The guitar that George was photographed wearing at The Beatles’ final appearance at The Cavern Club is to go under the hammer.The instrument, an Australian-made Maton Mastersound MS-500, is expected to fetch in the region of £300,000 to £400,000 when it is sold in Wiltshire next month.
The Maton guitar was played by George during the summer of 1963 after instrument repair shop Barratts of Manchester loaned it to him while his regular guitar was repaired. George was so taken with the Maton he continued to use it for a series of performances and was photographed with it at The Beatles’ final appearance at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club on August 3 1963. After George eventually returned the Maton guitar to Barratts, it was bought by Roy Barber, the guitarist with Dave Berry And The Cruisers, who went on to have hits with Memphis, Tennessee and The Crying Game.
The guitar remained in storage for several decades but after Barber’s death in 2000, it was exhibited at The Beatles Story museum in Liverpool and auctioned in New York in 2015 for 485,000 dollars. The guitar, which is being sold by a UK private collector, will be auctioned at Gardiner Houlgate auctions in Corsham, Wiltshire, on September 12. It is just one of more than 500 guitars and related items that will be sold alongside rock’n’rock memorabilia, sound equipment and guitar accessories, including a pair of Harrison’s sunglasses.
Auctioneer Luke Hobbs said: “This guitar is something very special – a direct link to the early days of Beatlemania and those era-defining gigs at The Cavern Club. Just touching it makes your fingers tingle.“We’re expecting interest from right around the world. It’s very rare for one of George Harrison’s guitars to come up for auction.“In this case we have excellent provenance including letters and photographs. The guitar is also documented in books about The Beatles.”
A pair of customised Ray-Ban sunglasses from the late 1970s to early 1980s made especially for Harrison, who died in 2001, are expected to fetch more than £3,000.
Between 1961 and 1963, The Beatles gave 292 performances at The Cavern Club but eventually outgrew its capacity. The club was demolished in the early 1970s but in July this year, Paul McCartney played a secret gig at a replica of the famous venue in Liverpool.