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John Lennon’s “Paperback Writer” Guitar Goes Up For Auction

John Lennon’s “Paperback Writer” Guitar Goes Up For Auction

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While John Lennon was most often photographed playing an Epiphone Casino or Rickenbacker 325, he used this Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Nashville model hollow body to record the the iconic Beatles’ tune, Paperback Writer on 14 April 1966. A year later, John gave the guitar to his younger cousin, David Birch, and it has been in his possession ever since.

This guitar, with its excellent heritage and pedigree, will be available for auction next month through

The Lennon Gretsch has been authenticated by noted Beatles gear expert Andy Babiuk who said, “I visited David Birch at his home in London to examine John Lennon’s Gretsch 6120 in 2006. I found that the wood grain on the headstock of the Gretsch 6120 owned by David was identical to that on the headstock of the Gretsch played by John in the photographs taken at the Paperback Writer session on the 14th April 1966 at EMI Studios.”

This guitar is in almost original condition with only the bridge having been replaced and the pickguard, which was broken, removed. It also has a clean provenance and transparent connection to Mr. Lennon. These factors have pegged the pre-auction estimate at anywhere from $450,000 – $800,000. Given the cultural significance and rarity of Beatles gear like this, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it fetch closer to $1,000,000.

Online bidding begins 14 November 2014 and the live auction will take place at The Oak Room, Le Méridien Hotel at 2:00 p.m. GMT on Sunday, 23 November 2014.

The auction, whose complete catalog can be reviewed here, also includes hundreds of other pieces of rock and roll memorabilia from The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones and other artists. One of the newer, more interesting items up for sale is this pair of Christopher Kane shoes that Lady Gaga wore for a photo shoot in Harpers Bazaar magazine.