Antiques Roadshow values Beatles-owned guitar at £400,000

The guitar is a unique fretless model.

Beatles Fretless Guitar

The fretless guitar that was appraised by the show. Image: BBC

The BBC antiques-appraising programme Antiques Roadshow has valued a guitar once owned by Beatles stars George Harrison and John Lennon at £400,000 in last night’s episode (1 March 2020).

The guitar’s current owner is a former session musician, who revealed that he was given it because he could play it better than Harrison. The guitar itself is a prototype fretless model, made by Bartell’s of California in the 1960s. made the prototype fretless instrument in the 1960s.

As he valued the guitar at between £300,000 and £400,000, antiques expert Jon Baddeley said: “I think in 25 years it’s by far the most expensive thing I’ve ever seen. You know to a guitar collector it’s initially a very rare guitar. Then to somebody who’s a Beatles fan, to own a guitar that was once owned by both John Lennon and George Harrison, can you get a better history? Two of the most important rock stars of the 20th century.”

Despite the mind-shatteringly high value of the instrument, its current owner did admit he still plays it: “I never really thought about value, as George being a mate and all that,” he said. “I don’t know what to say actually, I’m really taken aback by it. I didn’t realise it was worth that much money. It’s lucky I don’t keep it in the house.”

Proof of the guitar’s authenticity came in the form of a photograph shown to the audience by the guitar’s owner, showing George Harrison and the guitar.

In other recent Beatles news, the band’s Apple Corps won out to the tune of $77 million over a fake merchandise lawsuit. None of the 77 defendants appeared in court, and so the ruling defaulted to a $1 million payout per defendant.

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