Robbyn Hart

Robbyn Hart

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John Lennon's 12-string acoustic guitar sold today for near $2.9 million

John Lennon's 12-string Hootenanny acoustic guitar, which he used on the The BeatlesHelp! album, sold today (Wednesday) for just under $2.9 million at Julien's Auctions Music Icons sale at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York.

The $2,857,500 price tag makes it the most expensive Beatles instrument ever to sell at auction.

The previous top sellers were:

  • Lennon acoustic guitar - $2.4 million
  • Ringo Starr’s Ludwig drum kit - $2.2 million
  • Ringo's Ludwig Beatles drumhead from their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show - $2.1 million
  • Ringo's copy of "The White Album" - $790,000

The guitar ended up in the hands of Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon, who later gave it to their road managers. It was recently found in an attic in the U.K. after being unseen for over 50 years. Considered the most important Beatles guitar ever to come to market, it exceeded by far its estimate of $600,000 - $800,000.

Lennon can be heard playing it on such songs as “Help!,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “It’s Only Love,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and "Girl," and George Harrison played it on "Norwegian Wood."

The guitar is in its original, although beat-up, case, plus the winning bidder also gets a copy of the book The Beatles: Photographs From the Set of Help!

Darren Julien, co-founder and executive director of Julien’s Auctions, says, “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."

The Music Icons auction also includes instruments and memorabilia once owned by Ringo, Randy Bachman, U2 bassist Adam ClaytonMotley Crue guitarist Mick MarsMichael JacksonTina TurnerThe WhoMark KnopflerPhil CollinsRod StewartElton John and many others.

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