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Rare George Harrison Rickenbacker Guitar To Be Auctioned Off

A 1962 Rickenbacker 425, owned by George Harrison and believed to be the guitar he used on ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ will go up for sale at auction this week. The instrument is expected to sell for somewhere between $400,000 and $600,000.

Julien’s Auctions, which specializes in celebrity memorabilia, says that Harrison bought the guitar at Fenton’s Music in Mount Vernon, IL, when he took a two-week vacation to visit his sister. Although originally produced in the Fireglo finish, Harrison asked the store owner to match John Lennon‘s black Rickenbacker.

It seems that Harrison only played the guitar for a few months. He used it on two high-profile TV apperances — ‘Ready Steady Go!’ in October (embedded above) and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ in December — and a tour of Sweden. By the time the Beatles landed in America, he had switched back to the Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that he played on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ However, during that first Beatles trip he was given a gift by Rickenbacker president Francis C. Hall, the second 360/12-string model ever made. Harrison would popularize the guitar in the film ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ which famously inspired the Byrds to purchase the same instrument.

Harrison eventually gave the 425 to George Peckham, who played in Liverpool band the Fourmost, under the condition that it never be modified. The auction comes with letters from Harrison’s office — one of which was signed by Olivia Harrison — and Peckham that confirm that the guitar had belonged to Harrison. The auction will take place Saturday, May 17.

Next: Top 10 George Harrison Beatles Songs

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