Beatles History for Sale: George Harrison’s Guitar up for Auction
By Fang Block
May 8, 2018
George Harrison's first electric guitar will be auctioned May 19 in New York. ILLUSTRATION: JULIEN'S AUCTIONS
George Harrison’s first electric guitar will be among the highlights of an upcoming two-day music auction May 18-19 in New York and online, Julien’s Auctions has announced.
While the first day will solely focus on the belongings of the late musician Prince, who died in April 2016 at age 57, the second day will include historic music items from George Harrison, Elvis Presley, and Bob Dylan, among others.
Harrison’s first electric guitar, a Hofner Club 40 that hasn’t been seen in public since 1966, is one of the most highly anticipated items. Harrison played the the guitar in the early days of The Beatles when they performed around Liverpool, England, as The Quarrymen, according to the auction house.
“George Harrison considered the Hofner one of his favorite guitars, which was the third guitar he ever owned,” according to Andy Babiuk, author of “Beatles Gear: The Ultimate Edition.”
“It is one of the most historically important guitars, as it marks the chapter in music history when The Beatles transitioned to a rock and roll band playing electric guitars,” he said in a statement.
Harrison donated the electric guitar to a band competition during The Beatles’ 1966 German tour. The guitar was signed with the Beatles’ names by their road manager, Neil Aspinall.
A German musician won the competition and owned the guitar until he passed away in 2017. His widow offered the guitar for auction, Julien’s said.
The guitar is estimated to fetch between US$200,000 and US$300,000.
In addition, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to “Blowin’ in the Wind” (estimated to sell between US$50,000-US$70,000), Elvis Presley’s 1968 Prototype Fender Telecaster Electric Guitar (estimated to sell at US$90,000-US$100,000), and Eric Clapton’s Epiphone Granada Guitar that he played while performing in the last stages of his years with The Yardbirds (estimated to sell at US$80,000-US$100,000), will also be auctioned during the rock music auction event being held at New York’s Hard Rock Cafe.
“This year’s Music Icons event is the stuff that rock legends are made of,” Darren Julien, president and chief executive of Julien’s Auctions, said in a statement. "Julien’s Auctions is proud to have assembled this auction of incomparable historic music treasures."