Lennon Guitar Left in Attic for Decades Sells for $2.9M

'If you know the chords, Beatles tunes fall out of the sound hole effortlessly'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2024 7:44 AM CDT

In late 1965, John Lennon gave one of his guitars to Gordon Waller of the pop group Peter and Gordon but it doesn't seem to have been a treasured gift. Waller gave it to a road manager, "who took the guitar home, tossed it in the attic, and gave it nary a thought for decades," according to Julien's Auctions. The Framus 12-string Hootenanny acoustic guitar was thought to be lost for more than 50 years but it was discovered by later owners of the home in the British countryside when they were moving house. It was sold for almost $2.9 million at an auction Wednesday, setting a new record for a Beatles guitar, the Guardian reports.

The guitar was sold to a telephone bidder in the auction at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. Lennon and George Harrison both played the guitar while recording the albums Help! and Rubber Soul in 1965, Rolling Stone reports. In the movie Help!, released the same year, Lennon can be seen playing it in "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." The guitar, which Lennon acquired in late 1964, sold for more than triple the estimated price of $600,000 to $800,000, per Rolling Stone. Another acoustic guitar used by Lennon and Harrison, which went missing during a Christmas show in 1963, sold for $2.4 million in 2015.

Auction house co-founder Darren Julien said he traveled to the UK and spoke to Beatles historians to confirm the guitar was genuine, the Guardian reports. "Finding this remarkable instrument is like finding a lost Rembrandt or Picasso, and it still looks and plays like a dream after having been preserved in an attic for more than 50 years," he said. "To awaken this sleeping beauty is a sacred honor." The auction house's listing described several distinctive markings but said "the real proof is in the sound." "If you know the chords, Beatles tunes fall out of the sound hole effortlessly," it said. "Like an audio time capsule from 1965, the Framus is a direct link to those records." (More John Lennon stories.)

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