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John Lennon's Long Lost Acoustic Guitar Up For Sale!

Published: Fri June 05, 2015  News Feed
One of the most iconic Beatles guitars was the Gibson J-160e acoustic, which John Lennon used throughout their career on tracks such as 'Love Me Do', 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' and 'Give Peace A Chance'. Lennon, in fact, owned two of them, and the first one - lost after a Christmas concert in 1963 - will be auctioned in November*, in Beverly Hills. Here's all you need to know...

John Lennon and his Gibson J160e


In September 1962, John Lennon and George Harrison both bought a Gibson J-160e each from the Rushworth's Music House in Liverpool - with a little help from their friend, manager Brian Epstein. The Beatles had just secured a deal with EMI and needed better instruments to record their forthcoming debut album, 'Please Please Me'. Well, what could be better than a brand new Gibson guitar? (some things never change...)

John Lennon and George Harrison with their new Gibsons J160e

The first song recorded with Lennon's new acoustic guitar was “P.S. I Love You,” followed by “Love Me Do.” Lennon used this guitar on many of the recordings they did in 1962 and 1963 that required an acoustic guitar, besides writing a wealth of Beatles classics playing it at home: John loved this particular guitar so much that he would take it home and write songs on it with Paul McCartney. Beatles hits like “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Please, Please, Me,” “All My Loving,” “From Me to You,” “This Boy” and more were written with this guitar.

No other guitar ever offered at an auction before can compare to the history this particular J-160e. It can be seen in the November 22, 1963 videos of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “This Boy.” This guitar is at the core of what would be known as 'Beatlemania'. It could be considered the guitar that helped The Beatles to start it all!

However, in December 1963, after The Beatles' Finsbury Park Christmas Show, John’s guitar went missing, and he later replaced it with a 1964 model (which he used during the HELP! sessions and until The Beatles split up). John Lennon only ever owned two of those great Gibson electro-acoustics, and here's one of the last known pics of the original one, shortly before it was lost:

One of the last appearances of John Lennon's original Gibson J160e

This guitar remained lost for over 50 years, until the day Andy Babiuk, author of the critically acclaimed book Beatles Gear, got a call from a man who said he'd found the guitar in a second-hand goods shop in the U.S.! After Babiuk examined the guitar, he was able to match the wood grain in the spruce top to photos of Lennon playing the guitar with The Beatles in the early 60’s.

“Wood grain is like a fingerprint, no two are the same, and without a doubt it is a match,” said Babiuk. “It is without a doubt one of the most historically important guitars ever to come up for auction.”


Lennon's original Gibson J160e - click for full size!

Darren Julien, owner of Julien's Auctions, called the guitar "one of biggest finds in music history," and said its sale could top the $965,000 auction record set in 2013 for an electric guitar owned by Bob Dylan. Considering the historical importance of the instrument, it could easily become the most valuable acoustic guitar, ever! Rare Gibsons which have belonged to celebrities are always very collectible items, such as one of the original Les Paul Black Beauty guitars, so there's no doubt the instrument which Lennon used to write some of The Beatles' most memorable tunes could fetch millions!

Here's a few pics of the guitar:

Lennon J160e

Lennon J160e up for auction

Lennon J160e detail

Lennon J160e detail

Lennon J160e headstock back

Lennon J160e headstock detail

John Lennon J160e

Stunning, isn't it? If you got a few millions to spare, don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity! As for the rest of us... a great, brand new Gibson acoustic guitar is always a good choice. John would probably agree...

John Lennon's Gibson J160e will now be offered at Julien’s Auctions Icons & Idols: Rock n’ Roll auction event on Friday, November 6, 2015 and Saturday, November 7th, 2015.

UPDATE! The guitar sold for $2.41m Dollars, just over £1.59m. The name of buyer has not been disclosed...

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