John Lennon's guitar, lost for 50 years, sells for a record $2.85 million

Where can you see John Lennon's lost guitar in New York?


Where can you see John Lennon's lost guitar in New York?

00:46

A piece of music history has been sold for a record price.

John Lennon's Framus Hootenanny 12-string acoustic guitar was used by Lennon and Beatles bandmate George Harrison during recording sessions for the albums 'Help!' from the band's 1965. and 'Rubber Soul', according to Julien's Auctions, which sells celebrity pieces. The guitar was also featured in outtakes for the comedy film “Help!” of the Beatles.

Lennon bought the guitar in late 1964, the auction house said, and it was photographed during recording sessions. Handwritten notes from producer George Martin indicated that Lennon and Harrison each used the instrument on “You've Got to Hide Your Love Away,” according to Julien's. The guitar was also played on songs like 'It's Only Love', 'I've Just Seen a Face' and 'Girl' – and of course 'Help!'

A close-up of an acoustic guitar.
Lennon's guitar.

Julien's auctions


At the end of 1965 the guitar was donated by Lennon to Gordon Waller of the pop duo Peter & Gordon. Harrison and Lennon had written songs for the couple, according to the auction house. Later, Waller would give the guitar to a manager, who stored it in his attic for decades, leaving a piece of music history to collect dust.

The auction house did not specify how they found the guitar more than 50 years after it was last seen, but said the instrument's authenticity has been confirmed by musician and “Beatles Gear” author Andy Babiuk. The guitar was identified thanks to its distinctive markings, including what the auction house described as a “telltale wood grain” and “swirl of tortoiseshell material on the pickguard.”

“With the Hootenanny, the real proof is in the sound. When you strum it, it immediately identifies itself as “that” guitar. If you know the chords, Beatles melodies fall effortlessly from the soundhole,” the auction house said. “Like an audio time capsule from 1965, the Framus is a direct link to those records.”

The guitar was sold at auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square in New York City. The final bid was $2,857,500, making the instrument the fifth most expensive guitar ever sold.

Also included in the sale was the guitar case, which was also photographed with the Beatles, and some Beatles memorabilia, including a DVD of “Help!”

No information was shared about the guitar's new owner, although the auction house described the buyer as “the keeper of a piece of Lennon's soul, a tangible link to the creative energy that flowed through him and touched the lives of millions.”

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