Beatles Rickenbacker guitar tops Julien's Auctions at $605,000

The Rickenbacker guitar that George Harrison played as the Beatles recorded their hit single I Want to Hold Your Hand at Abbey Road Studios has sold in Beverly Hills.

The guitar was used to record the single that would launch Beatlemania in the US

The Rickenbacker 425 was bought by Harrison on a visit to his sister's house in Mount Vernon, Illinois and subsequently used throughout the group's early career. It made $605,000 in Julien's Auctions May 17 Music Icons, Legends and Rebels sale, leading among a top selection of music memorabilia.

Harrison bought the 425 from Red Fenton's Music Store in a Fireglo finish, but had it repainted black to match John Lennon's own Rickenbacker.

It then appeared during the Beatles' first appearance on TV show Ready Steady Go! on October 4,1963, as well as Thank Your Lucky Stars in December 1963.

Used during the band's short tour of Sweden in October 1963, it was then played as "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was laid down in Abbey Road Studio. Their fifth single, the song was the first to break the US market, launching Beatlemania.

The guitar was then given to an engineer at Apple Studios in the early 1970s and comes complete with letters of provenance from Harrison's assistants, as well as plenty of photographs of it being played by the band.

Last year, a Vox custom-built guitar played by the Beatles sold for $408,000 at Julien's, demonstrating the ever-increasing value of Beatles memorabilia.

Lennon's Hair Peace sign is an icon of pop culture

As with any music memorabilia sale, Beatles items proved the most popular, with one of John Lennon's Hair Peace signs from his famous anti-war protest selling for $185,000. A signed copy of "With The Beatles" made $31,250.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic fully signed copy of A Hard Day's Night for sale - one of the rarest signed Beatles albums. See our full selection of premium Beatles memorabilia.

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