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Speaking to the Antiques Trade Gazette, Mr Dyke, an avid collector of banjos and ukeleles and a professional player – stage name Ray Bernard – said: “I would have bid £1750 for this ukelele without its provenance. Martin 3K ukeleles were made of Hawaiian koa wood rather than the usual mahogany and were very popular in the 1920s and early 1930s in styles 1, 2, 3 with 5 being the most expensive. There was number 4 and all styles were dropped after WW2. I am in contact with the vendor of this ukelele and we will do more research on the provenance via the George Formby Society archives and in particular George’s diaries.” The guitar manufacturing firm of C.F. Martin was established in 1833 in Nazareth, Pennsylvania making their first ukelele in 1907.

In 1939 the buck-toothed, squeaky voiced ukelele player, George Formby was Britain's most popular and highest-paid entertainer with estimated earnings of around £100,000 from his 20 feature films and recordings such as Leaning on A Lamppost (1937), and When I’m Cleaning Windows (1936). In 1940, in a dream sequence in his movie Let George Do It, George descends from a balloon in the middle of a Nazi rally to smack Adolf Hitler in the chops. The Mass Observation national survey project discovered that this was the biggest morale-booster of the war.

George Formby owned several banjo ukeleles and his best-loved, the 1927 Ludwig Banjo Uke was sold around 1991 to the late ex-Beatle and avid Formby collector, George Harrison, for a rumoured £35,000. This was one of the few items not included in an auction held in Blackpool after Formby’s death in 1961.