Here in my hometown, there’s been a neat little discovery. For a music lover like me, it would be the equivalent of another discovering that nice painting your great grandmother always had hanging in her living room, was actually a Monet.
A music studio in in San Diego, Marc Intravaia’s Sanctuary Art and Music Studio, had a 1962 Gibson J160e guitar. They played it often, and it turns out…so did John Lennon. Imagine that!
Another John – McCaw – bought it in 1969 from a friend, and didn’t know what he even owned. He paid $175 for it. That was at a guitar shop in the legendary Old Town. Yet when an article in 2014 showed a photo of George Harrison holding a similar guitar, McCaw noticed the serial numbers were only a few off from his Gibson. Upon further research, it was discovered that Harrison and Lennon bought the same Gibsons on the same day in 1962, at a music store in Liverpool.
There were videos of Lennon playing the guitar, and experts examined the scratches and marks on the guitar, as well as wood grain patterns. Another San Diego company – Reelin’ in the Years – had some other video that showed Lennon playing the guitar.
Beatles experts were brought in and found the records of when the guitars were purchased and – bam! Now there’s a guitar that might sell for over $500,000. The first thing that pops into my mind is the idea that if somebody gives you lottery tickets and you win a million dollars, you’re expected to give a cut to them. Not sure how this will play out among these guys.
Julien’s Auction House in Beverly Hills has the Gibson, and you can bid in November. Of course, they’re calling it “one of the biggest finds in music history. They expect it to get a million dollars. That’s more than the electric guitar Dylan owned, that went for $965,000 in 2013.
I still think musician George Michaels got the best deal – buying the famous white piano Lennon played Imagine on (including the video), for a million bucks. That looks a lot nicer in the living room than an old acoustic guitar on the wall.
Now, whenever this much money comes into the picture, claims of it being “stolen” arise from people. My friend is co-owner of “Rock Star Guitars” and he’s sold some Hendrix guitars for six figures. He had a lengthy lawsuit with the Jimi Hendrix estate that claimed one was stolen (he won that lawsuit, and the letter and court records helped a lot in the provenance of the guitar, too).
Luckily for the owners of the Beatle axe, it had been documented that Beatles “roadie” Mel Evens left the guitar behind after one of the Beatles shows in late 1963. He was afraid of Lennon’s reaction, so he didn’t tell him until months later, and Lennon didn’t seem to mind. He just started playing Harrison’s guitar and got another one.
There were a lot of bands playing the same clubs. With the British Invasion, a lot of those bands came to the U.S.
The guitar was used to record “Love Me Do” as well as “P.S. I Love You” and a few other recordings.
It’s amazing to think that this guitar was just hanging on the wall, and often played on weekends. It would be like letting the grand kids color on that Monet painting.