The Fourmost, and it was first sold at auction in 1999 – much to the Beatle’s dismay.
In a letter dated October 1999, his wife Olivia told auctioneers Christie’s: “Mr Harrison was disappointed that George Peckham decided to sell it, as he was that Delaney Bramlett put his rosewood Telecaster up for auction. They were given to George and Delany as fellow musicians and friends. It discourages him from giving away anything in the future.”
Peckham confirmed before the auction that the guitar was kept in a case given to him by Slade frontman Noddy Holder, saying: “Noddy said he couldn’t bear to see a Beatles guitar being carried around without a case.”
Since then it’s been displayed at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, the John Lennon Museum in Japan and the Grammy Museum in New York.
Julien’s will auction the Rickenbacker on Saturday, along with a range of Beatles memorabilia and other rock’n’roll items. The instrument has already secured a bid of $400,000.