The Gibson acoustic guitar Beatle John Lennon played in the 1960s has been found after a 50 year absence and is going on display in the US. It will be sold at auction in November.
John Lennon bought the 1962 J-160E Gibson Acoustic guitar in Liverpool and played it on early Beatles hits including "Love me do." But it disappeared during the Beatles' Finsbury Park Christmas Show in London in 1963 and he replaced it. Lennon played the guitar while writing songs including "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand."
An amateur guitarist, John McCaw, bought the guitar in San Diego for a couple of hundred dollars in the 1970s.
McCaw kept the guitar without modifying or refinishing it until last year, when a friend recognized it from a book by Andy Babiuk, a Beatles expert who has authenticated the band's memorabilia in the past.
Babiuk matched the guitar's serial number and analyzed the wood grain to confirm it was the one Lennon had lost in the 1960s.
Darren Julien, president and chief executive of the auction house in Los Angeles which is to auction the guitar in November said: "It easily could have been lost."
"There's no mistaking it's the guitar," Julien said, calling it "one of biggest finds in music history."
The Gibson is to be exhibited at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, from this Saturday until June 29 and then at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles from July until September.
The guitar will be on public display at Julien's Auctions from November 2-6 before the auction on November 6 and 7. It is expected to reach between $600,000 (535,450 euros) and $800,000.
Lennon died on December 8, 1980, after he was shot by a fan in New York City.
jm/msh (Reuters, dpa)