John Lennon guitar found in attic on auction for more than £600,000

After being used by The Beatles, the guitar then was in the possession of Scottish guitarist Gordon Waller.

Charlotte McLaughlin
Tuesday 23 April 2024 18:55 BST
The Beatles pop group, left to right, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. (PA)
The Beatles pop group, left to right, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. (PA) (PA Wire)

A guitar used by John Lennon is up for auction with an estimate of more than £600,000 after the instrument was found in an attic.

Believed to be lost, the 12-string acoustic guitar, used in the recording of The Beatles’ Help! album and film, had not been seen or played for more than 50 years.

After the Hootenanny model, made by German firm Framus, was used by The Beatles, the guitar was then in the possession of Scottish guitarist Gordon Waller, known for being one half of the pop duo Peter & Gordon, who later gave the item to his band’s road managers.

Decades later new owners, living in the rural British countryside, rediscovered the guitar in the midst of their move and are putting it up for auction with an estimate of £485,000 to £647,000.

Julien’s Auctions will sell it along with the guitar’s Maton Australian-made case as part of its Music Icons two-day auction event next month and believe it could set a “new world record for the highest-selling Beatles guitar”.

The guitar was seen in the scene of the Help! movie when the group perform You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away and it was used during the recording sessions for Help!, It’s Only Love and I’ve Just Seen A Face and Girl along with the rhythm track for Norwegian Wood played by George Harrison.

Darren Julien, co-founder and executive director at Julien’s Auctions said: “The discovery of John Lennon’s Help! guitar that was believed to be lost is considered the greatest find of a Beatles guitar since Paul McCartney’s lost 1961 Hofner bass guitar.

“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. To awaken this sleeping beauty is a sacred honour and is a great moment for music, Julien’s, Beatles and auction history.”

Sir Paul was reunited with his bass guitar, which the Beatle used on famous tracks such as Twist And Shout and She Loves You, in February following a worldwide search.

It was found in an attic of a terraced house on the south coast of England after going missing in the 1970s.

Julien’s Auctions has previously sold Beatles memorabilia for millions of pounds in 2015.

A Lennon acoustic guitar was sold for 2.4 million US dollars (£1.93 million), Ringo Starr’s Ludwig drum kit was purchased for 2.2 million US dollars (£1.77 million), a Ludwig drumhead bass used on The Ed Sullivan Show was auctioned at 2.1 million US dollars (£1.64 million).

Also being sold at the Music Icons auction is an Adam Clayton stage-played and owned rose sparkle Fender bass guitar, used at the U2 Las Vegas Sphere shows, which has an estimate of 50,000 to 70,000 US dollars (£40,199 to £56,279).

Tina Turner’s Versace dress, worn during her 1996 to 1997 Wildest Dreams Tour, and Amy Winehouse’s Black Fendi gown made for the opening of the clothes shop during Paris Fashion Week are also for auction.

The clothes have estimates of around 4,000 US dollars (£3,215).

The items will be exhibited at the Hard Rock Cafe in Piccadilly Circus, London, from Tuesday to Monday before moving to New York’s Hard Rock Cafe.

The auction is on from May 29 to May 30.

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