A guitar bought for 70s pop star Alvin Stardust for just over £1, when he was a 12-year-old boy, is now worth more than £1 million.
The budding pop star took his three quarter-sized Spanish guitar everywhere and had it signed by such famous names as Buddy Holly and The Crickets, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and Chuck Berry – among many others.
The 71-year-old star told a BBC Radio 2 programme on Monday night how his parents gave him the guitar for his 12th birthday, in 1954.
“It cost £1 10 shillings, about £1.50 in today’s money” he says. “Although it was not a full size acoustic, to me it was the best guitar in the world.”
In 1958, he saw an advertisement for a concert by Buddy Holly and The Crickets at a cinema in Doncaster, and went there on the bus, from Mansfield where he was living.
“Of course I’d take my guitar with me, by then it had become a part of me” he says.
There were 2,000 people standing outside the cinema, but because he had the guitar, “a path opened up for me”, then a kindly usherette and manager helped him go to meet the group in their dressing room. They ended up singing Holly’s hit Peggy Sue with him and signed his guitar, because there was a pencil available, but no paper.
He was given the best seat in the house, and on return to Mansfield he called the guitar Peggy Sue.
“From that moment, and for over 50 years since, Peggy Sue has stuck, and I love it” he says.
Next to sign the guitar was Bill Haley, followed by Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran, then when Stardust started to tour, under the name Shane Fenton, he received the signatures of acts he was on the road with, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and Joe Brown.
The autographs of The Beatles and Rolling Stones were to follow – and of Chuck Berry, who signed despite being “pretty rude and abrasive” to everyone that day, maybe because he was having a bad day, Alvin says.
“He snatched the pencil and roughly grabbed the guitar, he barely got to scribble Chuck, but scribble he did, and that was all I wanted.”
Alvin says the guitar that was bought for £1 10 shillings has recently been insured for £1.25 million.
Alvin Stardust’s investment in his guitar and his care of it over the years shows that there is a variety of ways of investing for the future. For most of us, though, the most practical way is likely to be putting aside a regular amount in saving and investment plans and topping up with a lump sum whenever we can.
If you invest in stocks and shares the value of the investment can go down as well up and the amount originally invested is not guaranteed.
ncial adviser, you can get details of local financial advisers by visiting www.unbiased.co.uk. Advisers may charge for providing such advice and should confirm any cost beforehand.