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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 21. GEORGE HARRISON | 1959 Hofner President 'thinline' semi-acoustic guitar, owned by him and given to Alan Herring.

Property of Alan Herring

GEORGE HARRISON | 1959 Hofner President 'thinline' semi-acoustic guitar, owned by him and given to Alan Herring

Lot Closed

December 13, 02:21 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property of Alan Herring


Hofner President 'thinline' semi-acoustic guitar, 1959

Serial No. 185, 1040 x 420 x 55mm, carved spruce top with natural finish and Hofner transfer, flame maple back and sides, maple and mahogany neck, rosewood 22-fret fingerboard with eight inlaid fret markers, headstock with inlays (floral sprays and lettered "HOFNER"), imitation tortoiseshell scratchplate, plastic control console with two rotary controls and three switches, pickup, label with serial number inside body beneath upper f-hole; modern strings but with set of five vintage strings in a "RotoSound" bag; vintage case (labelled "Guild Case 2516")

"...George gave me this Hofner President... in the summer of 1969, before the release of 'Here Comes the Sun'. I'd gone to George to ask him to show me the chord I was missing from the song 'Here Comes the Sun' which I was trying to teach myself to play. George told me to go and get a guitar from his guitar room, which I did, he described this guitar as 'Blondie' and remarked that a Hofner President was his first good guitar. George showed me the chord then took the guitar from me, and told me, whilst smiling, 'Play it up here at the seventh fret', he then handed the guitar back to me telling me it was mine. He said it needed some work doing on it and gave me a set of strings for it that he thought would be better for me than the ones on the guitar. I played this guitar frequently when waiting for the band whilst they had their long sessions at Abbey Road Studios. One night I was playing in the kitchen at the studios when George came in with Mal Evans. George took the guitar from me and started to play the Simon and Garfunkel song 'Mrs Robinson' delightfully substituting his nickname for me 'Alan Herringbone' for that of Mrs Robinson. This was a very special moment for me - one of the best of my time there..."

A HOME GUITAR OWNED BY GEORGE HARRISON IN THE BEATLES AS A REMINDER OF HIS EARLY YEARS. When the 15-year old Harrison had joined the Quarry Men in 1958 he had brought with him his prized Hofner President, easily the best instrument owned by a member of the band: "Non-electric, but you could buy a pickup for a few pounds that would screw on to the bottom of the fingerboard - which I did, which made the guitar semi-electric ... They had a good range, and each one came either blond or sunburst. Mine was a straight one .. I didn't have an amp to start with. The first thing I ever plugged it into was John's stepfather's radiogram" (Beatles Gear, pp.31-32). In 1959 he sold the President and upgraded to a Hofner Club 40 bought from a member of the Swinging Bluegenes (another Liverpool skiffle group, later the Swinging Blue Jeans).

“This lot is accompanied by a letter of provenance.”

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This lot contains endangered species (Brazilian rosewood - dalbergia nigra) . Sotheby’s recommends that buyers check with their own government regarding any importation requirements prior to placing a bid. For example, US regulations restrict or prohibit the import of certain items to protect wildlife conservation. Please note that Sotheby’s will not assist buyers with the shipment of this lot to the US. A buyer’s inability to export or import these lots cannot justify a delay in payment or sale cancellation.