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."

John Lennon.Photo: via Rolling Stone.
John Lennon.
Photo: via Rolling Stone.
The guitar belonging to Lennon that was thought to be lost for half a century. Photo: Reuters

The guitar belonging to Lennon that was thought to be lost for half a century.
Photo: Reuters.

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 AFPLennon 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 Lennon with the valuable Gibson in 1963. <br /> Photo: pinterest.com.

John Lennon with the valuable Gibson in 1963.
Photo: via Pinterest.

“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 Reutersauction 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.

The guitar was Lennon's favorite instrument. Photo: ITV/Rex Shutterstock

The guitar was Lennon’s favorite instrument.
Photo: ITV/Rex Shutterstock

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.

The drum head featured in the Beatles's first appearance at The Ed Sullivan Show.<br>Photo: via Paul Fraser Collectibles

The drumhead featured in the Beatles’s first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.
Photo: via Paul Fraser Collectibles.

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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