To say the least guitar values ain’t what they used to be. Not so long ago collectable instruments were fetching record values at auction and models with rock star connections were achieving the highest prices. Then the financial crisis arrived and guitar values mirrored the stock market with a massive plummet.
Unlike classic cars and high end watches which proved to be the best investments in recent years, guitars fared badly but with the world emerging from the recession many believed prices would start to rise once more. Clearly collector Hank Risan thought so as he recently chose to auction off a significant portion of his assemblage of rare instruments. There was much optimism in the air when the guitars went up for sale but things didn’t turn out according to plan.
The auction proved to be a major disappointment for all concerned with many of the instruments failing to attract a single bid and those which did find a buyer being sold at just a fraction of the projected prices. Clearly faith in the guitar market has not returned. Now there is another auction on the horizon and one wonders what will happen there.
The Beetles Connection
George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 425 (1962) is up for sale next month with an estimated price tag of £360,000. In the light of recent sales, or rather the lack of them, this may seem ambitious but then we are talking about the Beetles here! The guitar in question cost Harrison around $400 and was purchased in a shop in Illinois. The instrument was originally orange but Harrison had it refinished in black to match another guitar owned by John Lennon.
The History of the Guitar
Harrison played the guitar in many performances and on the hit “I want to hold Your hand” which launched the Beetles’ success in America. He later gifted the guitar to his friend George Peckham who was a music engineer and musician and who been a supporting act for the Beetles before they hit the big time.
Different Day, Same Old?
The guitar is one of the most important and significant Beetles artefacts to come up for sale and has been on display at the Grammy Museum and the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Nonetheless there have to be doubts over the value of the instrument in the current climate. The Hank Risan collection was mainly acoustic instruments which flopped, this is an electric model with a Beetles connection and so comparisons are difficult. It could sell for massively more than the estimate or it could prove to be another major disappointment.
Music enthusiasts, Beetles fans, collectors and investors will all have a keen eye on the forthcoming auction. It will be another important measure of guitar values but this is such a one off lot that whatever happens it will be hard to say what the price really means for the market in general. Despite the current climate I think this one just might go against the tide and reach a record price but we will see!
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and music lover who is keeping an eye on guitar prices