The guitar, a unique fretless hollowbody design from short-lived manufacturer Bartell, was valued at £300,000 – £400,000.
Antiques Roadshow has featured a rare guitar that was once owned by John Lennon and George Harrison, now worth up to £400,000.
Bartell guitars were produced in California from 1964 to 1969, with just 2000 instruments ever built. The guitar, seemingly passed on from Lennon to Harrison to the current owner, a gentleman named Ray, is a prototype from this time.
Ray was a session musician for HandMade Films, the production company co-founded by Harrison when he mortgaged his home to fund Monty Python’s Life Of Brian. Harrison asked Ray to play the guitar in one of these sessions.
“I played a few notes and he said: ‘Yeah, you’re definitely getting more out of it than I am. It’s doing better for you, why don’t you have it’.”
Antiques Roadshow valuator Jon Baddeley said of the instrument “I think in 25 years it’s by far the most expensive thing I’ve ever seen.”
Ray said he still plays the unusual instrument, saying “I never really thought about value, as George being a mate and all that.”
“I didn’t realise it was worth that much money. It’s lucky I don’t keep it in the house.”
Other guitars formerly owned by Harrison have achieved sky-high prices at auction. Harrison’s first electric guitar, a Hofner Club 40, reached $430,000USD at auction in 2018 after being estimated at $200,000USD – $300,000USD. Also in 2018, a Maton Mastersound MS-500 used by Harrison at the Beatles’ final appearance at Liverpool’s Cavern Club reached £347,000 at auction.