John Lennon’s Long-Lost Guitar Smashes Auction Record at $2.4 Million
Lennon wrote several Beatles hits with the instrument, including "She Loves You."
A rare Gibson guitar that once belonged to John Lennon sold for a record $2.41 million on Saturday at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles.
The instrument vastly surpassed its pre-sale estimate of $600,000-$800,000, and almost doubled the previous auction record, set by an electric guitar from Bob Dylan’s collection that sold for $965,000 in 2013. The buyer of the coveted instrument has chosen to remain anonymous.
According to AFP, Lennon used the 1962 J-160E Gibson Acoustic model to pen classic Beatles anthems such as She Loves You and All My Loving. Lennon can also be seen playing the instrument in the 1963 music videos for the hits I Want to Hold Your Hand and This Boy.
Lennon bought the guitar at a Liverpool music shop in 1962, and lost it after a Christmas show that The Beatles played in London’s Finsbury Park in 1963. The guitar was rediscovered 50 years later in a secondhand store.
“John so loved this particular guitar that he would take it home and write songs on it with Paul McCartney,” the auction house said in a statement.
According to Reuters, auction house owner Darren Julien described the guitar as “one of the biggest finds in music history.” “John Lennon items don’t come up very often because a lot of people keep them,” he explained. “This was one of his favorite guitars, he talked about wishing he still had it.”
“Wood grain is like a fingerprint, no two are the same […] It is without a doubt one of the most historically important guitars ever to come up for auction,” Beatles scholar Andy Babiuk, who verified the instrument’s illustrious provenance, explained in a press release.
Julien’s Auctions Icons and Idols: Rock n’ Roll sale also included a drumhead that featured in The Beatles’s first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, which sold for $2.12 million. It was touted as the Beatles’ most iconic drop-T logo drumhead, and the only one to appear on an album cover.
Meanwhile, Elvis’s gold leaf piano was hammered down at $600,000, while a white leather outfit worn by him sold for $56,250. A cardigan worn by Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain sold for for $137,000.
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