A guitar once owned by John Lennon sold at auction for $2.9 million – $500,000 more than the previous top price for a Beatles item.

He had the 12-string Framus Hootenanny acoustic from the band’s early days, using it on the 1965 albums Help! and Rubber Soul. It also appeared in the Help! movie as the group performs “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”

The previous Beatles record price was another Lennon acoustic guitar, a Gibson J-160E which sold for $2.4 million in 2015.

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The sale was handled by Julien’s Auctions at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City, where the winning bid of $2,857,500 came via phone. A statement read: “This Framus is the guitar heard on ‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,’ ‘It’s Only Love,’ ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face,’ and of course, ‘Help!’ On Rubber Soul it can be heard on ‘Girl’ as well as George Harrison’s parts on ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown).’

Watch the Beatles in ‘Help!’

“The guitar, a simple yet iconic instrument, witnessed the genesis of some of Lennon’s most beloved songs. It was a faithful companion during the Beatles’ early days, strummed in smoky pubs and cramped recording studios, and it played a pivotal role in shaping the sound that would define a generation.

“Its new owner is now the custodian of a piece of Lennon's soul, a tangible link to the creative energy that flowed through him and touched the lives of millions.”

$2.9M Lennon Guitar Languished in Attic for Decades

The guitar was gifted to Peter & Gordon member Gordon Waller at the end of 1965, after Lennon and Paul McCartney had worked with the duo. Julien’s reported: “Later, Waller would pass the guitar on to a manager of his, who took the guitar home, tossed it in the attic, and gave it nary a thought for decades.

“We worked closely with musician, author, and Beatles gear expert Andy Babiuk to confirm that this Hootenanny, serial #51083, is indeed John Lennon’s guitar. It has some distinctive markings which made it easily identifiable when compared to photos and stills from Help!

“With the Hootenanny, the real proof is in the sound. When strummed, it immediately identifies itself as THAT guitar. If you know the chords, Beatles tunes fall out of the sound hole effortlessly; like an audio time capsule from 1965, the Framus is a direct link to those records.”

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Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp

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