John Lennon's stolen guitar sets new record for Beatles memorabilia

A 1962 J-160E Gibson acoustic guitar stolen from John Lennon in the early 1960s has set a new record for a piece of Beatles memorabilia at auction.

The lot led a sale at Julien's Auctions in LA on November 6-7, achieving $2.4m - an increase of 200% on the $800,000 estimate.

Lennon guitar Juliens
Lennon wrote some of the Beatles' first songs on this guitar

Lennon used it to write some of the band's earliest songs, including Please Please Me and I Want To Hold Your Hand. It was stolen after a Christmas concert in 1963 and has only recently resurfaced.

Beatles instrument expert Andy Babiuk explained: "It is one of the most important of all Lennon's Beatles guitars, as he used this J-160E to write some of The Beatles' biggest hits, and played the guitar on countless live performances and on many Beatle recordings.

"It is without a doubt one of the most historically important guitars to ever come up for auction."

The piece also smashed the previous record for a guitar at auction, set at $965,000 for Bob Dylan's 1965 Newport Stratocaster.

We have this 1980 customs declaration signed by John Lennon for sale.

The lot wasn't the only piece of Beatles memorabilia to surpass expectations.

A bass drum used by Ringo Starr in the band's explosive 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show made $2.1m.

Ringo Starr played this kick drum live on the Ed Sullivan Show

It had been valued at $1m, an increase of 110%.

A complete drum kit used on some of the Beatles' earliest recordings will be sold in the auction of Starr's personal collection at Julien's in December.

While these new records are extremely impressive, John Lennon's legendary psychedelic Rolls-Royce remains the most valuable item connected with the band when adjusted for inflation.

It sold for $2.3m, which was incidentally a world record for a car at the time.

When adjusted for inflation we get a figure of $5m.

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