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Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 22:43 GMT 23:43 UK


£155,000 picks up Lennon guitar

John Lennon and the Quarry Men playing at the church fete in 1957

The guitar John Lennon was playing on the day he met fellow Beatle Paul McCartney has fetched more than £155,000 at auction.

The acoustic Gallotone Champion guitar is the earliest Beatles guitar to come on the market.

[ image: Lennon bought the Gallotone
Lennon bought the Gallotone "Champion" guitar for £10
It was bought by an unnamed New York investment fund manager via telephone in a Sotheby's auction at London's Hard Rock Cafe.

In a statement released through Sotheby's, he said: "I consider John Lennon to be one of the most important, if not the most important musician of the 20th century, and I am honoured to be able to own something played by him."

Bidding for the recently restored black and red guitar quickly rose from its £42,000 starting price, and its final selling price with tax and premiums was £155,500.

Lennon bought the guitar for £10, about a month before his future song-writing partner spotted him playing it in a gig with his band The Quarry Men at St Peters Church fete in Woolton, Merseyside, in 1957.

On the neck of the guitar is a plaque which recalls what the teenager rocker was once told by his Aunt Mimi: "Remember, you'll never earn your living by it."

'Most important' memorabilia

A 15-year-old McCartney approached Lennon later that day and was invited to join the group which later became The Beatles.

Stephen Maycock, Sotheby's rock and roll specialist, said: "This is the most important and significant piece of early Beatles memorabilia to come on to the market."

Included in the lot was the guitar's case, a 1957 edition of Play the Guitar: a Self Tutor, a series of news clippings about Lennon, and a typewritten letter from his Aunt Mimi regarding the arrangements to donate the trunk and its contents to a Liverpool charity.

A percentage of proceeds from the sale of the items will be donated to the Olive Mount Learning Disabilities Directorate in Liverpool.

Indecent exposure bond

Lennon's employment record card from when he worked at Scarisbrick Water Works, which gives his reason for leaving as him being "unsuitable", also sold for £2,400.

[ image: Jim Morrison's indecent exposure raised £13,000]
Jim Morrison's indecent exposure raised £13,000
A silver and black star from the ceiling of the Casbah Coffee Club - where The Quarry Men played on its opening night - sold for £800.

Other items sold in the auction included a bail bond for Doors singer Jim Morrison's September 1970 indecent exposure incident in Florida, which fetched £13,000. A belt worn by Elvis Presley also fetched nearly £7,000.

A fax from Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain to his wife Courtney Love giving a progress report of their UK tour, sold for £3,200.

And a platinum disc for the Elton John single Candle in the Wind '97, recorded in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, made £15,000.

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