Fans of defunct cult British rockers The Smiths are busy competing for the bass guitar ANDY ROURKE played all the band's records after he placed it for sale on internet auction site eBAY.

The 20-year-old YAMAHA bb200 instrument was originally valued at $2,400 (GBP1,444), and the bidding has already reached $3,101 (GBP1,863).

The site's describes the guitar thus, "It was purchased in 1983 and put straight to work on all The Smiths records thereafter. The bass has remained in Mr Rourke's possession for twenty years. It's featured in the gatefold cover of HATFUL OF HOLLOW.

"Mr Rourke has also used this bass on all of the records since the demise of The Smiths - THE Pretenders, Sinead O'connor, Badly Drawn Boy and more.

"The bass has a few dings which were inflicted by Andy Rourke + JOHNNY MARR (guitarist) when they figured their new guitars looked a little TOO new!! It's got a thru' neck and plays great. Plugged in, it instantly has that BARBARISM BEGINS AT HOME twang.

"It comes in its original case with a letter from Mr Rourke. This is a rare chance to own a well-documented slice of rock'n'roll history. Mr Rourke will be willing to personally autograph the instrument itself should the winner so wish."

09/10/2003 13:53