The Gotta Have Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction Spring 2022
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/30/2022
A incredibly historically important and exceptional 1959 Höfner electric guitar played by John Lennon multiple times live onstage with The Beatles at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg in 1961. This guitar was purchased in 1960 by Peter Eckhorn, who owned the Top Ten Club. The guitar was placed at the club and was used by various musicians for a small fee. According to Peter Eckhorn, the guitar was played by all Beatles members (at the time John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe, and Pete Best), as well as Tony Sheridan, to name a few. But John Lennon rented the guitar on seven occasions in 1961: May 15, 16, and 17, and also June 1, 2, 3, and 4. The cost for renting the guitar was 1.5 German Deutschmarks. Each member of The Beatles were to be paid 35 Deutschmarks per day, which in those days was the equivalent of $4 USD.

The Höfner guitar was given by Peter Eckhorn to Rudolf Hahn in April 1964. Hahn owned a restaurant in Sankt Pauli (the same area as the Top Ten Club) and became friendly with Peter Eckhorn. Eckhorn was a regular at Hahn's restaurant, and Hahn also visited the Top Ten Club a couple of times; he saw The Beatles live on three occasions. Eckhorn had economic problems with the Top Ten Club in the spring of 1963, which led to Hahn buying 12% of the club. He later sold back the 12% to Eckhorn a year later, and was gifted the guitar at that time.

Rudolf Hahn passed away in 2003, and the guitar was kept by the Hahn family until 2020. A handwritten and signed letter of provenance dated Munich 2020 by Jürgen Hahn (son of Rudolf Hahn) accompanies the guitar. Also accompanied by a handwritten note in German which indicates the dates John Lennon rented the Höfner guitar.

Before Brian Epstein noticed The Beatles in 1961, The Beatles went to Hamburg, Germany in August 1960 to play live shows. Beatles' booking agent Allan Williams made the decision after being the success that another Liverpool band had in Germany; the band was Derry and the Seniors. Beatles first played at Indra in Hamburg on August 17, 1961. Later, on October 4, they began playing at the Kaiserkeller, also in Hamburg. Both clubs were owned by the German entrepreneur Bruno Koschmider who also owned the Bambi Kino club. Paul McCartney later said "We lived backstage in the Bambi Kino, next to the toilets, and you could always smell them". Lennon remembered: "We were put in this pigsty. We were living in a toilet, like right next to the ladies' toilet".

The Beatles, who, until 31 December 1960, were under contract with Bruno Koschmider, later changed venue to the Top Ten Club which made Koschmider furious. Form April 1 to July 1 in 1961, The Beatles appeared at the Top Ten Club with Tony Sheridan. They performed continuously for 92 nights. They played seven hours a night, and eight hours at weekends. It's fair to say that the Hamburg years really shaped The Beatles and made them into what later concurred the world. On some days they had three shows per night. Lennon later reflected "I didn't grow up in Liverpool, I grew up in Hamburg".

This 1959 Höfner guitar is a truly remarkable and historically important guitar from the early Beatles years pre-fame and success. It's extremely rare to find such early instruments that were played by any of The Beatles, but surely in particular John Lennon. One can't overstate the importance of this guitar. Very good condition. Comes with a detailed letter of provenance from Jürgen Hahn, the handwritten note in German giving the dates Lennon rented the guitar, and a Gotta Have Rock and Roll Certificate of Authenticity.
John Lennon Rare Historic "Top Ten Club" Stage Played 1959 Höfner Guitar, Hamburg 1961
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $50,000
Final Bid: $65,000
Estimate: $100,000 - $200,000
Number of Bids: 3
Auction closed on Saturday, April 30, 2022.
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