1956 Egmond 105/0 Toledo Flat Top

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According to Paul McCartney, George Harrison’s first guitar was actually a homemade Hawaiian style solid-body. Apparently, it turned out well but the action was quite high.
Harrison’s second guitar was a Dutch-made instrument, the Egmond 105/0 Toledo Flat Top. It was a primitive steel-strung Spanish style beginner’s instrument. The Sunburst finished Toledo was distributed in the U.K. by Rosetti and listed in their catalogue as model 276. Rosetti noted that the 276 was the cheapest model in their range.
The history of Egmond guitars is an interesting one. In 1940, former railroad station-chief Uilke Egmond and his three sons Gerard, Dick and Jaap started to build guitars in a small workshop in Best, Holland. This workshop burned down two or three times, but despite that production and sales of Egmond guitars continued to go up.
Egmond became known in Europe for producing low-quality, low-cost guitars whose availability to budding young guitar players in the 1950’s was essential. In 1961, the Egmond guitar factory was formally established.
With the beginning of the Beat boom era, guitar building and selling expanded rapidly and soon more than 200 guitar builders were employed by the factory. As a result, Egmond became one of the largest guitar manufacturers in Europe. In addition to the factory, the Egmond family also ran the Musica music store. Egmond would cease to exist in the early 1980’s.
The Toledo was the guitar on which a young Harrison would learn all his first chords. Even then, in order to improve the playability of the guitar, Harrison would try adjusting its action. In one instance, accidentally unscrewing the neck from the body, Harrison would be unable to put it back together again.
Embarrassed, he would hide the Toledo away in a cupboard for a few weeks. Eventually, Harrison’s brother, Peter, also a budding guitarist himself, would come to the rescue and fix the Toledo.
Harrison would make his show business debut with the Toledo in 1957 at the Speke British Legion Club, where his skiffle band, The Rebels, would play their one and only gig.
There is really no way to know for certain what happened to George Harrison’s little Egmond. In the mid-1980’s, an Egmond Toledo guitar was auctioned off in London and displayed at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and then at The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool. However, close inspection of photographs raises valid doubts about its authenticity.
The 1956 Egmond 105/0 Toledo in our collection is identical to Harrison’s guitar.
A very young George Harrison with his Egmond 105/0 Toledo (Rosetti 276) guitar.

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