A guitar stolen from John Lennon in 1963 has sold for $2.4m at an auction in Beverley Hills. The Gibson acoustic was used on the recordings of ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘PS I Love You’ and auctioned alongside other items of Beatles memorabilia, including a drum head which went for $2.1m.

John LennonA guitar stolen from John Lennon has sold for $2.4m at auction.

The guitar and the drum head fetched two of the highest prices ever paid for items of rock and roll memorabilia. Lennon’s guitar had been in the possession of novice musician John McCaw for decades, who bought it in the late 1960s without knowing it had been stolen from the Beatle.

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The guitar was allegedly stolen from Lennon at a December 1963 Christmas concert. Half of the proceeds from the guitar’s sale will go toward the Spirit Foundation, a charitable organisation created by Lennon and his widow, Yoko Ono.

The buyer of the pricey instrument has asked to remain anonymous, according to auctioneer Darren Julien. Julien also said that the instrument’s authenticity was determined by its matching serial number and wood grain, among other things.

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“It’s such an important part of Lennon’s career and Beatles history,” Julien commented. “I knew it would go over $1m; I had no idea it would go over $2m.” Lennon bought the guitar in 1962 at a Liverpool music shop and used it on recordings of a number of Beatles songs, including ‘PS I Love You’ and ‘Love Me Do’.