An Ultra-Rare Fretless Guitar, Once Owned by John Lennon and George Harrison, Just Appeared on 'Antiques Roadshow'

Manufactured by Bartell's of California in the 1960s, the guitar is valued at over $500,000.
Author:
Publish date:

If you find yourself asking the question: "where would I first hear about an amazing, unique, incredibly rare vintage guitar?" you'd be forgiven for not immediately thinking of the long-running TV series Antiques Roadshow

Lo and behold though, an ultra-rare prototype fretless guitar - once owned by Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison - reared its head on Sunday's episode. Manufactured by Bartell's of California in the 60s, the guitar has been valued at over $500,000.

The guitar's owner, identified as Ray, got ahold of the guitar when he played on sessions for a film company co-founded by Harrison. It was Harrison himself who suggested that he pick it up.

"I played a few notes and he said: 'Yeah, you're definitely getting more out of it than I am,'" Ray told the BBC. "'It's doing better for you, why don't you have it'." 

Antiques Roadshow expert Jon Baddeley highlighted the collectability of the guitar (which Ray described as a "a strange old thing to play") saying "I think in 25 years it's by far the most expensive thing I've ever seen."

"I never really thought about value, as George being a mate and all that," Ray said of the appraisal. 

"I didn't realize it was worth that much money. It's lucky I don't keep it in the house." 

RELATED