John Lennon’s lost guitar turns up in San Diego


Ringo Starr (back), George Harrison (1943 – 2001), Paul McCartney and John Lennon (1940 – 1980) of The Beatles perform ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ on Granada TV’s Late Scene Extra on November 25th 1963 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

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SAN DIEGO — An acoustic guitar used by John Lennon to compose hit Beatles songs, only to disappear for half a century before turning up in San Diego, is set to be auctioned this fall.

Julien’s Auctions of Beverly Hills, which plans to accept bids Nov. 6-7, says Lennon used the 1962 Gibson J-160E guitar to compose iconic Beatles tunes like “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Please, Please, Me” and “All My Loving.”

Julien’s estimates bidding between $600,000 and $800,000 for the guitar, which went missing at a concert in December 1963, according to the auction house.

Julien’s announcement said that the owner of the guitar, John McCaw, contacted a friend, Marc Intravaia of Sanctuary Art and Music of Sorrento Valley, and had him get in touch with Andy Babiuk, considered an expert in Beatles music equipment.

Babiuk, of Rochester, New York, authenticated the instrument, according to Julien’s.

“Wood grain is like a fingerprint, no two are the same, and without a doubt it is a match,” Babiuk said.

“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,” Babiuk said. “It is without a doubt one of the most historically important guitars to ever come up for auction.”

Julien’s said the guitar has not been modified in any way.

Intravaia told The San Diego Reader that McCaw purchased the instrument in 1969 at a former guitar shop in Old Town and didn’t realize its value until last year.

The guitar is scheduled to go on display beginning Saturday at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, and will be exhibited July 2-Sept. 7 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, and at Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills Nov. 2- 6.

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