A Maton Mastersound MS500 electric guitar, authenticated to have been played by George Harrison during a series of concerts by the just starting Beatles in 1963, sold for almost half a million dollars (£312,000) at Julien's Auctions last Friday. The exclusive auction event, which happened at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square, offered one of the most amazing assembly of Rock n' Roll royalties that includes unique guitars from the world's iconic musicians, and memorabilia from The Beatles.
The $485,000 Maton electric guitar, fitted with a Bigsby bridge and Bigsby Vibrato, features an Australian solid body with mahogany neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard, flame maple natural finish top, a sunburst back, dark sides, and dot inlays, two volume knobs, two-tone knobs with an input jack mounted on a black pickguard, two pickups, and a three-way pickup selector switch, according to Julien's.
The Barratts Music Store in Manchester has loaned the Maton guitar to the musician George Harrison while his Gretsch Country Gentleman electric guitar was under repair. The Beatles guitarist however retained the guitar even after his Country Gent was returned. Harrison used the Maton at closely a dozen live performances from July to August 1963, which includes a hometown concert in Liverpool.
Roy Barber, Dave Berry and the Cruisers' guitarist, purchased the Maton guitar after its return to the Barratts Music Store. Barber played the guitar for several years and he deposited it in a room locker for twenty years until the widow of Barber auctioned off the electric guitar at Sotheby's in 2002. After thirteen years, the Maton Mastersound electric guitar returned to Julien's lot with an estimated range of $400,000 up to $600,000.
Julien's recent auction bragged hundreds of rare items, from guitars played by Carlos Santana, Michael Jackson's black sequined glove from the HIStory period that hit a high bid of $46,875 and an American flag tank top Madonna showed off during her 2001 Drowned World trek, which sold for $25,600.
Elvis Presley's 1967 marriage certificate to Priscilla Presley (née Beaulieu) was owned by an unknown bidder for over $41,000 but the largest auction item from the King, both bid-wise and literally, was Presley's 1976 MCI Crusader tour bus with the "Takin' Care of Business" logo and motto. The 40-foot vehicle was successfully sold at $263,000.
George Harrison's 1962 Rickenbacker 425 was a huge success with a high bid of $657,000, which exceeded the $600,000 estimate, last year at the same auction. The Beatles used that musical instrument in their debut performance on the TV show "Ready Steady Go!" in October 1963 and on Thank Your Lucky Stars in December 1963.
Photo: Ronald Saunders | Flickr