George Formby’s banjo ukulele to make $38,000

One of George Formby’s Gibson banjo ukuleles is to make around £30,000 ($38,232) at Hansons Auctioneers on June 30.

In his heyday Formby (1904-1961) was the most popular entertainer in Britain.

He started out in the music halls, performing comic songs on the ukulele in his signature style.

George Formby banjo

George Formby was a hugely popular British entertainer 

In the 1930s he started out on a lucrative film career, starring in dozens of movies – including one where he punches Hitler in the face (released in the US as To Hell with Hitler).

During the second world war he joined the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), giving up more lucrative work to tour the UK and Europe and boost morale among troops and factory workers.    

Former George Formby Society president John Croft told the BBC: "There is huge interest in this instrument. George Formby has fans all over the world - young and old…

"In his heyday in the late 1930s, George Formby earned more than three top Hollywood stars put together - Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks and Clark Gable.

"And we should never forget Formby's contribution to boosting morale among the troops during World War Two.

"He and his wife Beryl flew out to dangerous war zones, including El Alamein. This country owes a great deal to them both.

"I hope the instrument stays in the UK but the most important thing is that it is loved and played."

Formby is very warmly remembered in the UK, which could result in a higher sum for this lot. In 2008, Queen guitarist Brian May paid £72,000 ($91,756) for another of Formby’s ukuleles.

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