Beatles guitar valued at £400,000 on Antiques Roadshow

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The owner Ray (above) said he still plays the 1960s guitar

A “strange” guitar formerly owned by Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison has been valued at up to £400,000 on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.

The prototype fretless guitar, made in the 1960s, appeared in Sunday’s show.

Its current owner recorded sessions for a film company co-founded by Harrison, who asked him to play the guitar.

“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’.”

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George Harrison (right with John Lennon) was a keen guitar collector

Bartell’s of California made the instrument, which the owner, Ray, described as “a strange old thing to play”.

A photograph in the episode shows the guitar among Harrison’s collection.

Antiques Roadshow expert Jon Baddeley said: “What’s really important is the provenance and there it was in the photograph – in George Harrison’s collection. Wow, you can’t do better than that.”

Valuing the guitar at between £300,000 and £400,000, he added: “I think in 25 years it’s by far the most expensive thing I’ve ever seen.”

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Getty Images

Image caption

A guitar used in The Beatles’ last appearance at Liverpool’s Cavern Club sold for £347,000 in 2018

During the episode, filmed at Battle Abbey in Sussex, Mr Baddeley said: “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.”

The owner said he still plays it regularly: “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.”

In 2018, a guitar used by George Harrison at The Beatles’ last appearance at Liverpool’s Cavern Club was sold at auction for £347,000.