For Sale: John Lennon’s Long-Lost ‘Help!’ Guitar

One lucky Beatles fan is going to own a piece of Fab Four history—but they’d better have some deep pockets.
John Lennon and his guitar.
John Lennon and his guitar. / Julien’s Auctions

Earlier this year, an iconic Hofner violin bass stolen from Paul McCartney more than 50 years ago resurfaced and made its way back into the hands of the former Beatle. Now, a John Lennon guitar missing for decades has similarly been found—and it can be yours, if you’re extremely wealthy.

Next month (May 29 and 30, 2024), Julien’s Auctions will hold a special two-day event at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City, and among the items up for bid will be the Framus 12-string Hootenanny acoustic guitar that Lennon played on numerous Beatles classics, including “Help!,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “Girl.” It can also be seen in the Fab Four’s 1965 film Help!

Lennon’s guitar.
Lennon’s guitar. / Julien’s Auctions

This guitar has been on quite the magical mystery tour. In the mid-1960s, Gordon Waller of the group Peter & Gordon came into possession of the instrument, and he later gave it to one of the band’s road managers. Somehow, it wound up in a home in the British countryside. It was only discovered when the homeowners were getting ready to move and found the guitar in their attic, complete with the original case.

“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,” Darren Julien, co-founder and executive director of Julien’s Auctions, said in a statement.

Lennon’s legendary 12-string has an estimated value of $600,000 to $800,000, according to Julien’s, but it’s liable to fetch far more. According to Guitar World, it could become the most expensive guitar ever sold at auction, though it would need to command more than the $6,010,000, that Rode Microphones owner Peter Freedman paid for Kurt Cobain’s Martin D-18E—the one that he used for Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance—in 2020.

If you don’t have several million extra dollars laying around, don’t fret. (Guitar pun very much intended.) The Julien’s two-day event will also feature a Rose Sparkle Fender P Pass that U2’s Adam Clayton played at The Sphere in Las Vegas, the Kramer KM-1 that Mötley Crüe shredder Mick Mars used for the group’s “You’re All I Need” music video, and even the custom Gianni Versace mini-dress worn by Tina Turner on her 1996-97 Wildest Dreams Tour. All are expected to sell for significantly less than Lennon’s famous ax.

There are also a number of items—including memorabilia signed by the likes of The Who, Van Morrison, and Wet Leg—that will benefit the U.K. charity The Teenage Cancer Trust.

Read More About The Beatles: