John Lennon’s Lost Guitar Sells for $2.4 Million at Auction

John Lennon Guitar
ITV/REX Shutterstock

An acoustic guitar that John Lennon used to record such Beatles hits as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” nabbed a whopping $2.4 million at an auction Saturday.

The Beverly Hills auction house Julien’s Auctions announced the sale of the 1962 J-160E Gibson Acoustic guitar on Saturday and called it “the most important Beatle guitar ever to hit the auction block.” The guitar had been missing for 50 years, since it mysteriously disappeared after a concert 1963, according to a release from the auction house.

Lennon originally purchased the guitar in 1962 for £161, and Beatles bandmate George Harrison bought an identical one at the same time. Lennon replaced his guitar with a 1964 model after the first one went missing.

The guitar resurfaced after a man noticed similarities between a guitar in his collection to that of one in a magazine story about Harrison’s guitar collection, says the release. An expert in the subject was able to confirm that it was in fact Lennon’s guitar.

Other hits Lennon recorded on the instrument include “All My Loving,” “Please, Please, Me,” “From Me to You” and “From Me to You.”

The final sales price massively exceeded the auction house’s estimates, which had it selling at $600,000-$800,000. The company also sold the drumhead used on the Beatles’ breakthrough performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for $2.05 million on Saturday.

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  1. stephen Hurely says:

    Its amazing how all the media has changed the whole history, for something so well documented. John Lennon bought a Guitar. As Harrison, not this one. The part that we do not know is why, George Harrison gave it away ? It was his guitar to do so, He kept Lennons Guitar recorded by a Bill of sale. Any logical thinker would go back to when they bought it and why ?.

    Brain Epstine, wanted them to look good in 62, So new guitars were bought, no doubt here same story, The Guitar Lennon was last seen playing was very scratched, many knocks. The other one still in good condition, As it was Harrison he gave it away as he states clearly in a Film at Manchester studios, while watching a clip of the song Oh boy 1976, Because Lennon cuased the damage, Harrison kept his.

    At least your reporting here does not state, he wrote many early hits on it, Fact is he may have written one song, That was never a hit single, But his account of even that song being written, does match others, If Lennons is the true verision, Nothing was written on this Guitar.

    The Video put out by the Auction house on the eve of sale was full of false facts, All people had to do was Google the Songs history to see through it. Claim he wrote Love me Do, Please Please me and their first number 1, Written on a Piano, I want to hold your hand. If i was the buyer, would write a new song Mug Mug Me Do, Because they most certainly was.

  2. Lennon never used the Gibson J-160 recording She Loves You, I want to Hold Your Hand, and All My Loving. He used the Rickenbacker. There is no acoustic guitar in those cuts.

    • Bill Ritchie says:

      He actually DID use this guitar on those songs listed… People assume it was always the just the Rickenbacker, but first and foremost, the J-160E is actually an electric and when plugged into an amp or “board”, it sounds like any P-90 equipped Gibson electric. Also, it’s construction is that of an electric hollow body, with ladder bracing, laminated wood sides, back and top. True, it LOOKS like an acoustic… But it’s really not.

  3. Cee Gee says:

    Interesting that when the Beatles first started out, a young gal who was in her late teens was hired to be their assistant and she eventually was in charge of the Beatles Fan Club and corresponded regularly with the fans. In the early years, pretty much anything the fans wanted from the Fab 4 she supplied….like auto graphs, pics, and even clothes they had slept in, etc….She accumulated a vast amount of Beatle items which she continued to give out to the fans….even for some time after they broke up. She did not get “rich” on any of it and was still employed as a clerical when they broke up after she lost her job with them and lives very modestly. There is a movie (her name, Freida, is in the title) on Netflix on her story and she did show a few boxes of Beatle memorabilia that she had in her attic, but nothing in comparison to what she had given away to fans. She also will not write a “tell all” book or do interviews of what she knows about their personal lives….which I am sure she is very knowledgeable about…and she could easily make a fortune on.

  4. Tom Perry says:

    I read ages ago that McCartney still has the Hofner bass with the set list of their last concert in 1966 in San Francisco taped to the back. Wonder how much that would go in auction

  5. Je vizzusi says:

    So lets all wonder where those iconic vox super Beatle amps have gone? Or what about pauls violin shaped hoftner bass? Or George’s gretch lead guitars? I’m sure ringo has boxes filled with used drum sticks just waiting for the auction block. And lets not forget the groupie that clipped a piece of hair from John’s mop top, where is that?… unbelievable, if it was a martin, it would of sold much higher. (Sorry gibson)

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