Guitar used by Beatle George Harrison and which spent 20 years in a Sheffield loft sells for £300k

George Harrison, front left, on stage with The Beatles and the guitar
George Harrison, front left, on stage with The Beatles and the guitar
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A classic guitar once used by The Beatles superstar George Harrison before gathering dust in a Sheffield loft for more than 20 years has sold for more than £300,000.

The rare Australian Maton MS-500 Mastersound is believed to have been used by Harrison, who died in 2001, aged 58, during two classic 1963 gigs.

At the time, the Liverpool supergroup were at the height of their fame, causing hysteria throughout Britain and America.

George is believed to have borrowed the classic, solid wood, six-string for the gigs from Barratt’s music shop in Manchester when his Gretsch was being repaired.

It was later bought by Roy Barber, who was well known in Sheffield and the rhythm guitarist for Dave Berry’s backing band, the Cruisers.

He played on the same bill as The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Roy Orbison – but never played the classic instrument and it was stored in his loft for 20 years.

George Harrison with the guitar and bandmate Sir Paul McCartney behind.

George Harrison with the guitar and bandmate Sir Paul McCartney behind.

It was later exhibited at Sheffield’s long-closed National Centre for Popular Music as part of rock’n’roll history, before the family put it up for sale in 2002, following Roy’s death two years’ earlier, aged 55.

A spokesman for auction house Sotheby’s said at the time: “The guitar is believed to have been played by George Harrison in 1963.

“It is said to be the same one he was photographed playing at the Grafton Rooms, Liverpool, on August 2, and The Queen’s Theatre, Blackpool, on August 4.”

However, after it failed to sell, Mr Barber’s family attracted a private dealer from Leeds, who snapped it up for 23,000.

Tthe 1963 Mastersound electric guitar George Harrison played at a time when Beatlemania was taking flight.

Tthe 1963 Mastersound electric guitar George Harrison played at a time when Beatlemania was taking flight.

Val, Roy’s widow, said at the time: “He never played the instrument because it was a classic and it was just stored in the loft for all those years.”

It has now been auctioned again – reaching 485,000 US dollars, or £312,000 at the music memorabilia sale in New York.

A spokesmen for Julien’s Auctions said “The Australian solid-body guitar has a flame maple natural finish top, dark sides, a sunburst back, mahogany neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard and dot inlays, two pickups, a three-way pickup selector switch, two volume knobs and two-tone knobs with an input jack mounted on a black pickguard, fitted with a Bigsby vibrato and Bigsby bridge.

“The guitar is accompanied by a black-and-white Valex M.323 postcard showing Harrison holding this guitar and letters of authenticity from Barber’s former bandmates Berry, John Fleet and Eric Haydock.”

The instrument fetched more than one of Elvis’ Las Vegas stage suits, which went for 122,000 dollars, or £77,000, and a tank top worn by Madonna, which fetched 25,000 dollars, or £16,000.