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Paul McCartney reunited with long-lost ‘treasure’ (PHOTO)

The violin-shaped Hofner 500/1 bass guitar, potentially worth $12 million, was stolen from the Beatles’ van over 50 years ago

An iconic violin-shaped bass guitar purchased by Beatles legend Paul McCartney in 1961 and thought to have been lost for more than 50 years has finally been returned to the musician, following a global search. 

The Hofner 500/1 was bought by McCartney before the Beatles became a worldwide phenomenon and was his first bass guitar. He used it at hundreds of concerts throughout the ‘Beatlemania’ period, as well as to record the band’s first two albums, including hits such as Love Me Do, Twist and Shout, and All My Loving. The instrument was stolen from the back of a van in London after a show in October 1972. 

In 2018, a group of fans launched an international hunt for the long-lost item, dubbed the ‘Lost Bass project’. Hofner, the manufacturer of the instrument, also joined in, starting the hashtag #tracingthebass and encouraging people from all over the world to help find the instrument. After pursuing a number of leads and garnering worldwide attention, the group eventually struck success.

On Tuesday, British film student Ruaidhri Guest shared a picture on social media announcing that the bass, which he had inherited, had been returned to McCartney. According to The Telegraph, the instrument was sent to Hofner back in December but has since been undergoing an authentication process.

According to the Lost Bass project’s website, the item has sustained minimal damage and will only require minor repairs to make it playable again. It was also noted that it came with its original case.  

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McCartney’s official website released a statement confirming that the guitar had been returned to the musician after being authenticated. 

McCartney himself previously said that he “fell in love” with the Hofner 500/1, which he originally purchased for £30 in 1961 – the equivalent of $847 in 2023 when accounting for inflation. According to Hofner executive Nick Wass, the guitar could now be valued “more like a Van Gogh or a Picasso than just an instrument,” and could be worth more than $12 million.

February 16, 2024 at 05:19PM

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