Wigan-born comedy legend George Formby's ukuleles sold at auction for £24k

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

Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 8:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th March 2019, 9:48 am
George Formby

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

Other news: Thug who punched pregnant girlfriend in the stomach walks free from courtThe Keech sold to a private UK buyer for a hammer price of £8,400 from a guide price of £5,000 to £7,000.

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

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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, 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, and we’ll probably have a Formby night to celebrate.”

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.”

Formby was born in Westminster Street, Wigan, in 1904 and rose to fame in the 1920s after following his namesake father into showbusiness, purchasing a ukulele and marrying fellow performer Beryl Ingham.

He spent the Second World War entertaining troops on the battlefield and famously defied apartheid-era South Africa when he insisted on performing for racially-mixed audiences.