John Lennon guitar sells for Beatles record $2,857,500

Julien's calls the guitar the most "important Beatles guitar ever to come to market"

Cover Image for John Lennon guitar sells for Beatles record $2,857,500
The guitar was used by both John Lennon and George Harrison in recording sessions for Beatles albums. (Credit: Julien’s Auctions)

NEW YORK — A guitar used by John Lennon in recording sessions for Beatles albums "Help!" and "Rubber Soul" sold for $2,857,500, including buyer's premium, at Julien’s Auctions on Wednesday morning.

The price is a record for any Beatles guitar, topping the previous record-holder sold by Julien’s in 2015. That Lennon guitar, which he used to compose “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Please, Please Me,” “From Me to You” and “All My Loving” sold for $2.41 million.

Julien’s had placed an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 on the guitar. (Credit: Julien's Auctions)
Julien’s had placed an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 on the guitar. (Credit: Julien's Auctions)

Unseen for more than 50 years, Lennon, who acquired the 1964 Framus Hootenanny 5/024 12-string acoustic guitar in 1964, gifted the instrument to Gordon Waller, a member of the 1960s pop duo Peter and Gordon.

Waller’s manager placed the guitar in his attic, where it was left until recently surfacing. The owner reportedly told stories of the guitar over the years, but believed it to be long lost, until his son uncovered it during a move.

“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,” Darren Julien, Julien’s Auctions co-founder and executive director, said in a statement. “To awaken this sleeping beauty is a sacred honor and is a great moment for music, Julien’s, Beatles and auction history.”

Also played by George Harrison, the guitar sold as part of Julien's Music Icons auction at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Julien’s had placed an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 on the guitar, which it said was “considered the most important Beatles guitar ever to come to market.”

Julien's held its Music Icons auction at the Hard Rock Cafe on Wednesday. (Credit: Will Stern)
Julien's held its Music Icons auction at the Hard Rock Cafe on Wednesday. (Credit: Will Stern)

The Beatles shared multiple connections with Peter and Gordon, as they recorded multiple Paul McCartney-written songs. McCartney even dated Peter Asher’s sister.

McCartney’s famous stolen 1961 Höfner Bass was announced to be found and returned to in February of this year, not long after commencing a worldwide search called “Lost Bass project” which sought to recover the instrument that McCartney used in the early days of the Beatles in Hamburg and at the Cavern Club.

The top two most valuable guitars ever sold publicly belong to Kurt Cobain: His MTV Unplugged guitar ($6.01 million in June 2021) and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” guitar ($4.55 million in May 2022).

Will Stern is a reporter and editor for cllct.