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Rare Rickenbacker with classic Beatles history up for auction

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Mar 17, 2014 | 11:15am EDT

A 1962 Rickenbacker guitar played by both George Harrison and John Lennon is to be auctioned off in New York in May (14). The instrument will be among the highlight items going under the hammer at the Julien's Auctions Music Icons event at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on 16 and 17 May. Harrison bought the Rickenbacker 425 guitar in 1963 in Mount Vernon, Illinois while visiting his sister Louise. He asked the owner of Fenton's Music store to revamp the axe so it looked just like Lennon's Rickenbacker. The guitarist played his prized possession when the Beatles first performed on TV show Ready Steady Go! in October, 1963, and again during an appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars the following December. A spokesman for Julien's Auction picks up the story: "He also used it during a week-long tour in Sweden. Harrison was photographed with the guitar extensively and the entire band has been photographed posing with the guitar. "George Harrison played the 1962 Rickenbacker in the Abbey Road studios when the Beatles recorded I Want to Hold Your Hand - the song that gave the band their now infamous big break in the United States." Lennon played the guitar backstage before a Beatles performance in Glasgow, Scotland on 5 October, 1963. A photograph published in an August 1964 issue of Beat Monthly magazine shows the Fab Four frontman with the guitar. Harrison gifted the instrument to pal George Peckham, after he asked to borrow one of the Beatles star's guitars for an appearance on British music show Top of the Pops with his band The Fourmost. The Julien's Auction spokesman tells WENN, "Peckham kept the guitar on the condition it would never be modified." Even the guitar's case has a history - Slade singer Noddy Holder reportedly bought it for Peckham when he spotted the guitarist carrying the instrument around. The source adds, "Holder saw Peckham walking around with the guitar without a case and could not personally bear to see a Beatles guitar carried around without one." The Rickenbacker 425 guitar is accompanied by two letters from Harrison's office, which confirm he gave the guitar to Peckham - one from Harrison's wife Olivia and the other from Caroline Foxwell, Harrison's assistant. Other highlights included in the collection of Beatles memorabilia up for sale in New York include a Paul McCartney-used Hofner Bass guitar with mother-of-pearl pick guard, which was often rented by McCartney from Harris Hire in Beckenham, England, and a rare, signed Beatles '65 album.

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