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The Beatles' Custom-Built Vox Guitar Going Up for Auction in May

A guitar played by John Lennon and George Harrison is hitting the auction block in May. The guitar, a custom-built Vox, is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000, according to Beverly Hills-based Julien's Auctions.

The guitar, the centerpiece of Julien's "Music Icons" auction, was played by Lennon and Harrison during the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour period in 1967. Harrison used it to rehearse his part on "I Am the Walrus," and Lennon supposedly played the guitar while recording a video session for "Hello, Goodbye" (although he's certainly not playing the Vox in the famous promotional video for "Hello, Goodbye," which you can see here).

Julien's Auctions said the guitar was given as a gift in 1967 to Yanni "Magic Alex" Mardas, the electronics engineer for the band's Apple Records label.

Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's Auctions, called the guitar "one of the most historical pieces of music memorabilia" ever offered by the auction house.

The auction, which will take place 10 a.m. May 18 at the Hard Rock Cafe at New York City's Times Square, also will include a copy of the Please Please Me album signed by all four Beatles and a copy of In His Own Write, Lennon's 1964 book of stories and drawings. The guitar will be on display at the Museum of Style Icons in County Kildare, Ireland, April 16 to May 8.

For more about the auction, visit juliensauctions.com.

To see a photo of the guitar, visit reuters.com.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.