A very special ukulele was amongst other Formby items auctioned by Hansens Auctioneers in Etwell, Derbyshire on 19 March 2019 when various lots, which had been the property of GFS member George Johnson were put under the auctioneers hammer. The instrument in question was the Keech wooden ukulele that George used in the 1936 released film, “No Limit”. Also in the sale was a Dallas D instrument that Mr Johnson, who passed away in 2018, purchased from Beryl Formby in 1952. The Keech was sold privately for a hammer price of £8,400 plus commission and the Dallas was sold for a hammer price of £10,000 to Mr Anthony Mason (not the GFS member of the same name) of Salford, Mr Mason owns Masons Restaurant Bar in Manchester. He intends to hold a Formby night in his restaurant so maybe GFS members will have the chance to get acquainted with another George Formby owned instrument? Mr Mason said: "I've liked George Formby for years, since I was a boy. I even visit his grave in Warrington cemetery. I knew the ukulele was up for sale and just wanted it." Claire Howell, music memorabilia expert at Hansons, said: "These are incredible instruments to own with a rich provenance and pedigree." Ms Howell said: "(Mr Johnson) bought the banjo-ukulele) direct from the star's wife, Beryl Formby, in 1952 for £14. "He was such a huge Formby fan he owned seven ukuleles altogether and accumulated a large archive of Formby memorabilia. Some of the other items from Mr Johnson's collection, including Formby bow ties and an original script for the 1942 Formby film “Much Too Shy”, were also sold. Mr Johnson had passed the collection, including other vintage instruments, records and photos, to his children. I am not sure if the George Formby Society was bidding for any items but I know that at least three Society members were successful with bids. PP 23/03/2019
Iconic No Limit ukulele in sale

From the auction catalogue

Keech ukulele - used by George Formby.

Reference letters included covering purchased of instrument from Mrs Welsh, who has earlier purchased the instrument at the Beryldene auction in 1961, lot number 444, following Formby's death, and subsequent research by George Formby Society member identifying it as having been used by Formby in the film "No Limit", the instrument has a split in the back panel, present at the time of the auction Taken from the letter from Pat Howson addressing George Johnson regarding the original auction of George Formby's estate, dated 26th April 1961: Dear Mr Johnson, As you may have heard George's family are contesting his will. With these circumstances I can have nothing, the execution of the will is having everything auctioned. If you wish to contact him, he is Mr J Gowther, 34 Park Road, St Annes Lancs. I am very sad about all this but there is nothing I can do. Yours Sincerely, Pat Howson
Leigh Raybould with the Dallas D
George Formby uses the Keech in the film No Limit

From the auction catalogue

Ukulele banjo, Dallas model D

Birdseye maple finish, badged George Formby, In case

Serial number D1001 (third zero over-stamped "1")Both serial numbers on the

D model and the E model were not identical, nevertheless they were very sim-

ilarly styled and they were both definitely the prototypes given to Formby to

test by George Houghton & Sons, Birmingham 1936.

The Formby range was first brought out for public sale in

1938.Provenance; used by George Formby on stage (reference letters in-

cluded covering purchase of instrument from Beryl Formby in 1952; the

letters may also explain how clients father acquired the Dallas model C

instrument, see item 4) the George Formby badge has been blacked

out for stage use.

The original vellum (marked up in feint pencil with key and song

titles for stage use) plus the original strings are also included.

Clients father understood this to be one of four model D in-

struments owned by Formby. Possibly also used in a

Formby film (see subsequent research by George Formby

Society member identifying a Dallas model D as having

been used for "Auntie Maggie's Remedy" in the George

Formby film "Turned out nice Again")

Andy Eastwood demonstrates the two important ukes
A very special ukulele was amongst other Formby items auctioned by Hansens Auctioneers in Etwell, Derbyshire on 19 March 2019 when various lots, which had been the property of GFS member George Johnson were put under the auctioneers hammer. The instrument in question was the Keech wooden ukulele that George used in the 1936 released film, “No Limit”. Also in the sale was a Dallas D instrument that Mr Johnson, who passed away in 2018, purchased from Beryl Formby in 1952. The Keech was sold privately for a hammer price of £8,400 plus commission and the Dallas was sold for a hammer price of £10,000 to Mr Anthony Mason (not the GFS member of the same name) of Salford, Mr Mason owns Masons Restaurant Bar in Manchester. He intends to hold a Formby night in his restaurant so maybe GFS members will have the chance to get acquainted with another George Formby owned instrument? Mr Mason said: "I've liked George Formby for years, since I was a boy. I even visit his grave in Warrington cemetery. I knew the ukulele was up for sale and just wanted it." Claire Howell, music memorabilia expert at Hansons, said: "These are incredible instruments to own with a rich provenance and pedigree." Ms Howell said: "(Mr Johnson) bought the banjo-ukulele) direct from the star's wife, Beryl Formby, in 1952 for £14. "He was such a huge Formby fan he owned seven ukuleles altogether and accumulated a large archive of Formby memorabilia. Some of the other items from Mr Johnson's collection, including Formby bow ties and an original script for the 1942 Formby film Much Too Shy”, were also sold. Mr Johnson had passed the collection, including other vintage instruments, records and photos, to his children. I am not sure if the George Formby Society was bidding for any items but I know that at least three Society members were successful with bids. PP 23/03/2019
Iconic No Limit ukulele in sale

From the auction catalogue

Keech ukulele - used by George Formby.

Reference letters included covering purchased of instrument from Mrs Welsh, who has earlier purchased the instrument at the Beryldene auction in 1961, lot number 444, following Formby's death, and subsequent research by George Formby Society member identifying it as having been used by Formby in the film "No Limit", the instrument has a split in the back panel, present at the time of the auction Taken from the letter from Pat Howson addressing George Johnson regarding the original auction of George Formby's estate, dated 26th April 1961: Dear Mr Johnson, As you may have heard George's family are contesting his will. With these circumstances I can have nothing, the execution of the will is having everything auctioned. If you wish to contact him, he is Mr J Gowther, 34 Park Road, St Annes Lancs. I am very sad about all this but there is nothing I can do. Yours Sincerely, Pat Howson
Leigh Raybould with the Dallas D
George Formby uses the Keech in the film No Limit

From the auction catalogue

Ukulele banjo, Dallas model D

Birdseye maple finish, badged George Formby, In case

Serial number D1001 (third zero over-stamped "1")Both

serial numbers on the D model and the E model were not

identical, nevertheless they were very similarly styled and

they were both definitely the prototypes given to Formby

to test by George Houghton & Sons, Birmingham 1936.

The Formby range was first brought out for public sale in

1938.Provenance; used by George Formby on stage (refer-

ence letters included covering purchase of instrument

from Beryl Formby in 1952; the letters may also explain

how clients father acquired the Dallas model C instru-

ment, see item 4) the George Formby badge has

been blacked out for stage use.

The original vellum (marked up in feint pencil with

key and song titles for stage use) plus the original

strings are also included. Clients father under-

stood this to be one of four model D instruments

owned by Formby. Possibly also used in a

Formby film (see subsequent research by

George Formby Society member identi-

fying a Dallas model D as having been

used for "Auntie Maggie's Remedy" in

the George Formby film "Turned out

nice Again")

Andy Eastwood demonstrates the two important ukes

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