Celebrity auctions often feature weird items, like Kurt Cobain’s allegedly stolen credit card and Aaron Hernandez’s jail I.D. card. Otherwise the fare one finds at such events is completely normal — even if it was never actually owned by the purported former celebrity owner. Such is the case for the Maton Mastersound guitar that sold for $485,000 at Julien’s Auctions on Friday. It was once used by George Harrison of The Beatles.
By “once used,” I mean Harrison only came by the guitar as a matter of happenstance. As Rolling Stone points out, his Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar was on the fritz and in need of attention, so while it was in the shop Harrison needed something for the road:
According to Julien’s, the Maton guitar was lent to Harrison by Barratt’s Music Store while the Beatle’s legendary Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar was being repaired. Harrison played the Maton at nearly a dozen concerts during July and August 1963, including a hometown gig in Liverpool.
But because a member of The Beatles had touched the instrument for “nearly a dozen concerts,” its retail value skyrocketed as time passed.
The Maton was eventually returned to Barratt’s and sold soon after to Dave Berry and the Cruisers guitarist Roy Barber. After years of use, the Maton sat in a storage locker for two decades until Barber’s widow auctioned it off at Sotheby’s. Thirteen years later, Harrison’s guitar was back on the auction block, where it was estimated to sell for between $400,000 and $600,000.
Hence where the lucky Julien’s buyer finds his or herself today — with a $485,000-shaped hole that’s hopefully large enough to fit a Maton guitar. Still, that lil’ guitar became a valuable piece of pop music history, and it’s inclusion in the auction (and the price it fetched) make perfect sense.
Still, it’s not quite the same as Harrison’s 1962 Rickenbacker 425, which sold for $657,000 at Julien’s Auctions last year. That’a helluva guitar.
(Via Rolling Stone)