The acoustic Gibson J-160E guitar that Lennon used to record the band’s first single ‘Love Me Do’ (1962) and ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ (1963) was sold on November 7 to an anonymous bidder by Julien’s Auctions.
It was expected that the item would make around £500,000, but exceeded the expectations. According to The Guardian the auctioneer Darren Julien said “I knew it would go over $1m; I had no idea it would go over $2m.”
For the last 50 years the guitar has been in the possession of amateur musician John McCaw, who bought the item in the late 1960s. The guitar mysteriously disappeared at a December 1963 Christmas concert, which McCaw had no idea of when purchasing the item.
McCaw noticed similarities between his guitar and the one that Lennon had used, whilst reading a book by Andy Babiuk. McCaw approached the Beatles expert to authenticate the guitar, it was found to be the same by matching the guitar’s serial number, wood grain and scratches, as well as matching it to videos and photos of Lennon playing the instrument.