George Formby ukuleles fetch thousands at auction

Two instruments played by comedy legend George Formby have fetched almost £24,000 at an auction in Derbyshire.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 1:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 2:38 pm
One of the ukulele banjos that were used by George Formby

Phone, internet and room bidders battled to own a Keech ukulele - used by the entertainer in the 1935 film No Limit, and a Dallas model D ukulele-banjo.

The Keech sold to a private UK buyer for a hammer price of £8,400 from a guide price of £5,000-£7,000.

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One of the ukulele banjos that were used by George Formby

With buyer's premium, the total price paid was £11,414.

The Dallas D ukulele-banjo sold to a room bidder for a total price of £12,493 at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, near Derby.

Buyer of the Dallas D, Anthony Mason, 61, a painter and decorator and bar owner from Salford, Greater Manchester, said: "I would have paid more. I've liked George Formby for years, since I was a boy.

"We own Mason's Cafe Bar in Boothstown, Worsley, Manchester, and we'll probably have a Formby night to celebrate."

Anthony Mason with one of George Formby's ukuleles

Claire Howell, music valuer and auctioneer at Hansons, said: "I'm delighted for both buyers. These are incredible instruments to own with a rich provenance and pedigree.

"The Keech was used in film No Limit, which is particularly popular with Formby fans. It's about the TT motorcycle race and it's still shown in the Isle of Man during TT race week.

"It set him on his way to becoming the UK's best-paid entertainer."

George Formby was born in Wigan in 1904, and sadly died of a heart attack in Preston in 1961.

A selection of memorabilia that also went up for auction
George Formby and his ukelele amongst a crowd of war workers during a free concert in the north of England