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Harrison guitar sells for $650k

The Rickenbacker 425 guitar played by George Harrison on Beatles hit I Want To Hold Your Hand has sold at auction for $657,000.

The sale beat the estimated price of between $400,000 and $600,000 when it went under the hammer in New York at the weekend.

Harrison bought the instrument in the US while visiting his sister, then used it on the other side of the Atlantic as the Fab Four recorded the 1963 single that would break them in the States.

He later gave it to his friend George Peckham of the Fourmost, who sold it in 1999. Confirming the guitar was genuine ahead of an auction 15 years ago, the Beatle’s wife Olivia said: “Mr Harrison was disappointed that George decided to sell it. It discourages him from giving away anything in the future.”

Other lots in the Julien’s sale on Saturday included a bass rented by Paul McCartney, which went for $125,000; an anti-war placard signed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which raised $187,000; and an Elvis Presley jumpsuit, which reached $197,000.

The most expensive guitar ever sold was the Fender Strat played by Bob Dylan during his groundbreaking electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. It made $965,000 at auction last year.

Martin Kielty

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.