George Harrison passed away in 2001, but his legend lives on through the countless Beatles hits that still resonate with fans, and through the instruments of his trade. One of those instruments, a 1962 Rickenbacker 425 black-and-white electric guitar, sold at auction over the weekend for a tidy sum, surprising one man who was with Harrison when he bought it.
“$657,000? Oh boy, I had that thing in my hands. It cost more than my house, I know,” said 81-year old Gabe McCarty.
Harrison played the guitar on various television shows during appearances with The Beatles, and also used it to record songs like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “This Boy” just before the band blew up in the U.S. He bought the guitar in Mount Vernon, Illinois during a visit with his sister, which was when McCarty met him. Harrison told McCarty–who was also a musician–that he was looking to buy a specific guitar while he was in America.
“He wanted one like John had. He said he’d like to buy one while he was in the United States,” McCarty said.
The Julien’s Auctions sale of rock and roll memorabilia was held at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, where items such as one of Lady Gaga’s cars and a white jumpsuit worn by Elvis was also sold. Nothing fetched as high a price as the guitar, however, but McCarty says that after the initial sticker shock wore off he wasn’t surprised.
“It’s a collector’s item,” he said.
The winning bidder’s name hasn’t been released, but whoever it was now owns a piece of history with an added bonus; according to TheSouthern.com, there’s a photo of John Lennon backstage at a Glasgow concert playing Harrison’s guitar.
Image via Wikimedia Commons