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Thursday, August 19, 1999 Published at 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK


Harrison guitar left gently weeping

Collectors shun rare chance to snap up Harrison guitar

The guitar George Harrison played at the Beatles' last live performance has been withdrawn from auction after it failed to reach its reserve price.

The custom-made rosewood Fender Telecaster was expected to fetch more than £200,000 at the Bonhams sale.

The London auction house decided to remove the lot when the highest offer stood at just £100,000, below the minimum sale price.

George Harrison played the guitar on the roof of the Beatles' Apple building on Saville Row, in what was to be the group's farewell performance.

The 1969 event was not the instrument's only outing. The distinctive Telecaster can also be seen in the 1970 rockumentary Let It Be, which charts the recording of the album of the same name.

"It was also played in the Abbey Road album," said Bonhams entertainment expert Ted Owen. "There hasn't been a guitar with that much prominence ever to appear on the market."

[ image: Bidders let it be]
Bidders let it be
Beatles instruments rarely come up for sale, according to Owen, with the three remaining band members preferring to keep hold of their used equipment.

Bonhams had predicted fierce bidding for the lot, citing the rarity of the guitar and the buoyancy of the market in Beatles collectibles.

The company hopes a buyer willing to meet its price can still be found. "We have got people interested, so we are now waiting to see what their offers are going to be," he said.

The instrument was commissioned by guitar maker Leo Fender as a gift for Harrison in 1968.

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